Mark Meadows asks federal court to block his arrest on Georgia election charges

Attorneys for Mark Meadows, the ex-North Carolina congressman who served as Donald Trump’s final White House chief of staff, have filed an emergency motion seeking a federal court order barring Fulton County, Georgia, authorities from arresting him while a request to move the racketeering and election interference case against him from state court is pending.

Mr Meadows, like Mr Trump and the other defendants in the sprawling Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis last week, is required to surrender for booking at the Fulton County jail by noon on Friday, nearly two weeks after he and his co-defendants were indicted.

In court papers filed last Tuesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Mr Meadows’ legal team invoked a rarely used section of federal law that allows civil and “criminal prosecution . . . commenced in a State court . . . against or directed to” a federal official, “in an official or individual capacity, for or relating to any act under color of [his] office” to be tried in federal court.

Mr Meadows, who the indictment alleges to have participated in a criminal enterprise by arranging the phone call between Mr Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during which Mr Trump demanded that the Georgia elections chief “find” non-existent votes to overturn his loss to Joe Biden, wants the federal court to take jurisdiction over the charges so they can be dismissed under the US Constitution’s supremacy clause.

“Mr Meadows has the right to remove this matter. The conduct giving rise to the charges in the indictment all occurred during his tenure and as part of his service as Chief of Staff,” his lawyers said.

In the emergency motion filed on Tuesday, the ex-Trump White House aide’s attorneys say he should not be subject to arrest on the Georgia criminal charges “because he is a former federal official who has a pending Notice of Removal which is scheduled for consideration”.

They also revealed that they unsuccessfully asked Ms Willis to grant him an extension while the federal court considers his request.

Emails between the Meadows legal team and the District Attorney’s office show Ms Willis expressed a willingness to discuss bond arrangements in the manner her office has done for other defendants, including the former president.

But on Tuesday, Ms Willis told the ex-congressman’s attorneys she was “not granting any extensions” and said Mr Meadows will be required to surrender by noon on Friday in the same manner as every other defendant in the case.

“I gave 2 weeks for people to surrender themselves to the court. Your client is no different than any other criminal defendant in this jurisdiction,” she wrote.

Ms Willis also said the two-week deadline for voluntary surrender she allowed after the indictments were returned was “a tremendous courtesy”. She added that she is prepared to seek arrest warrants at 12.30 pm ET on Friday if defendants do not surrender voluntarily, and said her office is still available to discuss bond arrangements for Mr Meadows.

Although Mr Meadows is resisting the need to surrender by the Friday deadline, a few of his co-defendants have already been arrested and processed at the Fulton County jail, with Mr Trump set to surrender on Thursday.

One of the ex-Trump campaign lawyers who was charged alongside the former president, John Eastman, surrendered in Atlanta on Tuesday. He was the second co-defendant of 19 known to have surrendered this week