Trump Won't Try to Move GA Trial 09/29 06:15
ATLANTA (AP) -- Former President Donald Trump will not seek to get 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
U.S. 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.
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.
"President Trump now notifies the court that he will NOT be seeking to
remove his case to federal court," the notice states. "This decision is based
on his well-founded confidence that this honorable court intends to fully and
completely protect his constitutional right to a fair trial and guarantee him
due process of law throughout the prosecution of his case in the Superior Court
of Fulton County, Georgia."
If Trump had gotten his case moved to federal court, he could have tried to
get the charges dismissed altogether on the grounds that federal officials have
immunity from prosecution over actions taken as part of their official job
Trump, though, is still making arguments in the state court case that he
can't be prosecuted because of his federal position. On Thursday, his lawyer
filed a motion saying in part that Trump is immune from state prosecution for
all the acts he took while president, and that Georgia's prosecution violates
the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says federal law overrides
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. A venue
change would not have meant that Trump -- if he's reelected in 2024 -- or
another president would have been able to issue a pardon because any conviction
would still happen under state law.
Several other defendants -- three fake electors and former U.S. Justice
Department official Jeffrey Clark -- are also seeking to move their cases to
federal court. Jones has not yet ruled on those cases.
Meadows testified as part of his bid to remove his case, although the others
did not. Trump would not have been required to testify at his own hearing, but
removal might have been difficult to win if he didn't take the stand. That
would have given prosecutors a chance to question him under cross-examination,
and anything he said could have be used in an eventual trial.
Meadows had asked for the charges to be dismissed, saying the Constitution
made him immune from prosecution for actions taken in his official duties as
White House chief of staff.
The judge ruled that the actions at the heart of prosecutors' charges
against Meadows were taken on behalf of the Trump campaign "with an ultimate
goal of affecting state election activities and procedures."
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. He asked a federal appeals court to reverse a
judge's opinion keeping the case in state court.