Lawyers for Mark Meadows argued before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday morning that it should overturn a judge’s ruling that said he cannot move his Georgia racketeering case to federal court.
Attorneys for Meadows repeated their arguments that the alleged acts he was charged with fall within the scope, or “under the color,” of his duties as Trump’s White House chief of staff, and therefore he has a right to move his case from state court to federal court. In the latter venue, a potentially more favorable jury pool could be drawn upon.
“For purposes of removal, he doesn’t have to establish the outer limits of his office, he merely has to establish the nexus to his duties,” Meadows’ lawyer George Terwilliger told the three-judge panel.
“Mr. Meadows’ colorable federal defense here, at least at the most basic level, is a federal immunity defense,” Terwilliger added.
Their appearance before the appeals court on Friday came after federal Judge Steve Jones didn’t accept Meadows’ arguments, causing him to appeal that ruling. The three-judge panel Friday included judges nominated by President Joe Biden and former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
If he’s successful, Meadows could then attempt to claim immunity from prosecution under the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which he and his legal team have said should prohibit “state interference in a federal official’s duties.”
A ruling in Meadows’ favor could also prompt some of the other defendants to try to mount similar arguments.
Meadows filed court documents earlier this year to move his case from Fulton County, Georgia, to federal court after he was one of 19 people, including Trump, charged in a 41-count indictment related to their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Attorneys for Meadows argued that the conduct described in the indictment occurred “during his tenure and as part of his service as Chief of Staff.” They cited a federal law that allows federal officers or agencies to remove civil actions or criminal prosecutions in state court for alleged actions taken “under color” of their offices to U.S. district court.
Meanwhile, several of his co-defendants in the Fulton County racketeering case have pleaded guilty and cooperated with prosecutors.