OAN’s Daniel Baldwin
10:20 AM – Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows filed Tuesday to move the case brought against him by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to federal court.
“Mr. Meadows has the right to remove this matter,” George Terwilliger, Meadows’ attorney, wrote. “The conduct giving rise to the charges in the indictment all occurred during his tenure and as part of his service as Chief of Staff. In these circumstances, federal law provides for prompt removal of a “criminal prosecution . . . commenced in a State court . . . against or directed to” a federal official, “in an official or individual capacity, for or relating to any act under color of [his] office.”
The filing came one day after he was indicted along with 45th President Donald Trump and 17 others over alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Terwilliger specifically points out that many of the alleged charges by Willis are not “criminal per se.”
“Nothing Mr. Meadows is alleged in the indictment to have done is criminal per se: arranging Oval Office meetings, contacting state officials on the President’s behalf, visiting a state government building, and setting up a phone call for the President,” Terwilliger wrote. “One would expect a Chief of Staff to the President of the United States to do these sorts of things.”
Counsel for the National Legal and Policy Center, Paul Kamenar, told One America News that federal law requires the removal of criminal proceedings brought in state court if the alleged crimes occurred when the defendant was operating in a federal role.
“The underlying rationale for that law was not to have state courts and state prosecutors interfere with federal officials’ duties,” Kamenar said. “And so in this case, all the allegations against Trump and Mark Meadows revolve around the activities they did in the White House while they were in office.”
Kamenar was referring to federal statute 28 U.S. Code § 1442 which says, “A civil action or criminal prosecution that is commenced in a State court and that is against or directed to any of the following may be removed by them to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place wherein it is pending…any officer (or any person acting under that officer) of the United States.”
Kamenar says moving the case to a federal court would not only be beneficial for Meadows, but also for Trump.
“The jury pool will be brought from a broader spectrum and population demographics than it would be just in Fulton County, Georgia,” Kamenar said. “That’s one advantage. Secondly, there would be these motions that are going to be made regarding immunity that federal courts are expert at resolving rather than a state judge.”
Many expect Trump’s legal team to follow Meadows’ lead, filing their own motion to move the case to a federal court. Trump did so in New York’s case, but it was denied. Kamenar says they would have a better argument in the Fulton County case.
“[The New York case] was more of a personal matter, even when he was in office,” Kamenar said. “Here, on the other hand, the allegations are clear that this deals with duties while [Trump] was in office. They were arguably among his duties as president of the United States to make sure that the elections are proper and the votes are properly counted.”
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