A federal judge declined to remove Mark Meadows’ Fulton County prosecution to federal court, per an order issued on Friday.
U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones for the Northern District of Georgia said in the ruling that Meadows’ alleged involvement in Trump’s effort to reverse his loss “was not related to his role as White House Chief of Staff or his executive branch authority.”
Meadows, armed with attorney and former DOJ official George Terwilliger, had put forth a legitimate argument: that the activities with which he was charged in the indictment brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis fell under his duties as a federal official.
If successful, removal to federal court could grant Meadows subsequent dismissal on the same grounds — that he was immune from prosecution because the actions at the heart of the indictment stemmed from his official duties.
But Jones found in his 49-page order that Meadows’ alleged actions in support of Trump’s election reversal bid didn’t meet the bar for acting as a federal official.
Meadows had even taken the rare and risky step of testifying on his own behalf in a hearing in the matter last month. Defense attorneys and former federal prosecutors described it as a high-stakes move which illustrated the severity of Meadows’ situation.
Willis brought two charges against Meadows in the indictment, stemming mainly from his involvement in the January 2, 2021 phone call that Trump placed to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump asked the Georgia official to “find” him enough votes to win.
Judge Jones wrote in the order that the call — like other allegations around Meadows — was related not to his position as chief of staff, but rather to private activities, like the Trump campaign.
In the case of the call, Jones wrote that it was connected to “private litigation brought by
President and his campaign against the State of Georgia.”
“It was therefore outside Meadows’s federal role as an executive branch officer,” he wrote.
Terwilliger, Meadows’ attorney, did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment. It’s unclear whether Meadows will appeal.
Read the ruling here: