Trump may seek to have his case moved to federal court

 September 1, 2023

Former President Donald Trump appeared in Atlanta's Fulton County Superior Court on Thursday where he pleaded not guilty to 13 felony charges and waived his right to appear at next week's arraignment.

However, The Guardian reported that Trump's legal team is considering whether to try and flip the case into federal court. 

Trump would benefit from change in venue

The most serious charges faced by Trump and his co-defendants carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and come from Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) Act.

It contends that the former president worked with others as part of a criminal enterprise which involved convincing state lawmakers to appoint an alternate slate of electors who would then vote for Trump.

Yet while Trump is being charged under state law, he may be able to move his case to United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia if it can be shown that his alleged conduct involved his official duties as president.

The Guardian noted that such a move would carry two benefits, with one being a jury pool that draws from more conservative areas than the heavily Democratic Fulton County.

Mark Meadows seeking to have his case moved

What's more, a federal judge could be less sympathetic to District Attorney Fani Willis than one of the local judges she typically deals with.

Last month saw Trump co-defendant and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows filed a motion seeking to have his case moved to federal court.

"Mr. Meadows is entitled to remove this action to federal court because the charges against him plausibly give rise to a federal defense based on his role at all relevant times as the White House Chief of Staff to the President of the United States," Meadows' lawyers wrote according to Fox News.

Moving to federal court is not the only strategy that Trump's lawyers are pursuing, as The Guardian noted that on Thursday they filed a motion to sever his case from two of the other 18 co-defendants.

Dispute over trial schedule

At issue is a conflict over timing, with the two individuals in question seeking to have as speedy of a trial as possible, something which may pose problems for Trump.

That's because in addition to running for president, Trump also has an interest in ensuring the Georgia trial does not conflict with his three other criminal cases.

Attorney was quoted as telling WABE reporter Sam Gringlas, "We’re in a huge state of flux right now. The case involving these 19 defendants seems to be going in a lot of different directions all at the same time."

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