Former Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., speaks during a forum on House and GOP Conference rules for the 118th Congress, at the FreedomWorks office in Washington, D.C., on Monday, November 14, 2022.
Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, one of the co-defendants charged with racketeering in the Georgia 2020 election probe, filed court documents Tuesday seeking to move the new Fulton County case to federal court.
In a 14-page filing, Meadows argued that the charges in the indictment pertain to actions he took while he served in the Trump administration.
“Mr. Meadows has the right to remove this matter. The conduct giving rise to the charges in the indictment all occurred during his tenure and as part of his service as Chief of Staff,” Meadows’ lawyers wrote.
They requested “prompt removal,” citing a federal law that allows U.S. officers to remove civil actions or criminal prosecutions in state court for alleged actions taken “under color” of their offices to U.S. District Court. Meadows also intends to file a motion to dismiss the indictment “as soon as is feasible,” his lawyers wrote.
ABC News first reported Meadows’ filing.
Moving the case to federal court could result in a more favorable jury pool for defendants, and it would almost certainly mean no cameras would be allowed in the courtroom.
Former President Donald Trump, Meadows and 17 other defendants were indicted Monday on felony charges in connection with efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. The probe was launched by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
The DA’s office declined to comment on Meadows’ filing. A Meadows attorney did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Meadows faces two counts in the sprawling 41-count indictment, including violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer.
According to the indictment, Meadows, Trump and other unindicted co-conspirators “unlawfully solicited, requested, and importuned” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021.
The indictment cites Trump’s phone call urging Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to claim victory in the state over Democrat Joe Biden.
In Tuesday’s filing, Meadows’ lawyers detailed arrangements for organizing Oval Office meetings, contacting state officials on Trump’s behalf, visiting a state government building and setting up a phone call as among Meadows’ duties as chief of staff.
“Nothing Mr. Meadows is alleged in the indictment to have done is criminal per se,” they wrote. “One would expect a Chief of Staff to the President of the United States to do these sorts of things.”
The 98-page indictment lays out a series of alleged schemes to overturn election results, including pressuring state officials to change the results, accessing voting machines and data in rural Coffee County, and harassing election worker Ruby Freeman to falsely admit to election crimes she did not commit.
Trump shares the charges Meadows faces and 11 additional counts of filing false documents and making false statements and writings, as well as several conspiracy charges. Other top allies, including former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and a former Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, were also charged.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing. Giuliani also denied wrongdoing shortly before the indictment was made public.
At a news conference announcing the charges Monday night, Willis said defendants would have until noon Aug. 25 to surrender voluntarily.
Meadows, a former congressman from North Carolina who now lives in South Carolina, has fought efforts to get him to testify about his actions during the final weeks of Trump’s presidency.
He previously tried to avoid testifying before the grand jury in Willis’ probe but was compelled to testify after having lost court challenges.
Meadows also rebuffed a subpoena for testimony from the House Jan. 6 committee and was referred to the Justice Department for a criminal contempt of Congress charge. The Justice Department declined to prosecute him.