A federal judge Wednesday rejected requests by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark’s to block their arrest in the Fulton County, Ga., election case.
Both Meadows and Clark sought to block their arrest ahead of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s (D) Friday deadline for defendants in the case to surrender.
They had argued their arrest and the state proceedings should be halted while they attempt to move the case to federal court.
U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, an Obama appointee, denied both men’s requests in separate six-page rulings late Wednesday afternoon, only hours after Willis voiced opposition to their demands.
Though Jones has not yet decided whether the charges must proceed in federal court, his pair of decisions clears the way for Willis to arrest Clark and Meadows if they don’t surrender by Friday.
Willis previously suggested to Meadows’s attorney that she would issue arrest warrants at 12:30 p.m. ET on Friday if he missed the deadline, court filings show.
Willis last week charged Clark and 18 other co-defendants, including Meadows and former President Trump, in a 41-count indictment stemming from efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Following the election, Trump had desired to appoint Clark as attorney general to investigate the then-president’s unfounded claims of fraud.
Clark faces two charges. He is first charged with one count of racketeering count, like all of his co-defendants.
Clark also faces one count of a criminal attempt to commit false statements and writings over his alleged desire to send a letter to Georgia authorities asking them to hold off on certifying their election results while the department investigated.
In attempting to put the state proceedings on hold, Clark’s attorneys argued an automatic pause was required under federal law as Clark attempts to move courts. Prosecutors responded by saying the “effort misunderstands fundamental tenets of criminal law and procedure,” and the judge ultimately agreed.
“As the ongoing Fulton County criminal proceedings and forthcoming arrest warrant arise from the criminal indictment in a criminal action, Section 1455 governs,” Jones ruled. “And Section 1455 specifically indicates that, until the federal court assumes jurisdiction over a state criminal case, the state court retains jurisdiction over the prosecution and the proceedings continue despite the notice of the removal.”
The Hill has reached out to Clark’s attorney for comment.
Meadows, who served as Trump’s White House chief of staff, had also sought to block his arrest as he, too, attempts to move to federal court.
Before blocking the state proceedings, Jones wrote that he is bound to first hold a hearing to determine which court Meadows’s charges belong in. The hearing is scheduled for Monday.
“As Meadows’s arguments and cases cited to the contrary are not persuasive, the Court denies Meadows’s request for the Court to decide its jurisdiction over his criminal case before holding an evidentiary hearing,” Jones ruled.
Meadows faces the racketeering count as well as a charge of soliciting a public officer to violate their oath. Meadows participated in the infamous call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), when Trump asked Raffensperger to help “find 11,780 votes.”
The Hill has reached out to Meadows’s attorney for comment.
Meadows and Clark are two of the few remaining defendants whose bail has not yet been set. More than a dozen defendants have come to agreements with prosecutors and had the orders signed off by a state judge in advance of the Friday surrender deadline.
Updated 6:15 p.m.