Mark Meadows Testifies in Bid to Move Georgia Election Case to Federal Court

Mark Meadows Testifies in Bid to Move Georgia Election Case to Federal Court – The extensive 41-charge indictment against Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants in Fulton County underwent its initial examination on Monday. Mark Meadows, the ex-White House chief of staff, appeared before a federal judge to argue for transferring his Georgia election interference case from state to federal jurisdiction. 

Meadows provided nearly three hours of testimony before the lunch break, where he defended his role as Trump’s chief of staff but refrained from addressing his stance on the 2020 election outcome. Meadows is confronted with two serious charges, which are racketeering and solicitation of an oath violation by a public officer. However, Meadows contends that his actions were carried out in his role as a federal officer, entitling him to immunity. 

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He asserts that a federal judge should preside over his case. Following Fani Willis’ indictment, Meadows promptly submitted a motion to transfer his case to the federal US district court of northern Georgia. Willis contended that Meadows’ actions went against the Hatch Act, a federal regulation that forbids government officials from leveraging their position to sway election outcomes. This made Meadows’ actions inappropriate for his role as chief of staff.

“There was a political component to everything that we did,” testified Meadows, referring to his actions during the final weeks of the Trump administration. Additionally, he gave testimony indicating that his responsibilities included participating in almost all of Trump’s meetings, which he assisted in coordinating with different states and agencies, as reported by ABC News.

“Those were challenging times, bluntly,” said Meadows, testifying about his time as Trump’s chief of staff during the pandemic and through the 2020 election, according to CNN. “I don’t know if anyone was fully prepared for that type of job.” As per the charges outlined in the indictment, Meadows orchestrated the well-known conversation between Trump and Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state. 

During that call, the ex-president urged Raffensperger to uncover sufficient votes to prevent Biden’s win. Meadows, during his testimony on Monday, revealed that Trump had directed him to arrange the call. He also at one point instructed a White House aide to draft a strategy memo for “disrupting and delaying” the electoral certification process on 6 January 2021, according to the indictment. Yet Meadows denied doing that on Monday, calling it the “biggest surprise.”

When prosecutors asked Raffensperger about the federal government’s role in certifying elections, he testified that it has “none”. Raffensperger, who was on the stand for more than an hour, also testified Trump “lost the election” and that his “outreach to that extent was extraordinary”, referring to the 2 January 2021 phone call Meadows arranged. Kurt Hilbert, an attorney from the Trump campaign, also provided testimony on Monday. 

He stated that the intention behind the call was to address campaign matters, contradicting Meadows’ assertion that he acted in his capacity as a federal official. Willis issued subpoenas for Raffensperger and his office’s chief investigator Frances Watson to appear at the Monday hearing. After voluntarily surrendering last Thursday, Meadows was taken to Fulton County jail where he attempted to prevent his arrest through an emergency motion. 

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However, his request was denied by a judge. Meadows was subsequently released after posting a $100,000 bail. Shortly before Meadows’ federal court hearing, Judge Scott McAfee, overseeing the Fulton County election interference case, announced that all 19 defendants, including Trump, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, and Sidney Powell, would be arraigned on September 6 in 15-minute intervals. 

Three other defendants, Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official, along with Georgia electors David Shafer, Shawn Still, and Cathy Latham, have submitted motions to transfer their cases out of Fulton County and into federal court. It is anticipated that Trump will also make a similar request in the coming weeks.

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