As several of his co-defendants in the racketeering case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis gear up for a (theoretically) speedy trial setting in October, former President Donald Trump has notified the court that he may be seeking to remove the case against him to federal court.
Like his former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, Trump likely would contend that any actions he’s alleged to have taken in the indictment were performed in the course of his federal employment/in his capacity as President and, therefore, do not fall within the state court’s jurisdiction.
Unlike Meadows, however (or former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark or former Georgia GOP Chair David Shafer, who’ve also sought to remove their cases to federal court), Trump has not yet formally filed a Notice of Removal in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia setting forth the basis on which a federal court should exercise jurisdiction over the matter.
Instead, Trump has filed with the state court an “Initial Notice Regarding Removal of His Prosecution to Federal Court,” in which he indicates that he may seek removal of his case to federal court. As noted in the pleading, Trump has 30 days from the date of his arraignment (waiver of which was filed on August 31) to file his formal Notice of Removal. So, presumably, if he intends to do so, he will file it before September 30.
So, why the notice that he may file a notice? It could be that his counsel is simply attempting to apprise Judge Scott McAfee (who’s presiding over the Fulton County case) that removal may be in the offing ahead of an anticipated scheduling order.
Trump’s filing Thursday comes after the state judge signaled he plans to issue a schedule for Trump’s case by next week. But the judge has cited the co-defendants’ efforts to move their charges as one reason that prosecutors’ proposed timeline to try all 19 in October is likely too ambitious.
And, just spitballing here, but it may be that the Trump team is waiting to see how the federal court judge overseeing Meadows’, Shafer’s, and Clark’s bids for removal (Judge Steven C. Jones) rules on their respective bids, as that may help shape the strategy for any attempted removal of the case against Trump.
We’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, RedState will continue to provide updates as they become available.
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