I'll Be Brief - Georgia Indictment Edition

(AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kent D. Johnson, Pool)

With 19 defendants named in the Fulton County, Georgia indictment handed down August 14th against former President Donald Trump et al., keeping up with the numerous pleadings filed and rulings made can be a bit challenging. At the press conference announcing the indictment, District Attorney Fani Willis declared that she was giving all defendants until noon on Friday, August 25th to surrender to Georgia authorities. 


Several defendants have already surrendered, including attorney John Eastman. Trump has indicated he intends to do so Thursday morning, and the conditions of his release have been set

Trump's former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, has filed a Notice of Removal, attempting to move the case against him to federal court, contending that any actions he's alleged to have taken in the indictment were performed in the course of his federal employment and therefore do not fall within the state court's jurisdiction. 

Here's the catch: Meadows' attorneys requested a brief extension of the deadline for surrender in Fulton County to allow a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to hold an evidentiary hearing regarding Meadows' Notice of Removal to determine if removal is, in fact, appropriate in this case. That hearing is set for the morning of Monday, August 28th. One of their contentions is that Meadows, by surrendering in Fulton County prior to the federal court's determination, could, in effect, be waiving his claim by submitting to the state's authority. But Willis is giving no quarter on it. 


“Absent this Court’s intervention, Mr. Meadows will be denied the protection from arrest that federal law affords former federal officials,” Meadows’ attorneys wrote to U.S. District Court Judge Steven Jones, who is weighing Meadows’ urgent request to transfer the sprawling racketeering case to federal court.

Meadows’ urgency was sparked by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ rejection of his request to delay his arrest until Jones has a chance to make a ruling, expected next week.

“I am not granting any extensions,” Willis wrote in an email to Meadows’ attorneys Tuesday morning. “I gave 2 weeks for people to surrender themselves to the court. Your client is no different than any other criminal defendant in this jurisdiction. The two weeks was a tremendous courtesy.”

“At 12:30 pm on Friday I shall file warrants in the system,” Willis added.

Willis’ firm deadline puts Meadows in a race against the clock. He has urged Jones to quickly determine that he is immune from the Georgia prosecution by virtue of his federal role. Jones quickly agreed to hold a hearing on the matter, setting an evidentiary session for Aug. 28. Meadows indicated in his Tuesday court filing that Willis refused to delay the timeline to accommodate the federal hearing.


In response to Meadows' motion for relief from the federal court, the judge ordered Willis to respond to the motion by 3:00 pm Eastern Wednesday. 

Like Meadows, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and former Georgia GOP Chair David Shafer have attempted to remove their cases to federal court. Both of those cases are also pending before Judge Jones, who has given the same deadline to the Fulton County DA's office to respond to Clark's motion. (Shafer's Notice of Removal was just filed on Monday.) 

Trump has not yet sought removal of the case against him. Whether he will following his scheduled surrender Thursday morning remains to be seen. 

As I was composing this article, Willis' office filed its reply in Meadows' removal case, a copy of which can be viewed below. The crux of Willis' argument is that the relief Meadows is seeking is not authorized by law and that the federal court should "abstain from interfering" in the state's prosecution. The DA's reply in Clark's case appears to make similar arguments. 

Presumably, Judge Jones will rule swiftly on the motions in front of him, and RedState will provide updates on that, as well as developments in the cases against the other defendants, as they become available. 


Willis Response by Susie Moore on Scribd


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