Georgia DA urges judge to reject Meadows bid for stay in election case

Mark Meadows in a police booking mugshot released by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.

Fulton County Sheriff’s Office | via Reuters

Mark Meadows has failed to show he can “carry the heavy burden” required to pause a judge’s order rejecting his bid to move his Georgia criminal election interference case to federal court, Atlanta’s district attorney argued Tuesday.

“Far from making a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits in his appeal, the defendant has not actually made any showing,” District Attorney Fani Willis argued in a filing in federal court in Atlanta.

Meadows, 64, former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, is seeking to move the state-level case to federal court even after U.S. District Judge Steve Jones denied his initial request last week.

On Monday, Meadows’ attorneys asked Jones to stay his own ruling pending an appeal in a federal appellate court. They argued that without a stay, Meadows could be “irreparably injured” as his prosecution barrels ahead in Fulton County Superior Court.

The prosecutor, on Tuesday, urged Jones to deny the motion for a stay, arguing that Meadows has not shown he is likely to prevail in an appeal.

“His arguments are overbroad and do not actually address the careful reasoning employed by the Court in its Remand Order. He thus has presented no basis to conclude that he is likely to succeed in his appeal, and the first factor cuts against him,” Willis wrote.

Meadows’ arguments attempt to “talk around” the federal judge’s reasoning and fail to cite “any pertinent public interest weighing in his favor,” the DA wrote.

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Meadows and Trump are two of the 19 co-defendants in Willis’ sweeping case, which alleges an illegal conspiracy to try to overturn Trump’s loss to President Joe Biden in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election. Meadows is charged with one count each of violating Georgia’s racketeering law and solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer.

Multiple other co-defendants are also attempting to move their prosecution out of Fulton County, whose residents voted overwhelmingly for Biden in 2020. Trump’s attorneys said in a court filing last week that they, too, may seek a transfer.

The former White House chief of staff is pushing forward with his attempt to stay Jones’ ruling. In an “emergency motion” filed Monday afternoon in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, Meadows’ attorneys wrote that the lower court and Jones “egregiously erred” in rejecting the request for a stay.

“At a minimum, the Court should stay the Remand Order to protect Meadows from a conviction pending appeal,” the former White House chief’s lawyers wrote.

They pointed to the Oct. 23 trial date that Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee has set for two of the 19 co-defendants in the Georgia election case.

“Absent a stay, the State will continue seeking to try Meadows in 42 days,” they argued. “If the State gets its way, Meadows could be forced to stand trial, be convicted, and be incarcerated, all before the standard timeline for a federal appeal would play out.”

The appeals court has ordered Georgia prosecutors to respond to Meadows’ motion by noon on Wednesday.


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