Meadows seeks stay of decision rejecting bid to move case to federal court

Attorneys for former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows sought to stay a decision issued Friday rejecting his bid to move his Georgia election interference case to federal court. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI

Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Attorneys for former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Monday sought to pause an order turning down his request to have his Georgia election interference case moved to federal court.

In a 10-page "emergency motion" filing, attorneys for Meadows asked U.S. District Judge Steve Jones in Atlanta to put a hold on his order issued Friday rejecting Meadows' attempt to move the proceedings out of state court in Atlanta.

They asked Jones for a stay as Meadows appeals the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, arguing that former president Donald Trump's chief of staff has a "substantial case on the merits" to win the appeal.

Other stay factors, including "irreparable harm, balance of equities and public interest," also "favor a stay," they claimed.

Meadows is charged with soliciting an official to violate their oath of office and is also accused of violating the federal Hatch Act, which prohibits officials from using their government status to influence an election.

He is one of 19 defendants in a racketeering case brought by Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney Fani Willis against Trump and his allies for alleged illegal efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results.

Four other of the defendants already filed similar motions to move their cases to federal court, with Trump himself also expected to do so.

In the Friday ruling, Jones shot down Meadows' claims that his alleged involvement in the former president's activities were carried out as part of his official duties as a federal government official, which if found to be true, would be grounds to move his case out of deeply Democratic Atlanta and into federal court, where Meadows' attorneys believe they could find a more sympathetic jury.

"The court finds that the color of the Office of the White House Chief of Staff did not include working with or working for the Trump campaign, except for simply coordinating the president's schedule, traveling with the president to his campaign events, and redirecting communications to the campaign," Jones wrote in his decision denying the request.

Meadows' attorneys, however, countered in their emergency plea for a stay that the late October trial date sought by Willis could arrive before their appeal to the 11th Circuit can even be heard.

"Absent a stay, the State will continue seeking to try Meadows 42 days from now," they argued. "If the State gets its way, Meadows could be forced to go to trial -- and could be convicted and incarcerated -- before the standard timeline for a federal appeal would play out."