Georgia prosecutors target fake Trump electors in criminal probe
Court documents reveal prosecutors are closing in on possible criminal charges for some involved in scheme to overturn Trump’s election loss in Georgia
Georgia prosecutors are now targeting all 16 of the “fake electors” who took part in a scheme to overturn the 2020 election by casting illegitimate votes for then-President Donald Trump.
What happened: Prosecutors who are investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s election results — a state which President Joe Biden won by nearly 12,000 votes — on Tuesday informed all 16 individuals involved that they may be indicted.
Court documents filed late Tuesday show that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis now considers each of the fake GOP electors as targets of the criminal probe, rather than mere witnesses.
The 16 Republicans gathered at the Georgia Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, in an attempt to falsely certify Georgia’s electoral college votes for Trump. At the time, they signed an “unofficial electoral certificate” that was later sent to the National Archives.
“Each of the sixteen persons who signed the unofficial Elector Certificate ultimately submitted to the National Archives received a similar target letter, alerting that person both that his testimony was required by the special purpose grand jury and that he was a target of the investigation,” prosecutors said on Tuesday.
Efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the election in his favor culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Why it matters
Earlier in the investigation, prosecutors stated that the fake electors were considered witnesses in the grand jury investigation, according to CNN. The recent change suggests a more aggressive strategy to hold accountable those who tried to subvert Biden’s election win.
Prosecutors told defense attorneys that the change is the result of “new evidence” uncovered throughout their investigation.
According to The Washington Post, the Fulton County special grand jury has already identified more than 100 people of interest and heard testimony from officials including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who famously rejected Trump’s urging to “find” enough votes to put him ahead of Biden.
Willis’ investigation is separate from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
Defense attorneys for the 16 fake electors filed their own request earlier Tuesday, asking for the subpoenas against their clients to be tossed out. They claimed to be unaware of the efforts by Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman to use “alternate electors” to contest the election results.
The defense team called the subpoenas “unreasonable and oppressive,” calling the effort a “publicity stunt.”
Prosecutors have also issued witness subpoenas for two members of Congress who are close Trump allies. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., have both challenged their subpoenas.