Mark Meadows loses bid to move Georgia case to federal court

Sep 8, 2023, 6:12pm EDT
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington, U.S. October 21, 2020.
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J.D. Capelouto/

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows lost his bid to move his Georgia election interference case from state to federal court.

Here’s what that decision means for the broader case against Meadows, former President Donald Trump, and the 17 other co-defendants who were charged together in Georgia.

A federal judge said in a ruling that Meadows failed to prove that his actions alleged in the indictment — that he assisted Trump in a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election — were part of his duties as a federal officer. Though the bar for such an action is “quite low” for former federal employees, Meadows didn’t have a particularly strong argument for why his case should be moved, Lee Kovarsky writes in Lawfare..1

What does it mean for Trump’s case? Trump is expected to also try to move his case to federal court, and the Meadows decision is widely seen as a bellwether for Trump’s chances. But Trump is sure to have a slightly different argument than Meadows, and now Trump’s lawyers “probably have some sense about how the judge is approaching the question,” Emory University law professor Jonathan Nash told Semafor. He said they’ve been “waiting in the wings to see how this goes.”

What’s the impact on the case? A Fulton County judge, rather than a federal judge, will oversee the proceedings, and the jury will be selected from just Fulton County, rather than a wider and more ideologically diverse swath of Atlanta. Also, the trial will be televised and live streamed online. Mostly, District Attorney Fani Willis gets home court advantage by trying her case in a venue she’s more familiar with.2