Mark Meadows’ “rough day” on the witness stand presented a “big risk” for former President Donald Trump and their fellow codefendants, argued one legal analyst.
The perceived political persecution of Trump has been considered by many to be most dire in the alleged RICO case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, chiefly because the unfavorable jurisdiction was coupled with Georgia’s unique pardoning laws.
As such, an expected motion from the president to move the criminal case from state to federal court likely hinged on his former chief of staff Meadows’ own effort that put him on the witness stand Monday.
“It was a big risk,” CNN’s chief legal analyst Elie Honig told “The Situation Room” fill-in host Alex Marquardt Monday. “Pretty much the last place any criminal defendant wants to end up is in the witness stand.”
“But it was also necessary because Mark Meadows is the one who has to make a showing here that he was acting within the scope of his federal employment. There’s really no other plausible way to do that,” continued Honig.
As previously reported, Meadows had attempted to have the deadline for his arrest extended past the Aug. 25 date set by Willis for the 19 codefendants as part of his effort to relocate his case. Willis had denied the request and stated to his legal team, “I am not granting any extensions. I gave two weeks for people to surrender themselves to the court. Your client is no different than any other criminal defendant in this jurisdiction. The two weeks was a tremendous courtesy.”
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Honig continued by speaking to the avenue opened to the prosecution that the defendant’s testimony provided as he said, “I do think this was a rough day for Mark Meadows. I think it’s one thing to assert generally, ‘Well, as chief of staff I had very broad duties.’ But it’s another thing to be cross-examined as he was today about very specific actions and phone calls and to sort of justify that within the scope of the chief of staff’s job.”
Included in the cross-examination, according to NBC News, was a line of questioning on what potential federal goal could have been furthered in participating in meetings and calls that challenged the integrity of the 2020 presidential election. To that, Meadows noted the necessity to ensure elections were free and fair.
According to CNN, along with the expected filing by Trump’s team, four other codefendants had already filed to have their case moved to a federal court. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, appointed by former President Barack Obama, made no indication as to how he would rule in Meadows’ case, or how soon he would make a decision.
While attorneys had argued that their client was “entitled to a prompt determination,” the judge said he intended to take his time on the ruling after the roughly three-and-a-half hours Meadows was on the stand and said, “If I don’t rule by September 6, then he should show up for the arraignment.”
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