Trump Lawyer Says Georgia Case Being Tried Outside Federal Court ‘By Design’

By Catherine Yang

Alina Habba, attorney for former President Donald Trump and general counsel for the Save America PAC, says the Georgia charges belong in federal court.

She told Newsmax on Wednesday morning that this was all “by design,” and that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis “did it on purpose so that if he is president, he can’t pardon himself if he’s convicted. … We will probably be asking for a removal to another venue and to move it to federal court.”

Unlike the president’s three former indictments, this fourth indictment was handed up in a state court.

Ms. Habba had made a Tuesday appearance on the show as well, saying the case did not belong in a state court in the first place.

“It should be moved to a federal court. Election claims and claims of somebody who was a president at the time should be viewed by a federal court. There’s presidential immunities at play here and this has no business being in a state court,” she said.

Mark Meadows, former chief of staff to President Trump, was the first of the 19 defendants to file a motion to remove the case to federal court. Others are expected to do the same.

Lindsey Halligan, attorney to President Trump, was on Newsmax on Tuesday to say that President Trump’s legal team is indeed planning to file a motion to remove the case to federal court.

“This case should be removed, this indictment is exactly the type of state interference in a federal official’s duty that the supremacy clause in the United States Constitution prohibits,” she said, without specifying when they would do so.

On Monday, President Trump and 18 others were charged under the RICO statute with 161 acts of racketeering (pdf) that included, for many, carrying out their official duties as aides or attorneys to the president.

“If the case is removed to federal court there will not be cameras in the courtroom. Ms. Willis seems to want this case to be televised. I’m sure she’s very proud of herself, but let’s remember how easy it is to indict someone. This indictment does not mean a conviction. It’s not a crime to contest an election,” Ms. Halligan added, accusing the prosecutor of exercising “artistic license” in her application of the law.

“Legislative intent when drafting laws matters, and none of the laws President Trump is charged with in these four indictments were drafted with the intent to charge the offenses he is being charged with,” she said.

Ms. Halligan and Ms. Habba both suggested the conspiracy strategy may backfire, as the prosecutors in the four cases against President Trump should remain independent and not be in touch with each other, but they are concerned this may not be the case.

“These prosecutors are going to keep going too far until they make a big mistake that exposes their motives. These judges want to take away President Trump’s right to attorney client privilege,” Ms. Halligan said. “Well the pendulum will swing back to the prosecutors’ conversations with each other that they think are privileged will be exposed for everyone to see how politically motivated these indictments really are.”

DA Proposes March 4 Trial

The attorneys for President Trump also dismissed the believability of going to trial in six months, which Ms. Willis had promised after the indictment.

“Theres no way this case will be tried in 6 months,” said Ms. Halligan on Tuesday. She added that it was a “laughable” timeline to anyone who practices law, especially given that another RICO case brought by Ms. Willis began jury selection in January and has yet to finalize selection. “Within six months, during election time, what a coincidence.”

On Wednesday, Ms. Willis asked for a March 4, 2024, trial date in a court filing. It meets the six month deadline, and happens to fall one day before Super Tuesday, when about a dozen states will hold their primaries.

Ms. Willis also said she plans to try all 19 defendants together. But the proposed trial timeline only gives 10 days for discovery.

In Ms. Habba’s Tuesday interview, she explained that six months was tight for discovery.

“I think everybody has to understand that when you bring something of this magnitude, when you bring these many defendants, you’re now going to have 19 different counsel, you’re going to have 19 different requests for discovery, 19 different people you’re going to have to fight motions against … it’s not easy,” she said. “It’s unrealistic.”

President Trump has said he will reveal an “irrefutable” and “conclusive” report that can allegedly prove that election fraud happened in Georgia in 2020. He made the announcement of an 11 a.m. Aug. 21 news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he owns a golf course.

He has repeatedly rebuked his prosecutors for interfering with his campaign and bringing belated charges while ignoring claims of 2020 election interference.

“Based on the results of this conclusive report, all charges should be dropped against me and others—There will be a complete exoneration!” President Trump wrote on Truth Social. “They never went after those that rigged the election. They only went after those that fought to find the riggers!