Legal experts say Meadows will succeed in transferring Georgia case to federal court
'Removal is important because when you have a federal official that is being charged by a state in violation of state law, that's something that you want to have removed to the federal courts so the federal judge can decide,' Parlatore says
Timothy Parlatore, a former attorney for former President Donald Trump and criminal defense expert, predicted that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows will succeed in removing the Fulton County, Ga. election case to federal court.
Meadows' attorneys formally filed court documents on Tuesday seeking to transfer the case. Meadows and 18 other individuals, including Trump, were indicted in Georgia on charges related to attempting to challenge and overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the state.
“Mr. Meadows has the right to remove this matter. The conduct giving rise to the charges in the indictment all occurred during his tenure and as part of his service as Chief of Staff," his lawyers wrote.
Although Trump's New York case was not upgraded to federal court, Parlatore said that the decision from federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein of New York's Southern District "perfectly laid the groundwork" for moving the Georgia case.
What distinguishes the Georgia from the New York case is the nature of the alleged criminal acts. The New York case involved payments made by then-Trump attorney Michael Cohen to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Judge Hellerstein said that "Hush money paid to an adult film star is not related to a President’s official acts. It does not reflect in any way the color of the President’s official duties."
"I think that it's going to be almost impossible to avoid removal. Removal is important because when you have a federal official that is being charged by a state in violation of state law, that's something that you want to have removed to the federal courts so the federal judge can decide, you know, do the federal authorities have some type of ability to do this?" Parlatore said on the "Just the News, No Noise" TV program Tuesday evening.
"It's going to significantly expand the jury pool so you're not just going to have Fulton County jurors, but more importantly, when they go on to the next round, where they're going to be fighting about the sufficiency of this indictment, I've read it, and the RICO count is completely legally incompetent, in my opinion," Parlatore added.
According to Parlatore's assessment, the RICO charge should be before a federal judge.
"I think it's important to get that in front of a federal judge so they can apply the standards set by the Supreme Court on these types of RICO cases, even though it's a state statute, as opposed to the federal statute," he said.
"One of the things that really jumped out at me is something they call continuity, where the enterprise has to have some continuous purpose as opposed to just being an isolated incident. And here it is an isolated incident because it all centers around the election and so it's the type of thing that in federal court, RICO gets dismissed," he added.
Parlatore, whose clients have included former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, criticized the Fulton County indictment and the case being leaking online early as "emblematic of the larger sloppiness" of the entire case. He also noted that the indictment contains spelling errors.
"It's clearly something that was rushed. They didn't do it carefully," he said. "As much as they are not careful with the simple administrative aspects of it, to a lawyer like me that's tried RICO cases before, it is really emblematic of, you know, they were careless with the law. They were careless with the entire structure of this thing."
Buddy Parker, a partner with law firm Maloy Jenkins Parker and who is considered an expert on RICO cases, also said the case is likely to be moved to federal court.
“As an officer of the United States being charged with a violation of the law of the state of Georgia, under concepts of federalism, a officer of the United States can, on motion, require the case to be transferred to the United States District Court,” Parker told Straight Arrow News.