Fani Willis' case against Meadows to move forward after federal court ruling

Mark Meadows Joshua Roberts/Getty Images
Mark Meadows Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Georgia's criminal proceedings against former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will move forward, after a Thursday ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Meadows had requested a stay on all state court proceedings while his attempts to get the trial moved to federal court was in progress, but has now withdrawn that motion, with the court's approval. This comes after two of his former Georgia co-defendants, the Trump-affiliated lawyers Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, had their cases severed from the other 17 defendants and pushed onto an accelerated schedule.

Meadows had requested the pause after filing an appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones' ruling last week that denied Meadows' motion to have his case moved to federal court. Meadows' appeal will continue, in other words, but so will the felony case against him in Fulton County.

Meadows' attorneys cited the court's accelerated scheduling as a factor in withdrawing the motion for a stay, writing that "the matter will be fully briefed and ripe for a decision well before Mr. Meadows would be required to proceed to trial and ahead of the presently scheduled pre-trial deadlines."


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"No party tomorrow," former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance wrote of the canceled oral argument on X, formerly known as Twitter. "After Judge McAfee severs his case from the 2 defendants w/Oct. trials, Meadows withdraws his motion for a stay pending appeal of the removal issue to the 11th circuit. His opening brief is due Monday. The court set a very fast schedule."

Meadows is one of 19 co-defendants charged last month in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering indictment, which alleges that he, Trump and a cast of others conspired to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. The former White House chief of staff faces one count of violating Georgia's RICO Act and one count of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer for his role in the alleged plot. Meadows was not named, even as an unindicted co-conspirator, in Jack Smith's federal indictment, leading to speculation that he may have provided Smith with evidence against Trump.

Meadows' appeal of last week's ruling should be resolved quickly. His team's brief is due Monday, the state's response on Sept. 25 and Meadows' reply brief by Sept. 28.

Other legal experts speculated that Meadows' motion to withdraw reflects his chilly reception so far at the 11th Circuit.

"TRANSLATION: We no longer care enough about our weird request for injunction to risk what THIS motions panel might say about the merits of our arguments," Lee Kovarsky, a University of Texas law professor, tweeted.

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"Hot take: Meadows don't want the motions panel (that's very unfavorable to him) preemptively steering the discourse and wants to avoid too much discussion about whether former officers are covered by the removal statute," Georgia State Law professor Anthony Michael Kreis added. "So, this morning's order is a gift that he wants to use."