Trump Decides Against Transferring Georgia Election Case to Federal Court

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
September 28, 2023Trump Indictment
Trump Decides Against Transferring Georgia Election Case to Federal Court
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump tours Drake Enterprises, an automotive parts manufacturer, before speaking to guest at a small rally in Clinton Township, Mich., on Sept. 27, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, will not seek to move his Georgia election case to federal court, his lawyers said Thursday.

“President Trump now notifies the Court that he will NOT be seeking to remove his case to federal court,” his lawyers said in a court filing in Fulton Superior Court.

“This decision is based on his well-founded confidence that this Honorable Court intends to fully and completely protect his constitutional right to a fair trial and guarantee him due process of law throughout the prosecution of his case in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia.”

The former president had on Sept. 7 notified the court he may seek to move the case to federal court, and that his notice of removal would need to be filed in federal court by Sept. 29, his lawyers noted.

President Trump and 18 others were criminally charged with various felonies in August by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis—among them a racketeering conspiracy—stemming from their efforts to dispute the 2020 election results in Georgia. All pleaded not guilty.

The filing from his lawyers on Thursday comes three weeks after Mark Meadows, President Trump’s former chief of staff, failed to move his own case out of Fulton to federal court.

Mr. Meadows is appealing the Sept. 8 decision by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Jones stated in his ruling that Mr. Meadows “has not met even the ‘quite low’ threshold” needed to transfer the case to federal court, saying that Mr. Meadows’s alleged actions mentioned in the indictment weren’t taken as part of his duties as a federal official.

Federal law permits the transfer of criminal cases to federal court when the alleged actions pertain to official government duties.

If President Trump had moved his case to federal court, he could have sought to get the charges completely dropped on the grounds that federal officials are immune from prosecution over actions taken in their official capacities.

President Trump is still making arguments in the state court that he should be exempt from prosecution due to his federal position. His attorney filed a motion on Thursday saying in part that President Trump is immune from state prosecution for all the actions taken during his presidency, and that Georgia’s legal action contravenes the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause, which says federal law overrides state law.

Several other defendants are also seeking to move their cases to federal court. Judge Jones has yet to rule on those cases.

Mr. Meadows had testified as part of his bid to remove his case, although the others did not. President Trump would not have been required to testify at his own hearing, but removal might have been difficult to win if he didn’t take the stand. That would have given prosecutors a chance to question him under cross-examination, and anything he said could have been used in an eventual trial.

The Fulton County case marks the fourth criminal indictment against President Trump since March this year, when he became the first former president of the United States to be criminally indicted.

President Trump has pleaded not guilty to all four criminal indictments, and has repeatedly dismissed the charges, as well as other civil legal cases he’s facing, as efforts by his political adversaries to jeopardize his 2024 campaign for office.

He’s so far been unsuccessful in seeking to move a state case in New York to federal court, and has appealed the decision. The case concerns an indictment in March on 34 felony counts alleging that President Trump created false business records to hide alleged reimbursement of hush-money payments that were made by his then-attorney, Michael Cohen.

The payments relate to alleged non-disclosure agreements (NDA) signed before the 2016 presidential election by adult entertainment performer Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford; former Playboy model Karen McDougal; and Dino Sajudin, a former doorman at the Trump Tower.

Ms. Clifford was paid $130,000 to sign an NDA, facilitated by Mr. Cohen, over an alleged one-night affair she had with President Trump in 2006. President Trump has consistently denied the affair ever took place. He also previously said on TruthSocial that it was a “totally legal $130,000 NDA.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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