Mark Meadows, who served as former President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, may have made prosecutors’ jobs “easier” by testifying in the Fulton County, Georgia, case into alleged attempts to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to former federal prosecutor Caren Morrison on Monday.
Meadows, who was one of the 18 co-defendants charged alongside Trump following Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ probe into alleged election interference attempts, took the stand last month to testify in his efforts to move his case to federal court, which is seen as a potentially more favorable venue for a jury than the deeply Democratic county that features parts of Atlanta.
He is facing criminal charges including racketeering and solicitation of a violation of oath by a public officer. Meadows’ charges relate to his alleged role in organizing the January 2021 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which the former president asked the election official to “find” enough votes to tilt the election in his favor, as well as his alleged involvement in the efforts to submit a false slate of pro-Trump electors from Georgia to the Electoral College.
Meadows, who maintains his innocence, testified on August 28 that his case should be moved to a federal court because he was acting as a federal officer, though U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ultimately rejected his request, ruling that he was working as a member of the Trump campaign, not chief of staff, at the time.
However, his testimony could come back to haunt him, Morrison, who served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York from 2001 to 2006, told The New York Times on Monday.
“He did do a number of things which will make the prosecutors’ job easier. He’s created some additional trouble for himself, I think, as well as for Trump,” Morrison said.
Meadows’ attorney George Terwilliger dismissed Morrison’s analysis in a statement to Newsweek on Monday afternoon by writing that “anyone who says something like that is to be commended for being so brave as to so fully expose their ignorance.”
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Newsweek in an interview on Monday that Meadows’ testimony could backfire.
“Whenever you take the stand to testify, you’re really subjecting yourself to impeachment evidence and cross examination. He testified that he didn’t coordinate any of the fake electors scheme, and then he was confronted with the emails saying, ‘let’s coordinate.’ His credibility has now been attacked. There’s statements that he has made that aren’t consistent with what he wrote, which is a problem,” he said.
Willis noted in her briefing of the testimony that Meadows said he did not play “any role” in the coordination of false elector schemes, but that evidence allegedly shows him writing an email that said, “We just need to have someone coordinating the electors for the states.”
“And after insisting that he did not play ‘any role’ in the coordination of slates of ‘fake electors’ throughout several states, the defendant was forced to acknowledge under cross-examination that he had in fact given direction to a campaign official in this regard,” the Fulton County district attorney wrote in the briefing.
Meanwhile, Meadows has appealed Jones’ decision. Legal experts viewed his decision to testify as risky, as he was subject to cross examination from prosecutors.