Sept 28 (Reuters) – Donald Trump will not seek to move from state to federal court a criminal case accusing him of conspiring to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, his lawyers said on Thursday , a development that could simplify the former US president’s path to testing.
Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and 18 others are accused of pressuring election officials in Georgia to overturn his 2020 loss in the state to current President Joe Biden, a Democrat.
Trump denied any wrongdoing and said the case was part of a political witch hunt. He and his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Thursday’s filing is significant because Trump, along with several co-defendants, was expected to seek to move his case from state court to federal court, where he may face a friendlier jury than in Fulton County, Georgia, the Democratic stronghold where the case was filed.
Attempting to delay the case could also have bogged it down in hearings and appeals. Prosecutors are pushing to try all 19 defendants together as early as Oct. 23, although a judge has said he is skeptical about whether the schedule is feasible.
Trump had initially indicated he would follow the lead of his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, who quickly tried to take his case to federal court but was rebuffed this month when a judge ruled against him. Meadows is appealing that ruling.
In August, Trump, Meadows and 17 others were charged in a sweeping indictment. Trump said the criminal case and three others he faces were part of a political conspiracy aimed at preventing him from retaking the White House in next year’s election.
Trump is being prosecuted on four counts. He also faces charges in Florida over his handling of classified documents after leaving office, in Washington over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and in New York over hush money payments to a porn star before the 2016 election Trump denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.
Trump also faces a civil lawsuit from New York’s attorney general alleging that he and his family business overstated the value of their assets by billions of dollars to get better credit and insurance terms.
The trial in this case is scheduled to begin on Monday. On Tuesday, a judge ruled that Trump committed fraud and asked to strip him of control of several key properties in his business portfolio.
The main focus of the trial will be how much punishment Trump, his companies and his two adult sons will have to pay. The case does not involve any criminal charges.
Reporting by Jack Queen and Kanishka Singh; Editing by Eric Beech and David Gregorio
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