After indicating earlier this month that Donald Trump might try to have his Georgia election interference trial moved to federal court, the ex-president’s lawyers notified the state court on Thursday that he won’t pursue that relocation after all.
Trump’s previous notice to the court was made “in an abundance of caution,” lawyer Steven Sadow said in a court filing, adding that the former president is now assured he’ll receive fair treatment in the Georgia courts.
“This decision is based on his well-founded confidence that this Honorable Court intends to fully and completely protect his constitutional right to a fair trial and guarantee him due process of law throughout the prosecution of his case in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia,” Sadow wrote.
Sadow’s statement is somewhat at odds with Trump’s public comments about the case, which he has repeatedly called a “witch hunt.”
The decision is something of a surprise. Ever since the former president was indicted last month, legal scholars and Trump watchers have predicted that he would attempt to have his trial moved to federal court, where the juror pool skews less liberal than in Fulton County and where he has the chance of a judge he nominated overseeing the case.
A federal judge could also field challenges to Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, or RICO, under which Trump and his 18 co-defendants are charged. Lastly, cameras are banned in federal court, so a move there would spare Trump from the public scrutiny of a televised trial.
However, any effort to move Trump’s trial to federal court looked like an uphill battle. A judge ruled against the same request from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows earlier this month, saying Meadows had failed to prove that the charges against him concerned his official duties as a federal officer. Meadows is appealing that decision.
Trump’s trial in Georgia awaits scheduling. He’s set to stand trial for two other cases in March and for one in May.