Judge rejects request from former Trump aide to stay proceedings

Credit: NYT

Credit: NYT

A federal judge has rejected a request by Donald Trump’s former chief of staff to stay court proceedings against him in Fulton County.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones last week rejected Mark Meadows’ request to move his case to federal court. Meadows sought a stay in the proceedings while he appealed Jones’ ruling.

On Tuesday, Jones rejected that request. Among other things, Jones found that Meadows’ appeal is not likely to be successful and had not shown he would be irreparably harmed unless a stay was granted.

Meadows is one of 19 defendants – including Trump – named in a 41-count indictment issued by a Fulton County grand jury last month. The indictment accuses the former White House chief of staff and others of illegally conspiring to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Georgia.

Meadows participated in the January 2021 phone call in which Trump asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the 11,780 votes he needed to defeat Biden. Meadows also arranged Trump’s call to a state investigator conducting an audit of absentee ballot signatures in Cobb County and showed up unannounced during the audit.

The indictment charges Meadows with racketeering and soliciting a public official to violate his oath of office.

Meadows has argued his case should be removed to federal court, where he might get a more favorable jury drawn from across north Georgia and also press his claim that he is immune from prosecution. He argued the actions he is accused of were undertaken in his role as a federal officer involved in official government business.

Jones rejected those arguments in an order last Friday. He found Meadows was aiding Trump’s campaign, not fulfilling federal duties. Meadows’ legal team has appealed the decision to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has granted an expedited review. They are also seeking an emergency stay from that court.

The 11th Circuit asked prosecutors and Meadows to file briefs on whether a former federal official like Meadows could have his case moved to federal court or only current officials could have their cases transferred. In briefs filed late Wednesday, Meadows argued that former officials can have their cases transferred, while Fulton prosecutors argued they cannot,