Former President Donald Trump “may seek removal” of his Fulton County, Georgia, criminal case to federal court, his attorney notified the local court Thursday.
Trump would be the sixth of 19 defendants in the case to seek to move their case to federal court after they were charged in August with acting as a “criminal enterprise” in their alleged efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.
His co-defendants seeking removal, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, have argued that the case involves acts committed in their capacities as federal officials or on behalf of a federal official: Trump.
All 19 defendants have entered not guilty pleas. Trump and other defendants insist they did nothing wrong.
If the case were moved to federal court, potential jurors would be drawn from the suburbs and exurbs beyond Atlanta — areas where Democrats are far less heavily represented.
Trump, a Republican, has complained in social media posts that prosecutors in Atlanta and New York City have charged him in an attempt to appeal to their bases.
In the New York case, Trump entered a not guilty plea on April 4 to 34 counts of felony falsification of business records related to an alleged “hush money” payment made days before the 2016 election.
His attorneys in that case also sought removal to federal court, but were roundly rejected. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein wrote in his July 19 ruling that he didn’t believe payments made to a former Trump attorney — records of which are central to allegations in that case — were tied to Trump’s service as president.
“Trump has failed to show that the conduct charged by the indictment is for or relating to any act performed by or for the President under color of the official acts of a President,” Hellerstein wrote in the New York case. “Trump also has failed to show that he has a colorable federal defense to the indictment.”
In both cases, even if moved to federal court, the defendants would be tried under state laws. They would not be able to receive presidential pardons, which apply to federal crimes.
Trump is also a defendant in two federal cases, and has entered not guilty pleas in those as well. Special counsel Jack Smith charged Trump with 40 felony counts related to “willful retention” of national security information after leaving the White House, and with four felony counts related to alleged efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 election.