A federal judge on Wednesday shot down the efforts of two high profile Fulton County racketeering defendants to block their arrests, all but assuring that the Trump cronies will be booked this week like the other 17 defendants.
U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones for the Northern District of Georgia had heard separate requests from both former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Trump-era DOJ official Jeffrey Clark for an emergency order that would stop them from having to report to jail this week in Fulton County for formal arrest.
Jones denied both, saying in both instances that it was premature for him to rule.
The two face charges from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who alleges that they participated in a sprawling RICO conspiracy helmed by Trump and aimed at reversing the 2020 election outcome in Georgia.
Meadows, represented by George H.W. Bush-era Deputy Attorney General George Terwilliger, had asked the judge to force the halt pending a separate request he made to remove his case to federal court. The former chief of staff argued that he’s been charged with acts which were protected by his status at the time as a federal official, and that that protection should also protect him from arrest while the case is pending.
Jones denied that request, saying that he had not yet made any decision about Meadows’ case. Therefore, he ruled, the state criminal process — including Meadows’ arrest — would have to go ahead.
Similarly, Jones ruled that Clark’s case about removing the case to federal court could continue even as the criminal process in Fulton County played itself out. The judge mentioned in his ruling that some defendants who had made similar requests to have their cases moved to federal court had gone on to face trial without the request being resolved.
The rulings all but guarantee that they will be booked this week. Willis set a deadline of noon this Friday for defendants in the case, of which there are 19, to appear before warrants went out for their arrest.
Clark’s charges stem from his role in trying to have the DOJ send a letter to several state legislatures — including Georgia’s — making the false assertion that federal prosecutors had found a reason to think that fraud had affected the election result, while suggesting that Georgia lawmakers take an action far beyond their authority: replace the Biden electors with the fake Trump ones.
That effort failed.
Willis charged Meadows largely based on his involvement in Trump’s January 2 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he asked Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to win.