Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff in the Trump White House, has been joined by two co-defendants in seeking to have their charges in the Georgia election case moved to federal court.
According to The Hill, David Shafer, former Georgia Republican Party Chair, and Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department lawyer, have filed paperwork requesting the case’s transfer.
The Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis, recently issued a 41-count indictment charging former President Donald Trump and 18 others for their alleged involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Meadows, Clark, and Shafer are the first co-defendants to pursue the case’s transfer to federal court. This would place the case under the jurisdiction of a federal judge and potentially allow for a more politically balanced jury pool. Meadows initiated the process by filing a notice of removal last week.
Their argument for the transfer rests on the contention that their charges are linked to their roles as federal officials, and they intend to invoke federal defenses, including immunity and First Amendment arguments.
Clark’s attorney, Harry MacDougald, emphasized Clark’s previous high-ranking position in the U.S. Justice Department as well as his association with the former President of the United States. MacDougald explained, “The allegations therein relate directly to his work at the Justice Department.”
Clark has also asserted that not only his individual charges but the entire case should be moved to federal court based on relevant legal precedents. He is additionally seeking to have the special grand jury proceedings transferred.
Clark’s argument extends to the notion that the state criminal proceedings should be halted by incorporating the special grand jury into the removal notice. His attorney indicated that they would seek emergency relief to prevent his arrest by the state.
In a parallel move, Shafer’s legal team has argued that the charges against him stem directly from his service as a Presidential Elector nominee under the authority of the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act.
Fani Willis, the District Attorney, has issued a deadline for the co-defendants to voluntarily surrender by Friday or face arrest. One co-defendant, bail bondsman Scott Hall, surrendered on Tuesday. Conservative lawyer John Eastman also turned himself in on the same day. Former President Donald Trump has announced his intention to surrender on Thursday.