Mark Meadows makes latest bid to move Trump trial from Georgia to federal court

Mark Meadows makes latest bid to move Trump trial from Georgia to federal court

Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s former chief of staff, has again asked a federal appeals court to allow him to move his Georgia election interference case to federal court after it rejected his bid in December.

Mr Meadows faces two charges over accusations that he and 18 co-defendants, including Mr Trump, attempted to unlawfully overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the crucial swing state in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

His request to take his trial to federal court was rejected before Christmas by a three-judge panel in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit because the racketeering conduct with which his criminal indictment is concerned stands apart from the duties he carried out for the then-president at the White House in Washington DC.

The former North Carolina congressman is now asking that the matter be reconsidered by the court as a whole.

If it declines to reconsider his case, Mr Meadows could then be forced to elevate it to the US Supreme Court, which is already busy handling his former employer’s filings on presidential immunity and the decision to strike him from ballot papers in Colorado in accordance with the insurrectionist prohibition stipulated by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

“The panel’s decision is profoundly wrong – it defies text, precedent, and common sense – and profoundly consequential,” attorneys for the defendant wrote in their latest submission.

“While courts struggle with whether tobacco companies and health insurers can remove a White House chief of staff facing a local prosecutor’s indictment based on actions taken in the West Wing should not be a close call.”

Mr Meadows’ strategy is centred on the hope that a federal court would be more inclined to dismiss the charges against him pertaining to the 2020 election on federal immunity grounds, designed to protect officials prosecuted over matters arising from their work in the service of the US government.

Fulton County’s district attorney Fani Willis has opposed the move, given that the tactic’s success could imperil her prosecution of Mr Meadows and his co-defendants, broaden the pool of potential jurors by taking the trial to an area less dense with Democrats than northern Georgia and end its prospect of being televised.

Mr Meadows also moved on Tuesday to bolster his legal team, drafting in Paul Clement, a former US solicitor general under George W Bush, as well as appellate advocate Erin Murphy and associate Zachary Lustbader.