Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows has asked a federal court to order all charges against him brought by Fulton County, Georgia, prosecutors last week to be dismissed, since he says the charges relate to his then-role in the federal government.
In a weekend filing, Meadows argues he should have immunity from the state’s 2020 election interference criminal case because he was carrying out his duties as a federal official working for then-President Donald Trump. The filing argues that his actions arose only because he was serving Trump as a close White House adviser.
It and earlier filings showcase how aggressively Meadows appears to be fighting for his own protections, highlighting his separation from Trump. CNN previously reported Meadows’ lawyers cut off coordination with Trump’s attorneys months ago, and sources say they are maintaining the split.
Meadows’ attorneys point out in the Saturday filing that he is not accused of violating any federal law in the special counsel’s federal indictment against Trump – nor is he alluded to as a co-conspirator.
In the Trump White House, “Mr. Meadows served a critically important advice-and-assist function that has been firmly entrenched in federal law for nearly 100 years,” his attorneys wrote to a judge Saturday about the Georgia charges. “The conduct charged here falls squarely within the scope of Mr. Meadows’s duties as Chief of Staff and the federal policy underlying that role.”
Georgia prosecutors accuse Meadows of connecting with officials in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, as well as with others in the White House, on Trump’s behalf to discuss the election and Electoral College certification of the presidency. That included arranging phone calls between Trump and Georgia officials after the election. Meadows has not yet appeared before a court to enter a plea.
“Stripped of the State’s gloss, the underlying facts entail duties with the core functions of a Chief of Staff to the President of the United States: arranging or attending Oval Office meetings, contacting state officials on the President’s behalf, visiting a state government building, and setting up a phone call for the President with a state official,” his lawyers said in the filing. “Only by virtue of his Chief of Staff role was Mr. Meadows involved in the conduct charged. Put another way, his federal position was a but-for cause of his alleged involvement.”
In a filing earlier last week, Meadows requested a hearing to move his case from state to federal court, with no delay, even if “another defendant” seeks to do the same later. On Wednesday, a federal judge scheduled an August 28 hearing for Meadows and others to present evidence about whether to move the case.
Trump is widely expected to attempt the same maneuver in court. And his team has sought to push back proceedings in his multiple criminal cases in an effort to delay future trials.
Meadows, however, wants his proceedings to move as quickly as possible, according to his court filings.