3 Trump fake electors argue to move cases to federal court

September 20, 2023

Attorneys for three fake electors argued before Judge Steve Jones on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta that their Georgia 2020 election racketeering cases should be moved to federal court.

The defendants—Cathy Latham, David Shafer and Shawn Still—are among 19 co-defendants, including former President Trump, who were indicted by a grand jury last month related to attempts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election, following a more than two-year investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

The trio are also among 16 Georgians who acted at false electors for Trump in Georgia in 2020. According to the indictment they, along with several unnamed and unindicted co-conspirators, “unlawfully falsely held themselves out as the duly elected and qualified presidential electors from the State of Georgia.”

In December 2020 the trio had allegedly met with the 13 others and put forward electors’ certificates falsely stating that Trump won the state and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.

Along with racketeering, with which all 19 co-defendants are charged, the trio are also variously charged with additional counts that include impersonating a public officer, first-degree forgery, false statements and writings, criminal attempt to commit filing false documents and other offenses.

In court Wednesday, their attorneys put forth arguments asserting that not only was their electors scheme legal, it’s the reason they should be placed under federal law, and it qualifies for removal. 

Shafer attorney Craig Gillen took issue with the label “fake” electors and insisted, “They served pursuant to federal law….They did their duty.”

Another Shafer attorney, Holly Pierson, pushed back on the state’s assertion that electors are not federal officers. “Our clients did what federal law allows them to do,” Pierson said.

Jones is the same U.S. District Judge who late last month rejected co-defendant and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ request to move his trial to federal court was set to hear arguments Monday in Clark’s case. Jones had ruled that Meadows’ actions were not taken up under his White House duties but rather “on behalf of the Trump campaign.” Meadows is currently appealing that decision.

Last week Jones also heard arguments from co-defendant and former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark on why his case should be moved to federal court. While Jones has not yet ruled in Clark’s case, he did reportedly appear skeptical—particularly after Clark’s attorneys attempted to submit a 10-page statement outlining their client’s service in the DOJ in lieu of having him testify.

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