US District Judge Steve Jones rejected a request by Donald Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that he pause his decision to not move the Georgia election subversion case to federal court.
Meadows had asked the federal judge to issue an emergency stay so he could avoid the possibility of being convicted in state court while he’s still fighting to move his case to federal court.
Jones was unmoved. “Meadows’s contentions that he would be irreparably harmed by the possibility of facing trial next month are insufficient to carry his burden on the emergency stay requested. No trial date has been set for Meadows, and he admits that it is not guaranteed his trial will be in October.”
Jones’ denial of Meadows’ request sets up a showdown at the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, a conservative-leaning federal court considering his appeal. Meadows has also sought an emergency order from the 11th Circuit that would pause Jones’ ruling while the appeal plays out.
Meadows is arguing that the charges against him should be moved to federal court, where he will seek to dismiss them under a federal immunity that is extended in some circumstances to defendants facing court proceedings for their actions while serving as federal officers.
Jones, an Obama appointee, ruled last week that Meadows had not overcome the legal bar for having the case moved to federal court.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opposed the Meadows request to have the ruling paused, telling the judge Tuesday that Meadows was overplaying concerns that he could be tried, convicted and incarcerated in the state court proceedings while the federal appeal unfolds.
The appeals court also asked the parties to weigh in specifically on whether the relevant statutory provision allowed for former federal officials to move state court cases against them to federal court, or if it applied only to current federal officials.
Willis wrote in a Wednesday afternoon brief that the statute does not apply to former officials, arguing that “Congress acted intentionally and purposely by precluding removal of a criminal prosecution commenced in a state court against a former federal officer.”
Meadows meanwhile countered that “Text, history, precedent, and purpose all support removal by former officials.”
Meadows was charged with racketeering and soliciting a public official to violate their oath as part of a sprawling case against efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. He has pleaded not guilty.
This story has been updated with additional details.
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