(ATLANTA) — Lawyers for attorney Kenneth Chesebro on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him in the Georgia election interference case, arguing that his actions were “justified” because he was acting “within his capacity as a lawyer” for the Trump campaign.
“Mr. Chesebro, being an expert in constitutional law, acted within his capacity as a lawyer in researching and finding precedents in order to form a legal opinion which was then supplied to his client, the Trump Campaign,” the motion said.
Chesebro and 18 others, including former President Donald Trump, have pleaded not guilty to all charges in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia. Chesebro is accused of committing acts “in furtherance of the conspiracy,” according to the indictment.
In their filing, Chesebro’s lawyers acknowledged that their client drafted the legal memos at the center of his alleged conduct — one of which included a strategy to use so-called “alternate electors” to prevent Joe Biden from receiving 270 electoral votes — but that that action was justified since Chesebro was “fulfilling his duty to his client as an attorney.”
Chesebro’s attorneys asserted that criminalizing their client’s conduct would “stymy the long-held practice of attorneys advocating for novel legal positions.”
“If the Court were to permit the State to prosecute individuals for writing a novel, controversial, or even incorrect interpretation of an abstruse law, then student law reviews and law journals everywhere would suddenly find themselves in need of staff,” the motion read.
The effort marks the second time Chesebro has moved to dismiss his case, following a motion to dismiss that he filed on Sept. 5.
Chesebro and former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell are scheduled to go on trial on Oct. 23 after they both requested speedy trials in the case.
Also Tuesday, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals gave Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis one day to respond to former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ request for an emergency stay regarding his case.
Meadows on Monday requested the emergency stay after a judge on Friday rejected Meadows’ bid to have his case moved, based on a federal law that calls for the removal of criminal proceedings brought in state court to the federal court system when someone is charged for actions they allegedly took as a federal official acting “under color” of their office.
The Eleventh Circuit, responding to Meadows’ emergency motion, ordered Willis to submit a brief responding by noon ET Wednesday.
Additionally, the court ordered both Meadows and Willis to submit briefs addressing whether the federal removal statue permits former federal officers to remove state actions to federal court, or only current federal officers.
The briefings on that question are due Wednesday afternoon for both sides.
Meadows is charged with one count of violation of the Georgia RICO Act and one count of solicitation of violation of oath by public officer, for taking actions “in furtherance of the conspiracy,” according to the DA’s indictment.
His attorney, George Terwilliger, has said, “Nothing Mr. Meadows is alleged in the indictment to have done is criminal per se: arranging Oval Office meetings, contacting state officials on the President’s behalf, visiting a state government building, and setting up a phone call for the President. One would expect a Chief of Staff to the President of the United States to do these sorts of things.”
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