Former President Donald Trump will no longer seek to move his Georgia criminal election interference case to federal court.
The move is a sharp reversal for Trump, who previously sought a venue change based on a federal law that allows criminal proceedings in state court to be brought before a federal court if a defendant is charged in connection with actions they undertook when acting as a federal official.
Having the case moved to federal court could have potentially given Trump and his co-defendants a more conservative jury pool.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, in Fulton County, Trump won less than 27 percent of the vote in 2020. But a federal case would pull from 10 counties, including suburbs where Trump won a higher percentage of the vote. In some cases, jurors could be called from an entire federal judicial district, which would include 46 counties where Trump garnered 46 percent of the 2020 vote.
“This decision is based on his well-founded confidence that this Honorable Court intends to fully and completely protect his constitutional right to a fair trial and guarantee him due process of law throughout the prosecution of his case in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia,” Trump attorney Steven Sadow wrote in a Sept. 28 court filing.
The shift in strategy comes just weeks after a judge denied a venue change request by former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
“Even if a criminal defendant can characterize individual instances of behavior as part of his official duties within the broader charged conduct, this is not enough to convey subject matter jurisdiction on this Court,” U.S. District Judge Steve Jones wrote in his decision.
Trump is among 19 defendants charged in Georgia amid allegations they sought to overturn his loss in the 2020 election. Other defendants have also sought to move their cases to federal court.
Jeffrey Clark, a co-defendant in the case, argued last week that the case against him should be moved to federal court. Fulton County prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones that the trial should proceed in state court because elections aren’t within the purview of federal authorities and that Clark overstepped his authority in probing the outcome.