11 of Georgia’s phony electors fight subpoenas

11 of Georgia's phony electors fight subpoenas
David Shafer (in vest sweater), the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, was one of Georgia’s 16 false electors who attempted to certify the state in favor of former President Donald Trump. Shafer stood behind Trump supporter L. Lin Wood at a December 2020 Georgia rally. Jill Nolin/Georgia Recorder

Eleven Georgia Republicans who cast “contingent” electoral votes for then-President Donald Trump in December 2020 are moving to quash subpoenas issued by a Fulton County special grand jury.

The 11, including state GOP Chairman David Shafer, filed a motion in Fulton Superior Court Tuesday arguing they were originally sought by the grand jury as witnesses and agreed to appear voluntarily. Only later did they receive subpoenas identifying them as targets of the panel’s investigation surrounding the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

“The abrupt, unsupportable, and public elevation of all 11 nominee electors’ status wrongfully converted them from witnesses who were cooperating voluntarily and prepared to testify in the grand jury to persecuted targets of it,” the motion stated.

“In light of the escalation, counsel advised the elector nominees to invoke their federal and state constitutional and statutory rights not to provide substantive testimony to the grand jury, advice they have reluctantly accepted.”

The 11 were among 16 Republican electors who met at the state Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, the same day a slate of Democratic electors met inside the same building to cast their Electoral College votes for Democrat Joe Biden, who had carried Georgia the month before.

At the time, Shater said Republicans picked their own Electoral College members because Trump’s lawsuit challenging the election results was still pending, an argument repeated in Tuesday’s motion.

The motion went on to assert that both state and federal law protect electors’ rights to cast contingent ballots and that Willis and the special grand jury lack jurisdiction to determine the validity of presidential election ballots, which are “inseparably connected” to the federal government.

The 11 Republican electors are just the latest targets of the grand jury probe Willis’ office launched last year.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer; Trump campaign lawyer John Eastman; and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., were subpoenaed earlier this month.

Subpoenas also have been issued to key Trump allies U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, and state Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor.

Graham, Hice and Jones have all sought to quash their subpoenas. A hearing on Jones’ motion is set for Thursday in Fulton Superior Court.

Staff writer Rebecca Grapevine contributed to this report.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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