Mark Meadows loses appeal seeking to move Georgia election case to federal court


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Washington — A federal appeals court rejected a bid by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to move the state election interference charges against him in Georgia to federal court. 

A three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by a district judge in September who said Meadows must fight the charges in state court because he did not demonstrate that his alleged conduct was related to his official duties in the Trump administration.

Writing for the court, Chief Judge William Pryor said in a 35-page opinion Monday that a statute allowing federal officials to move their case to federal court from state court “does not apply to former officers.”

“Meadows, as a former chief of staff, is not a federal ‘officer’ within the meaning of the removal statute,” Pryor wrote. “Even if Meadows were an ‘officer,’ his participation in an alleged conspiracy to overturn a presidential election was not related to his official duties.”

Meadows was White House chief of staff under former President Donald Trump, including during the final months of his presidency. Meadows, Trump and 17 others were indicted in August in Fulton County on charges that they allegedly tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election to keep Trump in office. Four of the defendants have since pleaded guilty. Meadows and the remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Pryor wrote that “whatever the precise contours of Meadows’ official authority, that authority did not extend to an alleged conspiracy to overturn valid election results.”

“The district court concluded, and we agree, that the federal executive has limited authority to superintend the states’ administration of elections — neither the Constitution, nor statutory law, nor precedent prescribe any role for the White House chief of staff,” he said. “And even if some authority supported a role for the chief of staff in supervising states’ administration of elections, that role does not include influencing which candidate prevails.”

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