Mark Meadows loses bid to move Georgia case to federal court

 December 20, 2023

An appeals court shot down a request from Mark Meadows to move his Georgia criminal case to federal court, in a potential setback for Donald Trump and his efforts to claim federal immunity from prosecution. 

Meadows was charged in August - and his mugshot taken - alongside Trump and 17 other defendants in a "conspiracy" to undermine the 2020 election in Georgia.

Meadows loses appeal

Meadows argued that his alleged criminal actions fell under his official duties.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his immunity argument and his broader claim that former federal officers can remove their cases to federal court.

Circuit Chief Judge William Pryor, a George W. Bush appointee, reasoned that the purpose of the federal-officer removal statute is to protect the operations of the federal government from being disrupted by the states, and this does not apply to a former federal officer.

And "even if it did, the events giving rise to this criminal action were not related to Meadows’s official duties," he wrote.

Liberals celebrated the decision as bad news for Trump, who is facing separate state and federal criminal charges for "election interference."

Although Trump has dropped his efforts to move the Georgia case out of state court, the court's ruling on Meadows' immunity defense could affect Trump, who has similarly claimed that his actions surrounding the 2020 election were part of his lawful duties.

"Rogue" prosecution

Of course, if a federal officer loses his right to raise an immunity defense in federal court as soon as he leaves office, this leaves him exposed to vindictive state prosecution.

Amazingly, the court's own liberals acknowledged this concern and called it a potential threat to "our republic's stability."

In a brief concurring opinion, Circuit Judge Robin Rosenbaum, an Obama appointee, described a scenario that will strike many as all too familiar.

"Imagine that the day the President of the United States leaves office, sixteen states where his policies were unpopular indict him and all his Cabinet members," she wrote.

Gee. Just imagine that. 

Allowing "a rogue state's weaponization of the prosecution power to go unchecked and fester" could have a chilling effect on federal officers currently serving, she warned. So much for Pryor's argument about the operation of the government.

But she cautioned that her concerns about weaponized prosecution were purely hypothetical and do not apply to Meadows.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.