MARK MEADOWS COURT HEARING IS FIRST BIG TEST FOR FANI WILLIS’S TRUMP RICO CASE
Mark Meadows, the co-defendant in the case against former President Donald Trump in Georgia, took the witness stand at a hearing on Monday, making a compelling argument to a federal judge that the case should be moved from state to federal court. This marked a significant moment in the ongoing legal battle.
Meadows, who served as Trump’s chief of staff, spent over three hours on the stand in Atlanta, engaging in a day-long hearing. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, who presided over the hearing, promised a prompt ruling, acknowledging that Meadows’s arraignment was scheduled for September 6.
Seeking Federal Removal
During the hearing, Meadows’s attorneys emphasized his wide-ranging authority in the White House and contended that his actions related to the 2020 election were carried out in his capacity as a federal official. They aimed to establish grounds for federal removal.
Meadows faces two felony charges brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, accusing him of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.
His ultimate goal is to have the charges dismissed under the federal defense that his actions were protected by the Constitution’s supremacy clause. To achieve this, Meadows must demonstrate that the charges brought by Willis pertain to actions falling within his official job duties.
“Willis’s indictment is precisely the kind of state interference in a federal official’s duties that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits, and that the removal statute shields against,”
Meadows argued in his initial removal motion.
Willis responded to the motion, asserting that Meadows was not acting as a federal official, as it would violate the Hatch Act, which requires federal officials to separate their official work from campaign activities.
“He doesn’t think anything he does can be touched by the Hatch Act,”
Willis’s attorneys stated during the hearing.
Meadows has been proactive in seeking federal removal, being the first of five co-defendants to do so. He even filed an emergency motion to prevent his imminent arrest, citing his rights to removal.
Jones denied the motion, stating that a hearing was necessary for Meadows’s removal request. Consequently, Meadows surrendered himself to Fulton County Jail but was released on the same day after posting a $100,000 bail.
Trump’s Potential Move to Federal Court
It is anticipated that former President Donald Trump, the leading contender for the 2024 GOP nomination, will also attempt to transfer his case to federal court. While he would not be able to pardon himself for state charges if reelected, a trial in federal court would involve jury selection from a broader area, potentially less politically biased than Fulton County.
In addition, a federal judge would preside over the trial, and federal courtroom rules would apply, likely resulting in a non-televised trial.
Implications for Other Co-Defendants
Meadows’s hearing serves as a crucial test for the removal ability of other co-defendants, particularly Trump and former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark, both of whom previously held federal office.
The hearing has also shed light on Willis’s broader case against Meadows and the others. Willis had subpoenaed four individuals to appear, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
In her indictment, Willis highlighted Meadows’s presence on the phone call during which Trump asked Raffensperger to find enough votes to overturn Georgia’s election outcome in his favor. Prosecutors repeatedly questioned Meadows about his role in setting up the call regarding voter fraud concerns.
“I dealt with the president’s personal position on a number of things. It’s still a part of my job to make sure the president is safe and secure and able to perform his job,”
Meadows clarified during the hearing.
Willis also subpoenaed Alex Kaufman, Kurt Hilbert, and Frances Watson, who were present on the call, as well as Frances Watson, the lead investigator of 2020 matters for the secretary of state’s office.
Only Raffensperger and Hilbert testified, as indicated by the witness list filed at the end of the hearing.
Willis’s indictment included a text allegedly sent by Meadows to Watson, inquiring about expediting Fulton County signature verification with potential financial assistance from the Trump campaign. However, Meadows pointed out during the hearing that the text was actually intended for chief of staff Jordan Fuchs, not Watson.
For more details, click here to read more from The Washington Examiner.
" Conservative News Daily does not always share or support the views and opinions expressed here; they are just those of the writer."