Donald Trump will not seek to move his Georgia election case to federal court

By Jack Queen

(Reuters) -Donald Trump will not seek to move a criminal case alleging he conspired to reverse his 2020 presidential election loss in Georgia from state to federal court, his lawyers said on Thursday, a development that could simplify the former U.S. president’s path to trial.

Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and 18 others are charged with pressuring Georgia election officials to overturn his 2020 loss in the state to current President Joe Biden, a Democrat.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and said the case is part of a political witch hunt. He and his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Thursday’s filing is significant because Trump was expected to join several co-defendants in seeking to move his case from state to federal court, where he might face a friendlier jury than in Fulton County, Georgia, the Democratic stronghold where the case was filed.

Seeking to move the case could have also mired it in hearings and appeals. Prosecutors are pushing to try all 19 defendants together as soon as Oct. 23, though a judge has said he is skeptical that timeline is feasible.

Trump had initially indicated he would follow the lead of his onetime chief of staff Mark Meadows, who quickly sought to move his case to federal court but was rebuffed this month when a judge ruled against him. Meadows is appealing that ruling.

Trump, Meadows and 17 others were charged in a sprawling indictment in August. Trump has said the criminal case and three others he faces are part of a political plot aimed at preventing him from retaking the White House in next year’s election.

Trump faces criminal charges in four cases. He is also under indictment in Florida for his handling of classified documents after leaving office, in Washington for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and in New York over hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election. Trump has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty in those cases as well.

Trump also faces a civil lawsuit by New York’s attorney general alleging he and his family business overstated the value of their assets by billions of dollars to secure better loan and insurance terms.

A trial in that case is set to begin on Monday. On Tuesday, a judge ruled that Trump had committed fraud and moved to strip him of control of several marquee properties in his business portfolio.

The trial will largely concern how much Trump, his businesses and two adult sons must pay in penalties. The case involves no criminal charges.

(Reporting by Jack Queen and Kanishka Singh; Editing by Eric Beech and David Gregorio)