Last year, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Wills opened a criminal investigation into attempts to influence the 2020 Georgia General Election. As part of the ongoing investigation, 16 “fake electors” were informed by prosecutors that they could face criminal charges.
Members of this group signed a certificate falsely claiming that Trump had won the 2020 election and declaring themselves as the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors. This is despite the fact that the state had already certified a slate of electors.
Fake Electors Were Part of the Plan to Overturn the 2020 Presidential Election
The scheme to replace the slate of electors came as part of a plan by the Trump campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Trump’ campaign reportedly oversaw efforts to put in place illegitimate electors in seven swing states that Trump had lost, including Georgia.
The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol has connected this fake elector scheme to part of a larger plan to overturn the election. The plan included fake electors, a pressure campaign on Vice President Pence and election officials throughout the country, including in Georgia, and the assembly of a violent mob that marched on the Capitol.
One of the 16 “fake electors,” Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer, told the House select committee in February that the plan to submit an illegitimate slate of electors came at the direction of the Trump campaign.
Georgia has been a crucial point of emphasis in the Committee’s investigation, looking into instances such as Trump’s phone call pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to win in Georgia.
Grand Jury Subpoenaed Illegitimate Electors
A special grand jury was created in May as a part of the investigation. Those who signed the false elector certificate have been subpoenaed to testify to the grand jury. They had previously been considered witnesses and voluntarily sat for interviews with the investigative team.
"As our investigation has matured and new evidence has come to light, in a spirit of integrity we feel it only fitting to inform you that your clients' status has changed to 'Target,'" Willis' office said in letters to the fake electors, according to a defense filing.
Lawyers for 11 of those subpoenaed have filed a motion to excuse their clients from appearing before the jury.
Top Trump Allies Subpoenaed
Numerous high profile Trump allies have been subpoenaed by the grand jury. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer involved in the attempt to overturn the election results, has been ordered to testify on August 9.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has also been subpoenaed, and had attempted to quash his subpoena in federal court in South Carolina. He has agreed to file any challenges to a subpoena in the investigation in state or federal courts in Georgia.
Others subpoenaed include Trump attorneys John Eastman, Kenneth Chesebro, and Cleta Mitchell, as well as U.S. Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia.