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Trump Attorney Informs Georgia Court of Plan to File For Change to Federal Venue

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


An attorney for former President Donald Trump has informed a state judge in Georgia that his client intends to try and move his case to a federal court.

“President Trump hereby notifies the Court that he may seek removal of his prosecution to federal court,” the brief notice from attorney Steven Sadow said. The notice added that Trump had 30 days from the date of his arraignment on racketeering charges stemming from actions taken after the 2020 election in the state to make the change of venue request.

When Trump waived his right to an arraignment hearing and pleaded not guilty on August 31, the 30-day clock started ticking.

If Trump is successful in having the state case transferred to federal court, he could gain several advantages. If he can persuade a judge that his alleged actions in the indictment were connected to his official duties as a government official, it will give him more opportunities to have the charges dropped.

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The jurors will all be residents of Fulton County, which President Joe Biden won by a margin of 47 points if the case remains in federal court. The jury pool will be chosen from a 10-county area close to Atlanta that Biden won by 32 points, a smaller but still comfortable margin if the case is transferred to federal court, CNN reported.

A number of the 19 co-defendants in the case against Trump are already trying to transfer it to federal court.

Meanwhile, a federal judge has dashed former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ hopes of moving his racketeering case out of a Georgia courtroom and into federal jurisdiction.

The ruling represents a triumph for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is pursuing legal action against former President Donald Trump, Meadows, and 17 additional defendants, Politico reported. They have been charged under the state’s broad criminal racketeering statute due to their involvement in attempting to support Trump’s challenge of the 2020 election results.

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Politico said that Meadows’ legal team immediately filed a motion with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals late Friday.

“The Court concludes that Meadows has not shown that the actions that triggered the State’s prosecution related to his federal office,” U.S. District Judge Steve Jones wrote in his ruling, adding that he wasn’t ruling on any of the other defendants to try and have their cases moved to a federal court.

Politico added:

Jones, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, concluded that Meadows was not acting within the scope of his employment at the White House when he organized a Jan. 2, 2021 phone call where Trump pressed Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to declare him the victor in that state. Other actions that Meadows took, as described in a grand jury’s indictment last month, similarly fell outside Meadows’ official duties, the judge said.

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“Meadows’s participation on the January 2, 2021 call was political in nature and involved the President’s private litigation, neither of which are related to the scope of the Office of White House Chief of Staff,” Jones wrote.

“The Court finds that these contributions to the phone call with Secretary Raffensperger went beyond those activities that are within the official role of White House Chief of Staff, such as scheduling the President’s phone calls, observing meetings, and attempting to wrap up meetings in order to keep the President on schedule,” the ruling continued.

In determining that Meadows had operated beyond the boundaries of his official duties, Jones ruled that Meadows did not qualify for what is commonly referred to as “removal.” The procedure, established by federal law, enables federal officials to shift a case from state court to federal court when the case hinges on their official actions.

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