Updated Sep 8, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Judge denies Meadows' bid to move Georgia case to federal court

Mark Meadows speaks during a forum titled House Rules and Process Changes for the 118th Congress

Mark Meadows at a forum at the FreedomWorks headquarters in Nov. 2022. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A federal judge on Friday denied former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows' request to move his Georgia racketeering case to a federal court.

Why it matters: U.S. District Judge Steve Jones' denial scuttles Meadows' bid to obtain a more favorable jury pool and signals what may be in store for other defendants, including former President Trump.

  • Meadows was the first of several defendants — including Jeffrey Clark, David Shafer, Cathy Latham and Shawn Still — in the sprawling Georgia case to request his trial be moved out of state court.
  • Trump has also been expected to try to move his case to federal court.
  • All 19 defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty.

Details: Jones ruled Meadows did not meet the burden of demonstrating that removal of Georgia's criminal prosecution against him is proper under the federal officer removal statute.

  • Jones also said the Hatch Act was "helpful in defining the outer limits of the scope the White House Chief of Staff's authority."
  • "Meadows has not shown how his actions relate to the scope of his federal executive branch office," Jones wrote in the decision.

The big picture: Meadows is charged with violating Georgia's racketeering law, known as RICO, and soliciting the violation of oath by a public officer as part of a broader effort to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results.

  • Meadows was present during Trump's Jan. 2021 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump told Raffensperger to "find" the necessary votes for him to win.
  • Meadows has argued that he ought to be immune from the state charges because his actions were taken as part of his job as a federal official.

Between the lines: Meadows testified in August about moving his case and was questioned under oath by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' office, CNN reported — allowing for prosecutors to potentially use his testimony against him.

  • The hearing also gave a glimpse into the evidence and legal arguments prosecutors plan to use in the case against the 19 defendants.
  • The DA's office did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Of note: Cameras would not be allowed in the federal courtroom.

  • A Fulton County judge ruled that all court proceedings in the Georgia case be televised.

Go deeper: Why Georgia's case against Trump could be so damaging

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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