Donald Trump may file to move Fulton County case to federal court

Former President Trump is considering moving his Georgia case to federal court.
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 3:59 PM EDT
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ATLANTA (Atlanta News First/Gray News) - Former President Donald Trump’s lead Georgia attorney has notified Fulton County Superior Court that he may move to transfer his case out of state court and into a federal one.

The motion was filed by Steven Sadow, who took over Trump’s case as his lead state attorney two weeks ago, the same day Trump surrendered himself at the notorious Fulton County Jail to be photographed, fingerprinted and booked.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows testified last week in his similar attempt to be tried in a federal court, a testimony attended by both Sadow and Trump’s other Atlanta attorney, Jennifer Little.

Meadows and his legal team hoped to show U.S. District Court Judge Steven Jones he carried out his official duties of his federal employment as Trump’s chief of staff. Jones has not made a ruling on Meadows’ case.

Several of the 19 co-defendants in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ historic, sweeping indictments are also petitioning to have their cases removed from state court and into federal ones. Besides Meadows are former Georgia GOP chair David Shafer; former Coffee County GOP chairwoman Cathy Latham; state Sen. Shawn Still; and former U.S. Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark.

Meadows and his attorneys are arguing he is immune from state prosecution under the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause. The clause says that federal law takes precedence over state law, and Meadows has not been indicted on any federal charges related to the alleged interference. In particular, the motion said that the clause stops states from obstructing federal officials carrying out federal duties.

Meadows’ motion also argues that Meadows is immune under the First Amendment, which protects political expression, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits the application of unconstitutionally vague statutes.

Willis’ office argued Meadows violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity as part of their official roles.

Also on Thursday, Willis accused U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, of unlawfully and unconstitutionally attempting to interfere in her prosecution of the former president and his 18 co-defendants.

In a letter dated Sept. 7, 2023, Willis replied to an inquiry last month from Jordan, who also chairs the powerful House Judiciary Committee. Jordan’s Aug. 24 letter to Willis asked her if she coordinated her investigation into Trump with the U.S. Justice Department. He also asked if Willis used any federal money in conducting her more-than-two-year investigation into the nation’s 45th president.

After Jordan sent Willis his letter last month, his office posted this statement: “Ms. Willis’s indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding her actions raise serious concerns about whether such actions are politically motivated. Given the weighty federal interests at stake, the Committee is conducting oversight of this matter to determine whether any legislative reforms are appropriate or necessary.”

In her Thursday reply, Willis said Jordan’s letter “offends principles of state sovereignty;” “transgresses separation of powers principles;” “improperly interferes with the administration of criminal justice;” and “burdens the deliberate process privilege.”

She also said Jordan’s letter “makes clear that you lack a basic understanding of the law, its practice, and the ethical obligations of attorneys generally and prosecutors specifically.”