Judge denies Mark Meadows effort to move Georgia case to federal court

A federal judge denied former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' request Friday to move the Georgia election-interference case against him from state to federal court, citing his federal officer status at the time of his indictment.

U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones in the Atlanta-based Northern District of Georgia denied Meadows' request for removal under a federal law that allows federal prosecution of people charged with crimes while performing official duties, even in cases involving state law and state prosecutors.

Meadows thought a shift to federal court would quickly dismiss the case against him since he had claimed to Jones that as a federal officer, he is exempt from punishment for his routine employment.

Jones determined that “at the heart of the State’s charges against Meadows were taken on behalf of the Trump campaign with the ultimate goal of affecting state election activities and procedures.” 

“Meadows himself testified that working for the Trump campaign would be outside the scope of a White House Chief of Staff.”

The Georgia case's first major ruling, the Meadows decision, will feature a regular rotation of defendants' pretrial appearances in state and federal courtrooms in the coming weeks, highlighting the case's complexity and the potential for delays before a jury hears it.

Jones's judgment hurts four other co-defendants who want to go to federal court. Jones stated at Meadows' Aug. 28 hearing that his verdict would set a precedent. 

Trump has not requested removal, but his lawyers submitted a Superior Court petition on Thursday saying he “may do so.” The decision would also seem to hurt him if he seeks removal.

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