Former President Donald Trump and his attorneys were, until yesterday, still considering an option to try to get Trump’s Georgia trial on racketeering charges removed from Fulton County to federal court. But now — after watching his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have his similar attempt at removal rejected — Trump has informed the court that he won’t be asking for removal. Trump’s lawyers now say the defendant is confident in the due process he will be given by the “Honorable Court” in the Peach State.
Trump’s discontinuation of the removal strategy, even though it was widely believed he would fare better in federal court (while also making a conviction potentially pardonable by a future GOP president), was an unexpected about-face by his legal team that surprised many observers. Since it is unlikely that federal court had become a less attractive option for the former president, the decision seems to have been based on a prediction that the removal attempt would fail.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti says the biggest obstacle in the removal strategy was that “trying to remove the Fulton County criminal case to federal court would require Trump to explain why his attempt to overturn the election was part of his official duties as president.”
Trying to remove the Fulton County criminal case to federal court would require Trump to explain why his attempt to overturn the election was part of his official duties as president.— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) September 28, 2023
That would not end well for Trump. https://t.co/0cKuJvwYTu
That explanation, Mariotti concludes, “would not end well for Trump.”
But Trump’s decision — as articulated in the notification filed by his lawyer Steven H. Sadow — doesn’t concede that the removal strategy was likely to fail and cause Trump problems. Instead, Sadow says Trump’s decision not to seek removal was based on “his well-founded confidence that this Honorable Court intends to fully and completely protect his constitutional right to a fair trial and guarantee him due process of law throughout the prosecution of his case in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia.”
Note: Sadow continues to refer to his client in official communications as “President Trump” — a honorarium the prosecution does not use.
JUST IN: Trump decides NOT to try to move his Georgia criminal charges into federal court.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) September 28, 2023
His lawyer expresses confidence that the judge "intends to fully and completely protect his constitutional right to a fair trial."https://t.co/k3s5R5jkZi pic.twitter.com/028HrvTlgC