Meadows is one of at least five co-defendants in the case with Donald Trump who wants to move the charges to federal court.
Mark Meadows and Georgia prosecutors continued to grapple in written arguments Thursday over whether any of his official duties as Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff requires a judge to move his election racketeering charges from local to federal court.
Meadows asked to move his case by arguing the actions he was charged for − setting up calls, contacting state officials − were part of his job. He has also asked to dismiss the charges in federal court. His lawyers argued that the case should move for even one act of official business under longstanding law and federal court precedent.
“Any contrary rule would lead to absurd results; a state could charge even the most quintessential official act and defeat removal by tacking on unofficial conduct,” Meadows’ lawyers wrote in their filing.
But Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis argued Meadows was committing crimes as part of a wide-ranging conspiracy beyond his official duties to help Trump overturn the 2020 election. The prosecutors argued one official act shouldn’t be enough to move the case.
“The circumstances of this case are easily distinguishable,” the prosecutors wrote. “The defendant conspired not for any purpose related to his duties as chief of staff, but to transform Mr. Trump from a losing political candidate into a winning one, no matter what the outcome of the election had actually been.”
After an all-day hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones asked for additional written arguments. Jones had asked if even one act in the 98-page indictment described Meadows acting in an official capacity, whether that meant his entire case should move to federal court. He hasn’t announced when he will decide the case.
Jones has said the case could set precedent. At least four other co-defendants in the case − former assistant attorney general Jeffrey Clark and three alternate electors for Trump, Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer, state Sen. Shawn Still and Cathy Latham − have also asked to move their cases to federal court because they were also federal officials as part of the Justice Department or as presidential electors.
Meadows is charged with racketeering and with soliciting Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to violate his oath of office during a call Jan. 2, 2021, when Trump asked him to “find” enough votes to win the state.
As part of the broad racketeering charge that applies to all 19 defendants, the indictment lists 161 actions the defendants took that were allegedly each part of the conspiracy to overturn the election.
Some of the citations for Meadows included meeting with state lawmakers at the White House.
- On Nov. 20, 2020, Meadows attended an Oval Office meeting when Trump hosted with Michigan lawmakers, the indictment said.
- On Nov. 21, 2020, Meadows texted U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., asking for contact information for phone numbers of state legislative leaders for Trump to call, according to the indictment.
- On Nov. 25, 2020, Meadows met with Pennsylvania lawmakers at the White House, according to the indictment.
Other actions for Meadows sounded more overtly political.
- During December 2020, Meadows and Trump met with a political aide, John McEntee, and asked him to outline a strategy for Vice President Mike Pence to reject presidential electors from certain states, according to the indictment. Meadows denied Monday he made that request.
- On Dec. 22, 2020, Meadows traveled to the Cobb County Civic Center in Georgia, in an attempt to observe an audit of ballot signatures, according to the indictment. Local officials prevented him from entering. Meadows said Monday he was concerned about potential election fraud.
- On Dec. 23, 2020, Meadows arranged a call for Trump to ask Frances Watson, Raffensperger’s chief investigator, to falsely state he won the state “by hundreds of thousands of votes” and stated to Watson that “when theright answer comes out you’ll be praised,” according to the indictment.
- On Dec. 27, 2020, the indictment said Meadows texted Watson to ask if the signature verification could be speeded up if the Trump campaign paid for it, according to the indictment. Meadows testified that he thought the text went to a different recipient.