CNN’s senior legal analyst Elie Honig on Monday laid out three possible strategic wins for former President Donald Trump if the Georgia case is moved from state to federal court.
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, one of the 19 defendants indicted in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ probe into their alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 Georgia election, is pushing to have his case brought in federal court rather than state court. Meadows has argued his case could be moved to federal court because the charges “all occurred during his tenure and as part of his service as Chief of Staff.”
A hearing is scheduled for Monday, when an Atlanta federal judge will hear arguments related to Meadows’ request to move his case to federal court.
“Immediately after this case was brought, everybody was talking about moving it from state to federal. Why? What’s the strategic advantage?” CNN’s Phil Mattingly asked.
“If you’re the defendant, first of all, I think you’re gonna like the jury pool more,” Honig began. “If it stays state, the entire jury pool will be drawn from Fulton County, which voted 26% only for Donald Trump in 2020. If you get it moved federal, you’re gonna be drawing from the northern district of Georgia, the federal district, which includes Cobb County, which went 42% for Trump — not great, but better than 26 — Cherokee County went 68% for Trump, so you’re gonna have a more pro-Trump jury in the federal court.”
“Also, in the federal courts, no matter where this case is tried, it’s going to go up to the midlevel court of appeals, whether in state or federal court. But if you get into the federal court, you have the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, famously conservative, really seen as the second-most conservative of the 13 appellate courts in the United States — they’ve ruled against Trump, but if you are Trump you want that 11th circuit,” Honig continued.
“And finally, most importantly, if you get into federal court your next move, if Mark Meadows gets there, you ask for dismissal on the basis of immunity — if you can show you were within the scope of your job and that you were not doing anything more than necessary and proper, then you can get the case dismissed, and that’s the whole ball of wax,” he concluded. (RELATED: CNN Legal Analyst Breaks Down How Trump, Co-Defendants Could Score Major Win In GA Case)
Meadows is accused of setting up a call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump allegedly told Raffensperger to “find” enough votes. Trump and Meadows are both charged with violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer.