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Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Meadows asked a federal judge to block prosecutors from arresting him this week in Fulton County on charges listed in ex-President Donald Trump’s sweeping Georgia racketeering indictment.
“Absent this Court’s intervention, Mr. Meadows will be denied the protection from arrest that federal law affords former federal officials,” Meadows’ attorneys wrote to U.S. District Court Judge Steven Jones.
Meadows is one of 18 co-defendants named in Trump’s fourth indictment following a criminal investigation into the former president’s alleged efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis pursued charging individuals under Georgia’s RICO Act, which allows prosecutors to connect various crimes committed by multiple defendants and argue that they were working together toward a criminal goal — and were therefore part of a “criminal enterprise.”
“Unfortunately, the state is set on subjecting Mr. Meadows to criminal process in Georgia as quickly as it can and without regard to his pending efforts to remove the case to federal court,” Meadows’s lawyer said in the filing. “In addition to threatening arrest on Friday — in advance of this court’s Monday hearing — the state has also sought a scheduling order that would proceed exceptionally fast for a 19-defendant, 41-count prosecution.”
In the indictment brought against Trump and his allies, Meadows faces charges under the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute and for soliciting an official to violate their oath of office.
The indictment alleges that Meadows, Trump, and others “unlawfully solicited, requested, and importuned” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on January 2, 2021, citing a phone call where the former president reportedly tried to pressure the state official to find 11,780 votes.
Meadows denied any wrongdoing in assisting Trump’s efforts to challenge the election results.
Meadows asked Willis for “a modest extension of that [Friday at Noon] deadline,” adding he had hoped to “be prepared to meet and confer … immediately following the federal court hearing—which is scheduled for less than one business day after the current deadline” to “discuss the best path forward based on the outcome of the hearing, including a prompt voluntary surrender in Fulton County, if appropriate.”
But Willis denied the request on Tuesday morning and “made clear that she would arrest Mr. Meadows before this Court’s hearing if he does not agree to bond terms and voluntarily surrender.”
“I am not granting any extensions. I gave 2 weeks for people to surrender themselves to the court. Your client is no different than any other criminal defendant in this jurisdiction,” Willis said in the letter, according to court filings.
Willis ordered Trump and the co-defendants to surrender at the Fulton County Jail for processing by noon on August 25 and has proposed arraignments for the defendants in the first week of September, with a trial scheduled in March 2024.
Trump, who has broadly denied any wrongdoing and has claimed politically motivated forces are targeting him in a “witch hunt” propagated by the Biden administration and Democrat prosecutors in New York and Georgia, has said he’ll appear in Atlanta on August 24 for booking.
Meadows has explored different legal avenues to avoid surrendering before an Aug. 28 hearing in federal court, including a Supremacy Clause request, which protects federal officials from being arrested and brought to trial in a state court.