A federal judge in Atlanta rejected two distinct appeals from ex-officials of the Trump administration, who aimed to transfer their criminal case from Georgia state court to a federal jurisdiction.
Mark Meadows and Jeffrey Clark, both former Trump administration officials, petitioned U.S. District Judge Steve Jones to prevent District Attorney Fani Willis from arresting them by the stipulated Friday noon deadline. This deadline was set for the 19 defendants involved in the extensive racketeering case to present themselves. Both ex-officials contended that federal courts should address their case. Their rationale was that they operated under the executive branch during the time of their purported offenses.
“Federal courts have repeatedly denied requests to interfere in state criminal prosecutions,” Willis’ team wrote. “Generally, only in cases of proven harassment or prosecutions taken in bad faith without hope of obtaining a valid conviction is federal intervention against pending state prosecutions appropriate.”
Jones issued two distinct orders. He concurred with Willis, asserting that Clark’s appeal to transfer his case to a federal court seemed “premature.” He also turned down Meadow’s plea. Consequently, both defendants must present themselves to the authorities by Friday noon. Failure to do so might result in Willis initiating an arrest warrant.
Willis contended that there’s no foundation for the defendants’ plea to postpone their arrest, arguing that their attempt to shift their case from state court lacks merit. She reminded Meadows, who once served as Trump’s chief of staff, that his previous superior had “voluntarily agreed to surrender himself to state authorities.” He also highlighted that other defendants had already done so, as stated in a 13-page response to Meadow’s endeavor.
Willis communicated to Jeffrey Clark, the former Justice Department official, through a different document. She emphasized that Clark “seeks to avoid the inconvenience and unpleasantness of being arrested … but provides this Court with no legal basis to justify those ends.” This response to Meadows and Clark is the most vocal Willis has been since last week’s indictment. The indictment involved the former president and 18 others. They faced charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Willis expressed her desire for the trial to commence on March 4. She conveyed this to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee the previous week. Additionally, on Wednesday, defendant Kenneth Chesebro, closely associated with Trump’s alleged election interference, made a “speedy trial” appeal. He wishes for the trial to begin even before Willis’ proposed spring date. McAfee has yet to address this plea. By Wednesday afternoon, statements from almost all 19 defendants had been received. However, a few, such as Harrison Floyd and Trevian Kutti, who are accused of pressuring local election officials to modify the 2020 election outcomes, have not yet agreed to a bond order.
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