Predictably, the indictments of former President Donald Trump and others in Georgia are proceeding as the accused Republicans navigate through hostile waters.
As Trump’s numbers in the surveys continue to rise, liberal politicians and justices in a number of states have succeeded in drawing attention to the strategies they are employing to stymie his campaign.
Five of the 18 defendants have filed motions to transfer their cases from Georgia to a federal court, and Trump is anticipated to do the same by the end of the month.
Due to his position as President of the United States at the time of the purported allegations, Trump’s motion may be evaluated differently than others.
Federal Judge Steven C. Jones, an Obama appointee, denied Mark Meadows’ request to remove his criminal case to federal court on Friday, denying one of the defendants’ petitions to have a case transferred to federal court.
Last month, the former chief of staff to Donald Trump was indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, along with Trump and others, purportedly for their efforts to “overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state,” as reported by Mediate.
Attorneys for Meadows argued that his post-election actions were consistent with his function as a federal official, and that his case should therefore be transferred to federal court. The claim was denied by Judge Jones, Mediator noted.
“The court finds that the color of the Office of White House Chief of Staff did not include working with or working for the Trump campaign, except for simply coordinating the President’s schedule, traveling with the President to his campaign events, and redirecting communications to the campaign,” he wrote.
Jones added that “engaging in political activities… exceeds the outer limits of the Office of White House Chief of Staff.”
Meadows and his co-defendants are charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute of Georgia.
Meadows is anticipated to file an appeal with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Georgia defines the Hatch Act in that it “restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state, District of Columbia, or local executive agencies and who work with programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants.”
The Hatch Act was initially enacted in 1938 in response to allegations of Democratic Party misuse of Works Progress Administration (WPA) employees during congressional elections in connection with ongoing corruption.
It is not surprising that Georgia Democrats want to keep court proceedings in their state, as the Hatch Act can only be utilized there. Any refusal to transfer a proceeding to a federal court is anticipated to be appealed by the defendants.
Politico reported that “Willis’ prosecution is saying that Meadow’s actions were ‘clearly’ political in nature, and not official to his post, and they say the Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity under the auspices of their official positions.”
One wonders who, if not the Georgia Secretary of State, Trump would have called to convey his concern over the unprecedented circumstance in which not all votes were counted.
Politico continued that “At a hearing last week, lawyers for Meadows argued that his official remit as a federal employee was extroidinarily broad and encompassed resolving virtually any matter that had the potential to distract Trump from his official duties.”
Meadows and his attorneys portrayed him as a peripheral player in the chain of events, according to Politico.
Meadows has denied that he ever deviated from his official position, according to the New York Post.
“Serving the president of the United States – and I want to be clear on this your honor – takes on all forms,” Meadows stated to the judge.
“I would try to be aware of everything that was going on,” Meadows stated. “I was never paid by the campaign, never supervised the campaign. They had their own structure.”
Although Meadows clearly stated that his job of “serving” the president was not limited to certain duties, and could be applied to unforseen circumstances, the judge wrote that “The Court finds that Meadows did not adequately convey the outer limits of his authority.”
As charges center on a January 2021 conference call in which Trump instructed Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” ballots for Trump, it is evident that the case hinges on the meaning of the words. Assuming the president’s words at face value, “finding” something implies that it already exists but is concealed.