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Trump’s Chief Of State Mark Meadows Takes Stand In Bid To Derail Georgia Criminal Charges

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Mark Meadows, a former member of the Trump White House staff, testified in federal court on Monday in an effort to have the criminal case against him for allegedly meddling with the outcome of the 2020 election dismissed.

Meadows testified for more than three hours, saying he had a very broad understanding of his duties as chief of staff and that it covered nearly all of the conduct that the prosecution claims amounted to corrupt pressure on Georgia authorities.

The case may be transferred to federal court and Meadows may be exempt from the accusations that state prosecutors brought against him if a federal judge finds that his acts reasonably came within the scope of his federal duties.

“It was a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week kind of job,” Meadows said during questioning by his lead attorney, George Terwilliger III. “It was a very broad responsibility. … I found myself on defense a lot with things coming at me from a million different directions.”

It is anticipated that other defendants in the lawsuit, including Donald Trump, would make similar claims regarding their immunity.

The decision by Meadows’ defense team to appear was risky since it exposed him to the prosecution’s cross-examination and forced him to give a limited account of what happened, which would be difficult for him to change if the case went to trial.

It did, however, give Meadows the opportunity to personally attempt to convince U.S. District Court Judge Steve C. Jones that the accusations made by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis during a protracted grand jury inquiry infringe on essential federal duties. Willis accused Trump, Meadows, and 17 other defendants of engaging in a vast “criminal enterprise” earlier this month with the intention of reversing the results of the elections in Georgia and other states.

In his testimony on Monday morning, Meadows argued that every incident for which he had a memory was related to his job as chief of staff and that doing otherwise would result in the allegations against him being transferred to federal court. Jones, though, persisted in asking Meadows specifically what he believed to be a portion of the president’s listed constitutional powers.

During a sometimes tense cross-examination, prosecutor Anna Cross pressed Meadows to describe any circumstance that, in his opinion, fell outside the purview of his official responsibilities. The former chief of staff only had one to offer: appearing at a campaign rally.

Meadows took the stand shortly after 10 a.m., dressed in a blue suit and striped blue tie, and spoke generally about his belief that the federal government had a legitimate interest in promoting “accurate and fair elections,” referring frequently to the involvement of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice in promoting that goal.

Trump’s attorneys were also present in court on Monday morning in Washington, D.C., where a judge scheduled a March 4 trial date for the Georgia case. On March 4, Trump is accused of attempting to rig the 2020 presidential election.

In the Georgia case, Meadows is accused of racketeering and of encouraging Raffensperger to break his oath of office.

The indictment also makes mention of a number of actions Meadows allegedly took to “furtherance” the alleged conspiracy, including setting up phone calls between Trump and state legislative leaders and providing campaign money to hasten Georgia’s recount procedure.

The outcome of Jones’ case will have a big impact on Willis’ overall prosecution of Trump and the other defendants. According to Georgia law, two of them—attorneys Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell—have requested quick trials, setting up proceedings for October.

Meadows is one of five defendants who have filed motions to transfer their cases to federal court. They include three GOP volunteers from Georgia who pretended to be valid presidential electors in order to support Trump’s reelection campaign. A similar evidentiary hearing is scheduled for Jeffrey Clark, a former employee of the Justice Department, on September 18.

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