Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is seeking to move the Fulton County, Georgia, prosecution against him to federal court so that he can try to get the case dismissed under federal law.
Meadows argued in a new court filing submitted in the US District Court of the Northern District of Georgia that he is entitled to bring a federal immunity defense because the Georgia state charges against him stem from his conduct as then-President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.
Meadows is one of 19 defendants, including Trump, who were charged on Monday in the Georgia 2020 election subversion case. Meadows’ request would not move the entirety of District Attorney Fani Willis’ case to federal court. Rather, it would be a defendant-by-defendant endeavor.
Trump, who faces 13 charges, is also expected to try to move the case to federal court, according to multiple sources familiar with the legal team’s thinking.
And ex-Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani – who also faces 13 charges in the Fulton County case – raised during his radio show Tuesday one of the laws cited in Meadows’ new request and said he believed the case against him is qualified for “almost an automatic removal” to federal court.
The law says that criminal actions brought in state court may be “removed” to federal court if the prosecution relates to conduct performed “under color” of a US office or agency.
Experts in Georgia criminal law told CNN Tuesday that they thought it was possible that government employees like Trump, as well as former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, among others, would raise such arguments.
Meadows said he intends to submit at a “later date” a more comprehensive request laying out why the case against him should be dismissed under federal law. But in the meantime, Meadows argued that the federal court should move the charges out of state court, and into federal court, effectively halting the state-level proceedings against him.
“Even if the Court is not prepared to dismiss outright at this early stage, however, justice requires granting removal and halting any further state-court proceedings against Mr. Meadows,” the filing said. “That will allow for the timely consideration of Mr. Meadows’s defenses, including his federal defense under the Supremacy Clause, without requiring him to defend himself in state court simultaneously.”
Willis charged Meadows with violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering act known as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, and with soliciting a public official to violate their oath.
According to the docket, Meadows’ removal request has been assigned to US District Judge Steve Jones, an appointee of former President Barack Obama.
This story has been updated with additional information.