WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is asking a federal court to dismiss Georgia state criminal charges against him stemming from former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 U.S. presidential election, according to a court document.
Meadows claims that his alleged actions, including participating with Trump in a phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, should be immune from state prosecution because they were performed in his capacity as a federal official.
A 37-page document filed on Saturday with a U.S. district court in Georgia asserts that Meadows’ actions are protected by the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution under which federal officials are immune from state prosecution for acts committed within the reasonable scope of their duties.
“The conduct charged here falls squarely within the scope of Mr. Meadows’s duties as chief of staff and the federal policy underlying that role,” Meadows’ attorneys said in the filing.
The document also claimed protection for Meadows under the First and 14th amendments to the Constitution.
The filing came days after Meadows, a former North Carolina congressman, sought to have the case brought against him moved from Georgia’s Fulton County to federal court.
Meadows and Trump were among 19 defendants named last week in a sweeping 41-count Georgia grand jury indictment claiming they “knowingly and willfully” took part in a conspiracy to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss to Democratic President Joe Biden in the state.
The indictment alleges that Meadows helped fuel the conspiracy by making false statements about the election and conspired with Trump to develop a plan to disrupt and delay the congressional certification of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021.
It also alleges that he tried to pressure a chief investigator in the Georgia secretary of state’s office to speed up the Fulton County signature verification and that he took part in a phone call in which Trump pushed Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse his narrow loss in the state. Raffensperger declined to do so.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Mary Milliken and Mark Porter)