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A judge deals backlash to Trump in Georgia case he tried to change election results |  International

A judge deals backlash to Trump in Georgia case he tried to change election results | International

Mark Meadows, former chief of staff to the former US president, in an archive photo.Alexander Drago (REUTERS)

Judicial Backlash for Donald Trump. Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff to the former US president and a co-defendant in an attempted coup in the 2020 elections in Georgia, has rejected a request by a judge to transfer his case from those state courts to federal court. The decision sets an encouraging precedent for the president, who is expected to try in the federal arena as well.

Meadows is the first of five defendants who have asked the court to change the 19-man charge of a mafia-type organization to try to keep Trump in the White House, whether Trump wins or loses the 2020 presidential election. Democrat Joe Biden. The former senior official does not deny that he committed the alleged acts, but alleges that he did so in the exercise of his functions as a chief of staff of the federal government and, therefore, should be tried in a federal court, not a state court.

If successful, Meadows’ attorneys plan to argue that, as chief executive, their client is exempt from his duties, so the justices should dismiss the case. The former official’s legal team also calculated that even if it went to trial, he had a better chance of getting a jury more sympathetic to his arguments in the Federal Circuit.

In his decision, federal judge Steve Jones wrote that the former senior official did not meet the “minimum” criteria for transfer. The magistrate ruled that Meadows was acting in support of Trump’s election campaign and, therefore, outside of her duties as a White House official.

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“This Court has found that the duties of the White House Chief of Staff’s Office include working with or sending those responsible for the Trump campaign, other than coordinating the President’s schedule, traveling with him to campaign events, or sending communications,” Jones said. “Engagement in political activities is beyond the scope of the office of the Chief of Staff.”

The so-called Hatch Act prevents US federal officials from engaging in partisan politics while performing their duties. “Meadows has not demonstrated how his actions were consistent with his governmental duties. Therefore, reversal of the case is inappropriate,” the judge concluded.

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The court ruling represents a severe setback for the former top official. Two weeks ago, he took the unusual step of testifying at a hearing about a possible transfer in an effort to convince a judge. Now, everything he argued during the three-and-a-half-hour testimony could be used against him at trial.

The ruling marks a setback for Trump and four other defendants who sought to change the court: former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clarke and three former Republican officials in Georgia, David Shafer, Kathy Latham and Shawn Still. These last three make a slightly different argument: they are acting on the instructions of the president.

Meadows is charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud in violation of the state’s Organized Crime Act and one count of pressuring an officer to fail in his duty in office. Less than three weeks before the end of Trump’s term, the chief of staff indicated participation in a call on Jan. 2, 2021, in which the president asked Republican Brad Raffensberger, Georgia Secretary of State, if he would “find” 11,780 votes. , overtaking Biden for the required number of votes and was declared the winner of the state’s elections.

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Raffensberger, who testified at the hearing two weeks ago, insisted the federal government had no role in counting the votes and confirming the results. He said the phone call on January 2 was an “election campaign conversation”.

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