Former President Trump on Thursday signaled he may attempt to move his Georgia charges to federal court.
“President Trump hereby notifies the Court that he may seek removal of his prosecution to federal court,” Steve Sadow, Trump’s attorney, wrote in court filings.
Legal experts have anticipated Trump would make such an attempt, but Thursday’s filing provides the strongest signal yet that he plans to do so.
Trump still has multiple weeks to officially file his request. Under federal law, his request must be filed within 30 days of his arraignment. Trump pleaded not guilty and waived his in-person arraignment on Aug. 31.
Legal experts agree moving the charges still will not make them subject to a presidential pardon but that it would change the dynamics for Trump’s case.
If successful, Trump’s case would be overseen by a federal judge, and the jury pool would be drawn from a broader area of Northern Georgia that is less heavily Democratic.
And while the state judge has indicated the trial will be televised, moving to federal court would likely prevent any of the proceedings from being broadcasted.
Trump wouldn’t be the first co-defendant in the case to mount such an attempt.
Multiple of Trump’s co-defendants in the case have already begun trying to move their charges, most notably former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark. Three pro-Trump individuals charged with signing documents purporting to be Georgia’s valid electors have also made such a move.
Some legal experts believe if any of their efforts are successful, Trump and the other co-defendants’ charges would be automatically moved.
The co-defendants are attempting to make the move as part of a two-step process. If granted, Meadows and others are hoping to assert constitutional immunity to have their charges dismissed.
The dispute over moving courts rests on three prongs: the defendants must show they were a federal officer, that the allegations relate to an act taken “under color of such office” and that they have a plausible federal defense.
Trump’s filing on Thursday comes after the state judge signaled he plans to issue a schedule for Trump’s case by next week. But the judge has cited the co-defendants’ efforts to move their charges as one reason that prosecutors’ proposed timeline to try all 19 in October is likely too ambitious.
Trump previously tried to move his charges in his hush money criminal case to federal court, but a judge rejected the move. Trump is now appealing that ruling.