Fulton Country District Attorney Fani Willis in a new brief seemed to imply that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows may have committed perjury in his unexpected witness stand appearance earlier this week, as he attempts to have his case moved to federal court. Willis, who recently indicted Trump, Meadows, and a slew of other co-conspirators for their efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election results, argued in a new filing that Meadows' testimony undercut his effort to remove the case to federal court.
"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," Willis wrote.
"The Court has ample basis not to credit some or all of the defendant's testimony," a footnote in the filing argued.
"Mark Meadows has a potential perjury problem," tweeted New York University Law Prof. Ryan Goodman, adding that Willis put "it in understated terms."
Mark Meadows has a potential perjury problem.— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) August 31, 2023
Fulton County DA puts it in understated terms in new brief.👇 (DA uses it just for credibility.)
Meadows' testimony included false statement - his lack of "any role" in coordinating false electors
Was then forced to acknowledge it. pic.twitter.com/9akSvaHWlg
Experts have already warned that Meadows' surprise testimony may blow back on Trump, as his defense was "precisely that point which Fulton County DA Fani Willis is trying to prove: that Trump was at the center of this entire criminal conspiracy," wrote Daily Beast reporter Joe Pagliery.
"He now cannot ever say, 'I wasn't doing this for the president, I was acting on my own,'" concluded Peter Odom, a former prosecutor at the Fulton County DA's office, told The Daily Beast.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who served on special counsel Bob Mueller's team, told MSNBC on Thursday that Meadows' testimony appears to have backfired.
"I don't think he is going to be found by the judge to be credible, and it's also the case that if you lie on one thing and the judge can throw out that testimony on that item, but also disregard your testimony altogether, he really, having reviewed everything now, I don't think comes off is a terribly thoughtful witness or terribly careful," Weissman said.
"He has a wonderful defense lawyer. I'm sure they tried to prepare him a lot. And it really showed that he was not terribly preparable, because he made a lot of mistakes in his testimony. I think he really hurt himself," he added, noting that Meadows' damning statement "is from the redirect examination. That's when his own lawyer got to ask him questions and he actually kept digging, and made it worse through his redirect examination."
Georgia State Law Prof. Anthony Michael Kries underscored Meadows' cross-examination as "one of the more dramatic moments in Monday's hearing."
"It took very little time between Meadows saying he wasn't involved at all in coordinating the electors scheme with campaign employees and the DA's office throwing the email showing that he did on the projector," he wrote on Thursday.
This was one of the more dramatic moments in Monday’s hearing. It took very little time between Meadows saying he wasn’t involved at all in coordinating the electors scheme with campaign employees and the DA’s office throwing the email showing that he did on the projector. https://t.co/c05UJO02C8— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) August 31, 2023
With the testimony previously dubbed a "high-risk gamble," former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti argued that though the "potential upside" of Meadows' decision to take the stand was "significant," this "was the risk — that he got tripped up on the stand and testified falsely or locked himself into a problematic position."
This was the downside of Meadows’ decision to take the stand to try to move his criminal case to federal court.— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) August 31, 2023
The potential upside was significant, but this was the risk — that he got tripped up on the stand and testified falsely or locked himself into a problematic position. https://t.co/KeW6aRprvN
"Trying to fool the judge is a bad idea," added MSNBC legal analyst Katie Phang. "In an evidentiary hearing like Meadows' removal hearing this week, the judge is the fact finder, as well as the one who applies those facts to the applicable law. Judge Jones sits and judges the witnesses' credibility and trustworthiness."
In an evidentiary hearing like Meadows’ removal hearing this week, the judge is the fact finder, as well as the one who applies those facts to the applicable law.— Katie Phang (@KatiePhang) September 1, 2023
Judge Jones sits and judges the witnesses’ credibility and trustworthiness.
Trying to fool the judge is a bad idea.