Appeals Court Rejects Mark Meadows’s Bid to Move Georgia Elections Case

Appeals Court Rejects Mark Meadows’s Bid to Move Georgia Elections Case – On Monday, a federal appeals court dismissed Mark Meadows’s plea to move his 2020 election interference case in Georgia to federal court, stating that he lacked the privilege as he was no longer a federal official. 

Additionally, the court determined that Meadows wouldn’t meet the criteria for such a transfer since the charges against him were not connected to his official responsibilities as Trump’s last chief of staff but were categorized as campaign-related activities. This recent legal setback might signify the conclusion of Meadows’ attempts to shift his case from Fulton County Superior Court to the federal district court in Atlanta, unless he decides to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and it opts to review the case. 

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In August, Mark Meadows, along with Trump and other co-defendants, was accused by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis of violating the state racketeering statute.  The charges stemmed from their endeavors to challenge Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. The indictment also brought a charge against Meadows for his involvement in orchestrating Trump’s well-known recorded phone call on January 2, 2021, where he urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes to secure victory in the battleground state.

Meadows sought to move his case to federal court, aiming to pursue dismissal based on federal immunity. However, his request was denied by US District Judge Steve Jones. Subsequently, Meadows appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Meadows has grappled with the question of whether his participation in the phone call or the alleged fake electors scheme fell within the realm of his official duties as White House chief of staff, as he contended, or if it constituted campaign activity, as argued by prosecutors.

Just days after the Eleventh Circuit conducted oral arguments in the case, Chief Judge William Pryor issued a comprehensive 47-page opinion last Friday. He upheld the lower court’s ruling, affirming that Meadows had not met the criteria for transferring his case out of state court through federal-officer removal. “Federal-officer removal under section 1442(a)(1) does not apply to former federal officers, and even if it did, the events giving rise to this criminal action were not related to Meadows’ official duties,” Pryor wrote.

The decision was widely anticipated following Meadows’ appearance before a three-judge appeals panel last Friday, comprising Pryor, Robin Rosenbaum, and Nancy Abudu, who were appointees of George W. Bush, Obama, and Biden, respectively. The panel seemed unsympathetic to his argument that his actions as chief of staff constituted official duties. “That just cannot be right,” Rosenbaum said at the hearing.”

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Suggesting “electioneering on behalf of a specific political candidate” or becoming involved in “an alleged effort to unlawfully change the outcome of the election” might be examples of actions not covered by a federal official’s job. The opinion disagreed with Meadows’ broad interpretation, wherein he asserted eligibility to transfer his case if just one of the alleged felony counts in the RICO case was connected to his official duties.

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