Georgia prosecutors leading the criminal election interference case against former President Donald J. Trump and 18 of his allies notched a victory on Friday when a judge rejected an effort by Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s former White House chief of staff, to move his case from state court to federal court.
Mr. Meadows would have faced the same state felony charges had his case been heard by a federal judge and jury, including a racketeering charge for his role in what prosecutors have described as a “criminal organization” that sought to overturn Mr. Trump’s 2020 election loss in the state. But removal to federal court would have given him one key advantage: a jury pool that was more favorable to Mr. Trump.
The setback for Mr. Meadows is the first of many rulings that are expected for the Georgia defendants who are seeking to have their cases removed. Mr. Trump has not filed for a removal to federal court, but he is widely expected to do so.
However, the ruling, by Judge Steve C. Jones of the Northern District of Georgia, does not bode well for those efforts.
“There is no federal jurisdiction over the criminal case,” Judge Jones, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, wrote in his ruling. “The outcome of this case will be for a Fulton County judge and trier of fact to ultimately decide.”
The ruling, which is likely to be appealed, came after Mr. Meadows took the witness stand to make the case for removal in a hearing on Aug. 28 in Judge Jones’s courtroom in downtown Atlanta.