Friday, June 2, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Fake Georgia GOP electors challenge subpoenas in election probe

After signing a certificate falsely claiming Trump as the winner of the 2020 election in Georgia, 11 more Republican electors have become the latest targets of the continuous election probe.

ATLANTA (CN) — A group of Republicans who falsely claimed to be Georgia electors are fighting subpoenas to testify before a special grand jury in an investigation into whether former President Donald Trump and others illegally attempted to overturn the 2020 election in the state.

The group, which includes Republican party chairman David Shafer, filed a motion Tuesday attempting to avoid future testimony and prosecution from the Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis.

Launched in January, Willis’ probe targets several members of the Trump campaign who allegedly illegally intervened in the 2020 presidential election by pressuring Georgia election officials to recalculate the results in his favor.

In the weeks following the 2020 election, the 11 fake GOP electors declared themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors and signed a certificate falsely stating that then-President Donald Trump had won the vote in several states that he had actually lost.

Their motion states that from mid-April through the end of June, Willis’ office had told them that they were solely considered witnesses in the election probe, and so they agreed to voluntary interviews with the investigative team.

However on June 1, all 11 of these fake electors received grand jury subpoenas and were notified by prosecutors on June 28, that “as our investigation has matured and new evidence has come to light” that they were now targets of the investigation.

“The unavoidable conclusion is that the nominee electors’ change of status was not precipitated by new evidence or an honestly held belief that they have criminal exposure but instead an improper desire to force them to publicly invoke their rights as, at best, a publicity stunt,” the motion states.

Lawyers for the 11 Republicans wrote in the motion that subpoenas such as theirs may be quashed for being “unreasonable or oppressive.”

They further claim that 16 Republican electors met in December 2020 to certify the state’s electoral votes for Trump due to a pending lawsuit challenging the validity of the election results. According to the motion, if the judge ruled that Trump was the election winner, then their electoral slate would have become valid.

The motion also asks Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney to grant a motion filed on Friday by one of the targeted electors and state Senator, Burt Jones, seeking to remove Willis as the prosecutor of the investigation. A hearing to address that motion was scheduled by McBurney for Thursday.

Jones argues that Willis, a Democrat, is pursuing the investigation against him in an effort to aid his opponent for lieutenant governor in the midterm election, Charlie Bailey, who Willis recently held a fundraiser for.

Republican U.S. Representative Jody Hice of Georgia also filed a motion to quash his subpoena to testify on Monday, claiming that his authority as a member of Congress shields him from legal proceedings and injury by the U.S. Constitution.

Just last week, the special grand jury for Willis’ election probe also issued subpoenas for Republican U.S. ‌Senator Lindsey Graham, former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and other members of the Trump campaign.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Attorney General Chris Carr have already testified before the special grand jury and Republican Governor Brian Kemp, who repeatedly dismissed pressure from Trump to overturn the state's election results, is set to record a statement on July 25.

The 11 fake electors mentioned in Tuesday’s motion include Mark Amick, Joseph Brannan, Brad Carver, Vikki Consiglio, John Downey, Carolyn Fish, Kay Godwin, Cathy Latham, Shafer, Shawn Still and C.B. Yadav. James “Ken” Carroll, David Hanna, Mark Hennessy, Daryl Moody are also targets of the probe.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.