The indictment against Donald Trump, which was announced on Monday in Fulton County, GA, is just the latest of many legal problems that the former president has faced. At a press conference held late at night, District Attorney Fani Willis announced the charges with a vehemence that was bordering on rage.
Willis and Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat are relishing the chance to catch their man. Labat said to reporters that the county will “have mugshots available” for Trump, and possibly the other 18 defendants listed in the indictment. It’s clear that Willis, Labat, and the county are trying to get as much out of this indictment as possible.
The Trump team could have a secret weapon. Clark Cunningham is a professor of law at Georgia State University. He told WSB Radio Trump might have the case transferred from state to federal court. Cunningham believes that Trump’s lawyers are also likely to move the case from state court to federal court.
Cunningham replied, “100 percent.” “That’s what he will do first.”
Trump is entitled to transfer the case to the federal court, as he was previously president.
Cunningham, a WSB reporter, said that federal law allows him to request his trial be transferred to federal court. This is called removal.
It would be a brilliant way to slap Willis. It would be an insult to Willis’s determination in pursuing Trump. The Trump team is aware of this. If Trump’s case is moved to federal court, then all 18 defendants’ cases will be moved as well. This would take Willis out in a big way.
A federal court would also be more favorable to Trump because he is likely to get a more sympathetic jury than if the case was brought in Fulton County. Fulton County is one of the most heavily Democratic counties in the state. “Plus, he could draw a federal court judge that he appointed,” WSB says.
Trump cannot pardon himself for state charges. This could be an issue with his team. There’s no guarantee a pardon will be granted for federal charges.
WSB reports, “Even if the case were moved to federal court, Cunningham still doesn’t believe he could pardon himself.”
Willis can still fight a motion to move the case to federal court. (Who are we kidding? You know she will.) If she does fight it, that would drag out the case, which flies in the face of her promise of a swift trial.
If the district attorney is going to fight it, as they call it, then that’s removal. You ask for a remand. This fight could last months, and it may even go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The plot in Fulton County has become more complex. It will be interesting to watch what Trump’s team does next.