June 23, 2024

A federal judge has rejected Mark Meadows’ request to remove his case to federal court.

Meadows, along with former President Donald Trump and 17 others, have all been indicted by a Fulton County grand jury for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.

Meadows participated in the now-infamous phone call between Trump and Raffensperger, in which the former president pressured Raffensperger to overturn the election results and find him 11,000 votes.

A week earlier, Meadows allegedly arranged another phone call between Trump and Watson, whose team was overseeing a signature match audit in Cobb County. During the signature match audit process in Dec. 2020, Meadows showed up unannounced, stayed for roughly 20 minutes, and left without speaking to the media.

In his filing asking for removal, his attorneys argued, “Mr. Meadows is entitled to remove this action to federal court because the charges against him plausibly give rise to a federal defense based on his role at all relevant times as the White House Chief of Staff to the President of the United States.”

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Meadows has denied any wrongdoing in aiding Trump as he sought to reverse his 2020 election loss in the state.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was inside the courtroom last week when Federal District Court Judge Steven Jones held an evidentiary hearing to hear testimony over whether or not the case should be removed to federal court, and Elliot said Meadows couldn’t fully explain how many of his actions included working with the Trump campaign.

Federal employees are forbidden from working with campaigns. That’s a violation of the Hatch Act.

Under sharp cross-examination, Meadows had difficulty explaining how the call to Raffensperger benefitted anything other than the Trump campaign, especially since it did not include White House counsel and did include Trump campaign attorneys Kurt Hilbert and Alex Kaufman.

“You also have the attorneys that represent the president, Kurt and Alex and Cleta Mitchell, who is not the attorney of record but has been involved, myself and the president,” Meadows said.

In the filing on Friday, the judge said “Having considered the arguments and evidence, the court concludes that Meadows has not met his burden. Therefore, the court declines to assume jurisdiction over the State’s criminal prosecution of Meadows.”

“Having considered the arguments put forth by the parties, the evidence submitted at the evidentiary hearing, and the briefing on this matter, the court now enters this order concluding that the court lacks federal jurisdiction over Meadows’s criminal prosecution,” the judge said. “The court concludes that if it were to agree with Meadows’s arguments regarding removal, the court would have to turn a blind eye to express constitutional power granted to the States to determine their election procedures, as well as federal statutory and regulatory limitations on political activities of executive branch officials. The court would be ignoring the evidence Meadows himself submitted of his post-election related activities and the purpose of the federal officer removal statute. It would be legally and factually erroneous for the court to do so.”

Several other defendants in the case have also filed to have their cases removed to federal court. Trump announced this week that he may seek to try and get his case removed as well.

Friday’s ruling will likely make that much harder for that to happen.

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