Last week’s hearing felt to me like the judge was simply asking Fani Willis to give him a legal basis for declining to move Mark Meadows’ case to federal court. Today Willis filed a comprehensive brief giving the judge precisely what he wanted. So that battle is probably over before it began. But based on Willis’ filing, this may get even worse for Meadows.
Meadows made the extraordinarily stupid move of testifying under oath in his own defense during the hearing. At the time I pointed out that he was locking himself into that testimony, meaning that even if his defense strategy ends up changing, he won’t be able to give a different version of events.
But Willis’ filing today suggests that Meadows perjured himself during the hearing. Not only would that cause his filing to be almost automatically rejected, it would also open the door for Willis to bring perjury charges against Meadows. These kinds of ancillary charges have a high rate of conviction, and can help send a defendant to prison whether or not the jury buys into the underlying racketeering charges.
Because there isn’t a lot of past precedent here, there’s still a greater than zero chance the judge could side with Meadows. But even if so, Willis would probably win that on appeal. This was always a desperation heave for Meadows, not some 50-50 coin flip.
And the important part here is that assuming Meadows loses this ruling, it won’t delay his trial by a single day. This isn’t even a delay tactic. It’s a client yelling “DO SOMETHING!” and his lawyers going along with it.
Even on the off chance that Meadows wins this ruling, it will still have been a bad bet for him to have tried it. And now he’s saddled with the bad testimony he just gave (and the potential for perjury charges), no matter where he ends up tried.
This isn’t some kind of novel approach on Mark Meadows’ part. He’s not three steps ahead of everyone. There’s no code to crack here when it comes to his strategy. He simply doesn’t have one, at least not in terms of the sane world. This is a psychologically broken guy who keeps making one incoherently stupid and self defeating move after another. That became clear the minute his partial cooperation” against Trump got him and Trump indicted. Meadows has no idea what he’s even trying to do.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report