Updated Sep 14, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Mark Meadows drops bid for emergency stay in Georgia RICO case

Mark Meadows in Washington, D.C., in July 2022. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows dropped his bid for an emergency stay in the Georgia 2020 election racketeering case on Thursday.

Why it matters: Meadows abandoned his request to immediately pause Georgia's prosecution after a judge ruled he did not have to go on trial next month alongside lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, whose case has been severed from the other defendants.

  • He was charged with violating Georgia's racketeering law, or RICO, and soliciting the violation of oath by a public officer for his alleged actions in a broader effort to overturn Georgia's election results in Trump's favor.
  • A judge denied Meadows' requests to move the case to federal court, as well as the emergency stay request earlier this week.

The big picture: Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said Thursday that Trump, Meadows and 15 others will not go to trial in October, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  • Chesebro and Powell both petitioned the court for speedy trials, which are scheduled to begin on Oct. 23, but McAfee said the others should proceed on a separate schedule. No trial date has been set for the other defendants in the case.
  • McAfee said splitting off the defendants who requested speedy trials made logistical sense, as the Fulton County Courthouse doesn't have room for a "mega-trial" for all 19 at the same time.
  • Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, in a filing earlier this week, argued that a single large trial would be feasible and that holding multiple trials would be a "logistical quagmire" and would be a risk to victims and witnesses.

Between the lines: In the filing, Meadows' attorney, John S. Moran, said because the state has changed the schedule for the trial, there is no need for Meadows to pursue the emergency stay.

  • "If future developments in this case warrant it, Mr. Meadows may seek interim relief at a later date. But this Court has given every indication that it intends to adjudicate Mr. Meadows … in a timely fashion," the filing reads.

At least four of his fellow co-defendants have also made similar requests:

  • Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark
  • Georgia state Sen. Shawn Still
  • Fake GOP elector Cathy Latham
  • Former Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer

Of note: Trump last week said he "may" ask a judge to move his prosecution on charges in the case to federal court.

  • Moving any trials to federal court would require a new jury and would be held in a federal courthouse, so the public's access to proceedings would be significantly limited.
  • If one of the requests is granted, it could scuttle Willis' intention to prosecute the 19 defendants together.

Go deeper: What Meadows' loss on moving Georgia case out of state means for Trump

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Meadows dropped his bid for an emergency stay, not his effort to move the case to federal court.

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