The ex-Trump chief of staff is again seeking to move his case to federal court.
A panel of three federal judges appointed by presidents George Bush, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden peppered attorneys for former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and the Fulton County district attorney’s office with questions Friday during a hearing on Meadows’ ongoing effort to move the election interference charges against him in Georgia out of state court and into federal court.
Meadows was charged in Fulton County this summer, alongside former President Donald Trump and 17 others, with conspiring to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. He pleaded not guilty and has since unsuccessfully sought to remove the case to federal court based on a law that calls for the removal of criminal proceedings when someone is charged for actions they allegedly took as a federal official acting “under color” of their office.
Meadows was not present in court as his attorney urged the judges on 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court’s ruling and remove his case to federal court.
Meadows is charged for “acts taken in the West Wing of the White House by the highest appointed White House official,” argued Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger.
The judges appeared at times skeptical of Meadows’ attorneys’ arguments, pressing them on the limits of federal authority.
Judge Robin Rosenbaum, an Obama appointee, pressed Terwilliger about what the boundaries of Meadows’ job were.
“According to [Meadows], it seems like everything was within his official duties, and that just cannot be right,” said Rosenbaum in reference to Meadows’ testimony in an earlier evidentiary hearing on the matter. She referred to it his conduct as “electioneering on behalf of a specific political candidate.”
After Terwilliger’s arguments, Donald Wakeford of the Fulton County DA’s office urged the court to “affirm” the lower court’s decision to leave the case in state court, insetting that the law should not apply to former federal officials.
“Mr. Meadows was unable on the stand to provide a cogent explanation of what the scope of his office was,” Wakeford said. “Mr. Meadows consistently, in briefing and when he testified, provided no limits whatsoever.”