Appeals court to hear arguments on Mark Meadows' effort to pause lower court's ruling in Georgia election case

Meadows is seeking to have his Georgia election case removed to federal court.

September 13, 2023, 8:18 PM

An appeals court on Wednesday scheduled oral arguments for later this week on an emergency motion filed by former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, which seeks to pause a lower court's ruling that denied his effort to move his Georgia election interference case to federal court, pending appeal.

The court directed oral arguments to occur on Friday morning over Zoom, according to the order late Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the court also granted Meadows' separate request for an expedited appeal, and set an initial briefing schedule on the matter.

In its ruling Wednesday, the appeals court ordered Meadows to file an initial brief on the matter by Sept. 18, with a response from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis due by Sept. 25.

After those briefings, the court said it would schedule oral arguments on the matter if it determines it is "warranted."

Meadows filed a notice of appeal and then, separately, a request for an emergency stay with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals after Judge Steve Jones last week rejected Meadows' bid to have his case moved, based on a federal law that calls for the removal of criminal proceedings brought in state court to the federal court system when someone is charged for actions they allegedly took as a federal official acting "under color" of their office.

The ruling from the appeals court came a day after Jones denied a separate request for a stay from Meadows, saying that Meadows had "failed to show a stay should be granted."

PHOTO: In this Oct. 21, 2020 file photo White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington.
In this Oct. 21, 2020 file photo White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters following a television interview, outside the White House in Washington.
Alexander Drago/Reuters, FILE

As part of the order, Jones took note of Meadows' argument that he would be irreparably harmed by the possibility of a trial next month, but the judge said that "no trial date has been set for Meadows, and he admits that it is not guaranteed his trial will be in October."

The development comes as Willis continues to push for all 19 defendants in the case to be tried together.

"Breaking this case up into multiple lengthy trials would create an enormous strain on the judicial resources of the Fulton County Superior Court," the DA's office wrote in a court filing Tuesday.

Judge Scott McAfee last week set an Oct. 23 trial date for defendants Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell after they both filed speedy trial demands. Several additional defendants -- including former President Donald Trump -- have filed motions to sever their cases.

Willis, in Tuesday's filing, laid out a potential "logistical quagmire" if severance is granted: that once granted severance, the defendants then turn around and request their own speedy trials after the Oct. 23 trial has started, thus "forcing the Fulton County Court System to simultaneously accommodate three or more trials, on the same facts, before three or more sets of judges."

As a result, the DA asked the judge to require the other defendants to waive their right to a speedy trial and "go on the record" with their requested trial date, in order to "prevent the logistical quagmire" the filing described.

Meadows and 18 others, including former President Donald Trump, have pleaded not guilty to all charges in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia.

Meadows is accused in the indictment of participating in eight "overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy," while his attorney has said that "nothing Mr. Meadows is alleged in the indictment to have done is criminal."

Editor's Note: This story has been updated.

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