Trump Gives Up on Moving Georgia Trial

Judge had been unmoved by Mark Meadows' similar request
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 28, 2023 7:15 PM CDT
Trump Gives Up on Moving Georgia Trial
Donald Trump walks to speak with reporters before departure from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Aug. 24 in Atlanta. Trump was in town to be booked at the Fulton County Jail.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Donald Trump will not seek to have his Georgia election interference case transferred to federal court, his attorneys said in a filing Thursday—three weeks after a judge rejected a similar attempt by the former president's White House chief of staff. The notice filed in federal court in Atlanta follows a Sept. 8 decision from US District Judge Steve Jones that chief of staff Mark Meadows "has not met even the 'quite low' threshold" to move his case to federal court, saying the actions outlined in the indictment were not taken as part of Meadows' role as a federal official. Meadows is appealing that ruling, the AP reports.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges, including an alleged violation of Georgia's anti-racketeering law, over his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. He was indicted last month along with Meadows and 17 others. The notice, filed in state court in Atlanta by Trump's defense attorney, expressed confidence in how Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee will handle the trial but may have also reflected the difficulties that other defendants have had in trying to move their cases to federal court. If Trump had gotten his case moved to federal court, he could have tried to have the charges dismissed altogether on the grounds that federal officials have immunity from prosecution over actions taken as part of their official job duties.

A venue change also could have broadened the jury pool beyond overwhelmingly Democratic Fulton County and meant that a trial that would not be photographed or televised, as cameras are not allowed inside federal courtrooms, per the AP. Several other defendants—three fake electors and former U.S. Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark—are seeking to move their cases to federal court. Jones has not yet ruled on those cases. Trump, who is facing three other criminal cases, has so far been been unsuccessful in seeking to have a state case in New York, alleging falsified business records in connection with a hush money payment to a porn actor, transferred to federal court.

(Read more election interference indictment stories.)

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