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Appeals court order sets up possible Supreme Court showdown over Meadows’ bid to stymie Georgia election subversion case

By Tierney Sneed and Katelyn Polantz, CNN

(CNN) — A federal appeals court said it won’t review Mark Meadows’ bid to move the 2020 election subversion charges he faces in Georgia to federal court, setting up the possibility for a Supreme Court showdown.

The full 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals said on Wednesday it has no interest in reviewing a ruling by a panel of its court that denied Meadows protections because of his official federal role, keeping his charges in Georgia state court. The 11th Circuit is a conservative-leaning appeals court overseeing the southeastern United States.

Meadows, a former White House chief of staff to former President Donald Trump, has sought for months to move the election interference case against him brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to federal court. Meadows has argued that, because he was a top White House official at the time of the alleged crimes, he is entitled to a federal immunity extended to certain individuals who are prosecuted or sued for conduct tied to their US government roles.

The Supreme Court is already considering the prospect of federal immunity for Trump in the separate special counsel election interference case, with a pending request by Trump to the justices that it pause the federal case against him to further consider the issue. How the Supreme Court resolves the Trump immunity question could play into the viability of the Georgia 2020 election case as well.

Meadows has long stuck with a strategy to test the ability of his charges to be moved to federal court before deciding his best route to prepare for a state court trial. If Meadows is unsuccessful even at the Supreme Court, that will likely be the end of the road for him, Trump and others bidding for protections in the case because of their federal service.

The federal appeals court in Georgia so far has called Meadows’ actions “electioneering” and not part of his official duties.

Writing for the three-judge appellate panel that rebuffed Meadows’ request in December, 11th Circuit Chief Judge William Pryor wrote that at “bottom, whatever the chief of staff’s role with respect to state election administration, that role does not include altering valid election results in favor of a particular candidate.”

Meadows has been charged by the Atlanta-based prosecutors with violating Georgia’s RICO law, and is also accused of trying to solicit Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, to violate his oath of office. Meadows has pleaded not guilty.

The latest order from the 11th Circuit said that no judge on the appeals court requested a vote on whether the full circuit should take up the dispute. If Meadows takes his bid to move the prosecution to the Supreme Court, it will be the latest example of the high court being asked to weigh in on the various 2020 election interference prosecutions and investigations.

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