The indictments in Georgia of former President Donald Trump and others are proceeding predictably as the accused Republicans navigate through the hostile waters.
Persecution in a variety of states by liberal politicians and judges has succeeded in highlighting strategies being used to stall the Trump campaign as the Trump numbers climb higher and higher in the polls.
Five of the 18 defendants have filed to move their cases in Georgia to a federal court, and Trump is expected to file a motion for the same by the end of the month to also move his case.
In Trump’s case, his motion may be seen differently than some of the others due to his position as President of the United States at the time of the alleged charges.
Now one of the defendants’ requests to have a case moved to federal court has officially been denied as federal Judge Steven C. Jones, an Obama appointee, denied Mark Meadows’ request to remove his criminal case to federal court on Friday.
The former chief of staff to Donald Trump was indicted last month in Fulton County, Georgia, along with Trump and others, allegedly over their efforts to “overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state,” Mediate reports.
Attorneys for Meadows argued his post-election activities were done in accordance with his role as a federal official, and therefore his case should be moved to federal court. Judge Jones rejected that claim, Mediate noted.
“The court finds that the color of the Office of White House Chief of Staff did not include working with or working for the Trump campaign, except for simply coordinating the President’s schedule, traveling with the President to his campaign events, and redirecting communications to the campaign,” he wrote.
Jones added that “engaging in political activities… exceeds the outer limits of the Office of White House Chief of Staff.”
Meadows and his co-defendants face indictment under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute.
Meadows is expected to appeal the decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Judge’s ruling: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/23945268-meadowsord090823
It is in Willis’ favor to keep the matter within Georgia due to the specific Georgia law that is being used to enact the charges. The Hatch Act is a Georgia law that restricts political activity of state employees.
Georgia defines the Hatch Act in that it “restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state, District of Columbia, or local executive agencies and who work with programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants.”
The Hatch Act was originally passed due to allegations of Democratic Party misuse of employees of the Works Progerss Administration (WPA) in 1938 during congressional elections connected to racketeering that was going on at the time.
It is not surprising that Democrats in Georgia want to keep the court proceedings in their state where the Hatch Act uniquely can be used. It is expected that any refusal to move proceeding to a federal court venue will be appealed by the defendants.
Politico reported that “Willis’ prosecution is saying that Meadow’s actions were ‘clearly’ political in nature, and not official to his post, and they say the Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity under the auspices of their official positions.”
But one wonders that who, if not the Georgia Secretary of State, Trump would have called to express his concern that all the votes were not tallied in the unprecidented situation.
Politico continued that “At a hearing last week, lawyers for Meadows argued that his official remit as a federal employee was extroidinarily broad and encompassed resolving virtually any matter that had the potential to distract Trump from his official duties.”
Politico notes that Meadows and his attorneys portrayed him as a minor figure in the chain of events.
The New York Post reports that Meadows has denied that he veered from his official position at any point.
“Serving the president of the United States – and I want to be clear on this your honor – takes on all forms,” Meadows stated to the judge.
“I would try to be aware of everything that was going on,” Meadows stated. “I was never paid by the campaign, never supervised the campaign. They had their own structure.”
Although Meadows clearly stated that his job of “serving” the president was not limited to certain duties, and could be applied to unforseen circumstances, the judge wrote that “The Court finds that Meadows did not adequately convey the outer limits of his authority.”
As charges focus on a January 2021 conference call in which Trump told Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, to “find” votes for Trump, the case obviously rests on the meaning behind the words. “Finding” something implies it is already there, but hidden, and one would think taken as face value that is what the president was verbally expressing.