Former WH attorney Cobb predicts former WH Chief of Staff Meadows will be unsuccessful in bid to remove Georgia charges to federal court

 September 7, 2023

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is seeking to remove his Georgia racketeering case from state court to federal court, but while former Trump White House attorney Ty Cobb says Meadows has a "credible" argument in that regard, he doesn't think he'll be successful in doing so, according to The Hill.

Meadows, along with former President Donald Trump and 17 others, were charged last month by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for their purported roles in an alleged widespread racketeering conspiracy to overturn and reverse the 2020 election results in Georgia.

Trump's former Chief of Staff Meadows has argued that his case should be tried in federal court -- where there will be no cameras, a more ideologically diverse jury pool, and he can claim federal immunity to possibly have the charges dismissed -- since the post-election actions he has been indicted over were part of his duties as a federal employee.

Meadows has the "most credible case" to seek removal

On Tuesday, CNN host Erin Burnett spoke with former White House attorney Ty Cobb about developments in the Georgia case, including whether all 19 defendants could or should be tried together instead of separately and whether Meadows and others might succeed in getting their individual cases removed to federal court.

With respect to whether Meadows would succeed in removing his case to federal court, Cobb said, "I don't believe so, but remember, my position has always been he has the most credible case of all the potential federal defendants who are trying -- seeking to do this."

"He did make some significant concessions with regard to his motion," the lawyer continued. "He conceded that many of the activities that he participated in were political -- that's outside his duties as chief of staff -- and the Hatch Act argument that prosecutors developed with him also demonstrates what a thin line he's walking because the Hatch Act prohibits that, so that's per se illegal, so that's not within his duties either."

"I think he has a tough road to hoe but he has the only chance of anybody of moving it," Cobb added of Meadows' removal effort, and also cast doubt on the idea that a successful removal for Meadows would automatically result in other defendants having their cases similarly removed to federal court.

Georgia's Speedy Trial Act vs. needing more time to prepare

Earlier in the interview, with regard to whether the 19 defendants should be tried together or separately, Cobb said, "I think it makes much more sense to try them together. I’ve tried cases [of] conspiracy, RICO, continuing criminal enterprise cases when I was a prosecutor with upwards of 28 defendants. And that’s very manageable. It requires careful attention from the judge, but it can be it can be done."

He went on to say Georgia's Speedy Trial Act, which is stricter than its federal counterpart and has been invoked by some of the defendants to get a trial as soon as October, presents a "complication" in that it "will force a division of defendants because, just like they have a right to a speedy trial, they also have a right to full discovery, time to digest the documents, and that’s what the Trump team is arguing, which is, we have -- we need time to prepare for this trial."

Judge expected to rule soon on Meadows' removal motion

According to the New York Daily News, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones is expected to issue a ruling soon on Meadows' motion to remove his case to federal court, where Meadows is in turn expected to then seek dismissal of the state charges against him under a claim of immunity as a federal employee.

Meadows, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, stands accused of alleged criminal involvement in a conspiracy to overturn the Georgia election by way of his role in establishing a slate of alternate electors in support of Trump as well as his participation in a January 2021 phone call in which he and Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to take action to investigate allegations of ballot fraud and "find" sufficient fraudulent votes to toss out in order for Trump to win the state.

One key aspect the judge will consider is whether Meadows' case should be removed if even just one of the several acts he was indicted over could be construed as falling under his federal duties as the White House chief of staff.

How the judge rules on the removal motion could impact the outcome of other defendants who are also seeking to remove their cases to federal court, per The Hill, including former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, former Georgia Republican Party chairman and alternate elector David Shafer, State Sen. Shawn Still, and former Coffee County Republican Party Chair Cathy Latham -- not to mention most likely former President Trump as well.

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