Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows suffered a major setback Wednesday in his attempt to be protected from conviction in Georgia as he fights to move the state prosecution to federal court.
In a 10-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones rejected Meadows’s motion for a stay as his battle to move his charges out of state court continues. Meadows still has pending motions with two other courts seeking a similar pause.
Meadows faces two counts in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s (D) sprawling racketeering indictment, which charged former President Trump and 18 other individuals for their efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. Meadows and the other co-defendants all pleaded not guilty.
Meadows has argued that the allegations against him were within the scope of his duties as White House chief of staff, so the charges must be moved to federal court so he can attempt to assert immunity.
Jones previously rejected those arguments in denying Meadows’s request to move his charges. Meadows is now appealing that decision to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and he has asked the 11th Circuit to also pause his prosecution until the appeal is resolved.
“There is nothing in the summary of arguments he plans to raise in his challenge to the denial of removal to convince this Court that its decision was incorrect,” Jones wrote Wednesday as he rejected Meadows’s pause request. “Thus, Meadows has shown no likelihood or prevailing on the merits of his appeal.”
As of now, prosecutors are able to proceed in state court to bring Meadows to trial and attempt to convict him. They had opposed the request for a pause.
Though his trial date has not yet been set, Meadows has raised concerns that he could be convicted before his battle to move the charges is resolved.
“Meadows’s contentions that he would be irreparably harmed by the possibility of facing trial next month are insufficient to carry his burden on the emergency stay requested,” Jones ruled. “No trial date has been set for Meadows, and he admits that it is not guaranteed his trial will be in October.”
Later on Wednesday, Willis filed documents opposing Meadows’s request to the 11th Circuit for a pause.
That request is different, however, from the one Jones denied earlier Wednesday. While Meadows asked Jones to merely put the possibility of conviction on hold, Meadows has asked the 11th Circuit to consider blocking all state court proceedings entirely until the legal battle is resolved.
“Section 1455 provides exclusively for state court proceedings to continue while the defendant’s notice of removal is being considered. To enjoin the State of Georgia, a federal court would have to explicitly ignore the language of the controlling statute,” prosecutors wrote.