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Mark Meadows loses bid to move his Georgia state case to federal court

The Trump White House chief of staff wanted to take his Fulton County charges federal. A federal judge just said he can't.


Mark Meadows, the former Trump White House chief of staff indicted in the Georgia election interference case, just lost his effort to move his state charges to federal court.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones wrote in an order on Friday that there is "no federal jurisdiction over the criminal case."

To have succeeded in his removal effort, Meadows needed to show the charged conduct related to his federal officer role. He testified at a hearing in federal court that it did.

But Jones disagreed. The Obama appointee wrote that "the actions at the heart of the State’s charges against Meadows were taken on behalf of the Trump campaign with an ultimate goal of affecting state election activities and procedures."

More broadly, Jones made it clear in his order that the Constitution "does not provide any basis for executive branch involvement with State election and post-election procedures.”

The reasoning behind Jones’ denial for Meadows could also hurt attempts from any of his 18 co-defendants who may want removal, including Donald Trump. Though Jones made clear in his order that he wasn't addressing the merits of anyone else's claims at this time, nor was he rendering judgment about the strength of the state's case against Meadows.

Another impact of keeping the case in state court is that any trials there will be televised, but that wouldn’t be the case in federal court. The jury pool in state court would also be limited to Fulton County, but the federal jury pool would be slightly broader and thus potentially slightly more favorable to Republicans.

Yet even if Meadows were to have succeeded — and if removal winds up being successful for him or any other defendants — the “win” of getting the case removed may be limited. It wouldn't turn the state case into a federal case; it’s just a state case that proceeds in federal court. Removal wouldn’t allow for pardons, for example, which presidents can’t give for state charges.  

Jones may not have the last word. Meadows could appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and then the Supreme Court.

Read the full order below: