Former President Donald Trump will not attempt to move the criminal charges brought against him by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to federal court, his lawyers revealed in a court filing Thursday.
The move comes as a surprise, as Trump was largely expected to try to move the Georgia case as part of a bid to invoke immunity protections for federal officials. Under federal law, criminal cases can be removed to federal court if the alleged behavior relates to their government duties.
His lawyers previously told Judge Scott McAfee that Trump “may” try to get the case moved into the federal system. Outside of court, the former president’s representatives had been more explicit in signaling their intention to try to move the case.
The deadline for Trump to formally make the request was Friday.
“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,” Trump attorney Steven Sadow wrote in the filing Thursday.
A federal judge in the US District Court of the Northern District of Georgia rejected a bid earlier this month from Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to move the case to federal court. Meadows is appealing that decision. Other defendants in the case have also asked to move their cases from state to federal court as well.
Sadow attended some of the federal court hearings where some of Trump’s co-defendants argued in favor of moving their cases, and the judge has been skeptical of many of their arguments.
This story has been updated with additional details.