Former Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., speaks during a forum on House and GOP Conference rules for the 118th Congress, at the FreedomWorks office in Washington, D.C., on Monday, November 14, 2022.
Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
A judge on Wednesday denied former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ bid to quickly move the Georgia election interference case to federal court in order to avoid arrest.
The order from Judge Steve Jones in U.S. District Court in Atlanta came shortly after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis urged the judge to reject Meadows’ request.
Meadows, who served under former President Donald Trump, had a previously scheduled hearing for Monday morning on his request to move the case out of state court. But Meadows’s attorney filed an “emergency motion” asking the judge to bypass that hearing and assume jurisdiction over Willis’ case ahead of a Friday deadline for his surrender at a Fulton County jail.
The motion also proposed a second option: that the federal court could simply issue an order barring Willis from arresting Meadows prior to next week’s hearing.
The judge denied both proposals.
Meadows’ arguments and cases cited in his bid to skip next week’s hearing were “not persuasive,” Jones wrote in a six-page order. Jones also ruled that “there are strong countervailing reasons” not to block the district attorney from enforcing the arrest warrant against Meadows.
In a court filing earlier Wednesday, Willis called Meadows’ requests “baseless” and “meritless.”
The former White House chief of staff’s effort is essentially “a plea to this Court to prevent the defendant from being arrested on the charges lawfully brought by the State of Georgia,” Willis wrote.
“Such a request is improper,” the DA said.
Meadows is one of 19 co-defendants, including former President Donald Trump, ordered to surrender by noon on Friday on charges stemming from Willis’ probe of efforts to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 election win in Georgia.
Numerous defendants, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and pro-Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and John Eastman, have already been booked and released.
Trump himself has said he will surrender on Thursday.
Willis had previously refused to give Meadows an extension on his arrest deadline.
“I am not granting any extensions. I gave 2 weeks for people to surrender themselves to the court,” Willis wrote in an email Tuesday morning. “Your client is no different than any other criminal defendant in this jurisdiction.”
Meadows is charged in the indictment with one count of racketeering and one count of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer. The latter count is related to Meadows’ participation in a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call in which Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to undo Biden’s win in the state.
In her court filing Wednesday, Willis noted that Meadows “does not allege that his prosecution is taken in bad faith, that there is no hope of obtaining a valid conviction, or that it is being taken to harass the defendant.”
“The defendant is simply requesting that this Court prevent him from being lawfully arrested as any criminal defendant would be after indictment on felony charges by a grand jury,” Willis wrote.
She said that his claim for different treatment due to his status as a former federal officer “is baseless.”
Meadows “has failed to demonstrate he has suffered irreparable harm warranting federal intervention in his case and has cited no authority authorizing this Court to prevent his lawful arrest,” she wrote.
Earlier Wednesday, Kenneth Chesebro, another co-defendant in the Georgia case, filed a motion in Fulton County Superior Court demanding a speedy trial.