Georgia fake electors indicted with Donald Trump ask to move their cases to federal court

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Three Georgia Republicans who were indicted with Donald Trump for allegedly posing as presidential electors to overturn the 2020 election asked a federal judge Wednesday to move their cases from state to federal court, but the judge has already rejected a similar request from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer, state Sen. Shawn Still and Cathy Latham argued their positions as federal electors should protect them from state charges.

“By federal law, these people were not fake, sham or impersonators,” said Craig Gillen, an attorney for Shafer. “They were contingent federal electors when they went and did their duty on Dec. 14, 2020.”

But prosecutors led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis charged them with impersonating a public officer, forgery and making false statements for meeting and submitting certificates supporting Trump for president despite Democratic President Joe Biden winning the state. Each of three has pleaded not guilty.

“These private parties did not transform themselves into public actors by a criminal act,” prosecutor Anna Cross said. “They were fake electors. They were impersonating electors.”

The case will help define when federal officials are protected from state prosecution for carrying out their official duties. Five of Trump’s co-defendants have asked to move their cases and Trump said he might make the request, too.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones has rejected Meadows’ request and he has appealed the decision. Meadows was charged with participating in Trump’s call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and asking him to violate his oath of office by finding enough votes to overturn the election.

Jones ruled in keeping the case in Fulton County Superior Court that states have a constitutional duty to govern their own election laws.

Jeffrey Clark, a former assistant attorney general, asked to move his case at a Monday hearing. Clark, who headed the environment and natural resources division at the Justice Department, was charged for drafting a letter that was never sent with false statements about Georgia’s election. Jones hasn’t ruled in Clark’s case yet.

Shafer, Still and Latham were not in court for the arguments.

David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, arrives before Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a "Save the Majority" rally, Dec. 10, 2020 in Augusta, Ga.

David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, arrives before Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a “Save the Majority” rally, Dec. 10, 2020 in Augusta, Ga.

Part of the overarching conspiracy was to have Republican electors in closely contested states such as Georgia meet Dec. 14, 2020, vote for Trump and submit their documentation to the National Archives and Congress, according to the indictment. Trump campaign lawyers argued that Vice President Mike Pence, in his role as Senate president, could recognize the alternate electors. But Pence refused to participate.

Shafer, Still and Latham have argued they met and filled out documents as presidential electors to preserve Trump’s options if any of his court challenges for alleged election fraud were upheld in court.

“Had we not meet today and cast our votes, the President’s pending election contest would have been effectively mooted. Our action today preserves his rights under Georgia law,” Shafer said in a post that day on X, formerly Twitter.

But Trump lost his court cases. Federal and state officials, including Raffensperger, found no widespread fraud.

In addition to the charges related to the fake elector plan, Shafer is also accused of lying to investigators for the Fulton County district attorney’s office. Latham is accused of participating in a breach of election equipment in Coffee County by a computer forensics team hired by Trump allies.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Georgia fake electors ask for federal trials for charges with Trump

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email [email protected]

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