Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, overseeing the RICO case involving former President Donald Trump in Georgia, granted several motions, including a delay for pretrial motions for key defendants like Mark Meadows.
The Washington Examiner reported the extension from Jan. 8 to Feb. 5, applicable to Meadows, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, and former Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer.
Meadows, facing a Friday appearance before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, aims to transfer his case to federal court, challenging a September ruling by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones.
Jones concluded that Meadows exceeded his role by directly engaging with Trump’s campaign in efforts to challenge his loss to President Joe Biden in Georgia, as reported by the Conservative Brief on Wednesday, December 13, 2023
Similarly, Clark and Shafer’s attempts to move their cases to federal court were denied by Jones, who asserted that their actions fell outside the scope of their federal offices.
The motivation for seeking a federal venue may stem from a desire for a more impartial jury pool and avoidance of televised proceedings, common in Fulton County courts
Depending on Meadows’ appeal outcome, the losing party might seek a review by the full 11th Circuit or potentially escalate to the U.S. Supreme Court. Notably, Trump, initially expected to pursue a federal court transfer, opted to remain in McAfee’s court.
Of the 19 defendants charged by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, four have accepted plea deals. The remaining cases are scheduled for trial in August 2024, with the judge hinting at a possible division into two groups.
In a separate development, Georgia’s state Supreme Court declined to approve rules for a new commission aimed at disciplining and removing state prosecutors, including Willis. Critics accuse Willis of political motivations in prosecuting Trump
The justices expressed reservations about regulating district attorneys’ duties beyond the legal realm, leading to a decision to neither approve nor disapprove.
Some Georgia Republicans, dissatisfied with Willis’s actions, want the commission to proceed despite the court’s stance. Houston Gaines, a Republican state representative, believes the legislature could bypass court approval, allowing the commission to hold prosecutors accountable for alleged misconduct
“This commission has been years in the making, and now it has its appointees, rules, and regulations ready to go,” said Gaines, indicating that resolution of the court issue could enable the commission to start its operations as early as January.
The Georgia state Supreme Court’s reluctance to approve the rules for the commission adds uncertainty to the fate of prosecutors like Fani Willis. Houston Gaines, a key proponent of the commission, anticipates the legislature bypassing court approval, asserting that this delay impedes holding rogue prosecutors accountable.
As legal battles unfold, the intricate web surrounding Trump’s RICO case raises questions about the balance between judicial power and executive action, further fueling debates over the intersection of law and politics in the Peach State.