Trump's Georgia Indictment Could Be Escalated to Federal Court


Former President Donald Trump could request that his trial be transferred from Georgia to a federal court in a move just crazy enough to work.

On Monday, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis indicted the leading GOP candidate in the 2024 presidential race on 13 counts, including one charge of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute — typically applied to organized crime.

Willis is prosecuting Trump and 18 of his associates — including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows — for allegedly attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

Meadows filed a motion to move his case out of Fulton County and into the federal court for the Northern District of Georgia shortly after being indicted.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the motion for Aug. 28.

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Many believe Trump will follow suit, according to CNN.

This latest in a string of criminal cases against the former president could trip him up more than all of the others, but a change to a federal court could be just what he needs to slip the noose.

There are many advantages to doing this, not the least of which is delaying the trial as the 2024 primary campaign heats up.

Another distinct advantage for the former president would be the availability of a more friendly jury pool as well as the relative impartiality of a federal judge who might be more inclined to throw the whole case out.

Will Trump escalate his trial to federal court?

Willis used Georgia’s RICO law to string the shoddy indictment together, and it’s doubtful the charges would stand up to scrutiny by a serious judge.

“There’s very few cases in Georgia interpreting the RICO statute,” Georgia criminal defense attorney Andrew Fleischman said, according to CNN.

A move would mean the case Willis cobbled together and the intricacies of the 1980 state law would go before a federal judge Fleischmann believes would “ask a bunch of questions” about them.

It’s possible the change of venue would be granted. Both Meadows and Trump could successfully argue that it belongs in federal court because the alleged activity happened during Trump’s presidency.

However, Trump’s team may seek a federal trial as it could confer the greatest advantage of all — the prospect of a complete pardon.

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Under the Constitution, the president has the power to pardon only federal offenses.

As it stands now, a pardon in Georgia is unlikely, and not just because Trump has bad blood with GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.

In fact, it’s not up to the governor. Instead, pardon power is granted through the State Board of Pardons and Paroles via a five-person panel and only after the criminal serves five years of the sentence.

If Trump is tried and convicted under federal law and goes on to win the presidency, he arguably could pardon himself.

Although this seems like the unlikely ending to a political thriller novel, the strategy appears solid.

Talk radio host and attorney Mark Levin believes Trump could pardon himself regardless of where the conviction is finalized.

Levin outlined his rationale in a lengthy post to X, formerly known as Twitter, even as other legal experts debated the possibility.

“President Trump can, in fact, pardon himself from the GA charges if he is elected president,” he asserted.

Levin pointed out that the Constitution doesn’t specify “whether a president can be indicted” but said the Justice Department “has taken the position under both parties that you cannot indict a sitting president because it would cripple the executive branch and make his ability to defend himself effectively impossible.”

Because state convictions would have the same effect on the president’s ability to govern, he believes this could be a valid argument against prosecuting the sitting president.

“FURTHERMORE, if indicted and even convicted, the idea that a president cannot pardon himself from state charges is absurd, again, not only because of the Supremacy Clause, but the same considerations that apply to a federal conviction would obviously apply to a state conviction,” Levin said, citing the constitutional hierarchy that makes federal laws supreme over state laws.

The current situation for Trump — and for the nation — is truly unprecedented and calls for a unique approach.

However, this is exactly where the former president shines the most, as he proved in 2016 against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Regardless of what the media predicts or what his enemies hope for, Trump may be battle-worn, but he’s never truly defeated — even if it means trying something that’s never been tried before.

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Christine earned her bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University, where she studied communications and Latin. She left her career in the insurance industry to become a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother.
Christine earned her bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University, where she studied communications and Latin. She left her career in the insurance industry to become a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother.