A recent decision by the 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, which pertains to a man from Georgia asserting his right to the Moroccan throne, may have negative implications for Mark Meadows’ efforts to relocate the charges of election meddling against him in Georgia..
In October, the situation involving an aspiring heir sparked a debate about whether a law that applies to government employees also applies to former government employees. Specifically, in the case of Meadows, the question arose as to whether he could use the Federal Officer Removal Statute even though he is no longer employed by the federal government. This statute, which has been in effect for 234 years, permits government officials facing state charges to move their case to federal court if the charges are related to their official responsibilities.
On Friday, a panel of three judges from a federal appeals court listened to arguments regarding the jurisdiction of the case involving Meadows. Meadows, who served as White House chief of staff during former President Donald Trump’s term, was indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, along with Trump and 17 others, for allegedly conspiring to overturn Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election. Four of the accused individuals have already agreed to collaborate, including two lawyers who were involved in the effort.and
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The individuals who pled guilty have been accused of wrongdoing, but Trump, Meadows, and others have maintained their innocence.
The request to transfer the case to federal court was rejected, as the evidence showed that the actions in question were carried out on behalf of the Trump campaign in an effort to influence state election processes. The judge ruled in favor of the prosecutors.
Donald Wakeford, a member of the Fulton County District Attorney’s office under Fani Willis, contended during the appeals process that Meadows should not be allowed to transfer his case to a federal court since he is no longer employed as a federal officer.
Judge William H. Pryor stated that it is possible for Congress to reasonably assume a stronger justification for removing a current officer due to the ongoing operations of the federal government.
According to the speaker, this increased worry may not be present if a previous officer is involved, as it does not pertain to the current workings of the government.
However, the judges also raised apprehension regarding the potential consequences of keeping the case in state court, known as a “chilling effect.”
Judge Rosenbaum stated that this could potentially discourage individuals from running for office or taking certain actions while in office due to concerns about being indicted and not being able to have a trial in a federal court.
The majority of the three judges on the panel ruled in October to overturn the conviction of Timothy Pate, who claimed to be the heir to the kingdom of Morocco. Pate had placed liens worth millions of dollars on the properties of former and current IRS officials, whom he believed had mistreated him. He was found guilty of filing fraudulent liens against federal employees, but he contested the conviction by arguing that two of the IRS officials were no longer working for the government at the time he placed the liens. The 11th Circuit ultimately dismissed Pate’s convictions.
Only 72 hours after making its decision, the court instructed Meadows and the Fulton County District Attorney’s office to submit additional written arguments regarding the applicability of the Pate case to a “former” federal officer’s ability to move a criminal case from state to federal court. Essentially, the Pate precedent raises doubts about one of the requirements for removal, which hinges on whether Meadows can still be classified as a federal official under the relevant statute.
Wakeford stressed that the statute for removal is intended to safeguard federal power. However, in this instance, there is no federal power to safeguard.
There has been no decision made on the appeal. Four additional individuals involved in the Fulton County racketeering case are trying to transfer their cases to federal courts and have appeals pending in the 11th Circuit.