Monday’s hearing could be a first indication of how the case might proceed.
Aug. 27, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. ET
• 4 min reading
As attorneys for former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and prosecutors from the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office prepare to appear in court Monday for the first federal hearing in the prosecutors’ full-scale racketeering case, sources tell ABC News that attorneys and advisers from the former President Donald Trump and some of the 17 other defendants will be closely monitoring the trial.
The evidence hearing, scheduled to take place before Judge Steve Jones Monday morning, is part of Meadows’ effort to move his trial to federal court, which is expected to be an important first clue as to how the case might proceed.
Multiple sources close to some of the 19 defendants — including Trump, Meadows and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — have told ABC News that legal teams for many of the defendants will be “closely watching” Monday’s proceedings, with some even sending people who watch in person.
Many involved in the case are unclear about the ramifications of moving Meadows’ case to federal court, the sources said, and whether all 19 defendants would go with it or their cases would be left in state court.
“It’s completely untested,” an attorney for one of the defendants in the case told ABC News.
“The case that is being tried is under the guise of his office,” Chris Timmons, former Georgia prosecutor, told ABC News of the allegations against Meadows, which include his role in Trump’s phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Jan. 2, 2021 heard Raffensperger, in which Trump asked Raffensperger to “determine” the number of votes required to win Georgia.
“The question is whether the call was made by Mark Meadows, the chief of staff to the President of the United States, or by Mark Meadows, a private citizen or member of the Trump campaign,” Timmons said. “The President’s chief of staff usually has no reason to call the Secretary of State in Georgia. So he must have acted in a private capacity and will have a difficult time on Monday.”
Then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters at the White House on October 21, 2020 in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP, FILE
According to court filings, at least five defendants charged in the prosecution’s case have filed motions to have the case moved to federal court.
Meadows was the first of the group to be granted a hearing. Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official, has a hearing on September 18 on his motion to see his case moved to federal court.
Before boarding his plane in Fulton County after his surrender Thursday, Trump said he had the right to contest an election “that we believe is dishonest.”
“We did nothing wrong,” Trump said, continuing to falsely claim the election was stolen. “We have every right to contest the election.”
After attorney Kenneth Chesebro filed a request Wednesday for a speedy trial in his case, the judge on the case on Friday set a hearing date for Chesebro only for Oct. 23, a hearing agreement shows. Following the judge’s order, former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell also filed a motion for a speedy trial.
Trump’s lawyers have asked for his trial to be separated, citing the need for more preparation time.