Georgia’s attorney general, who is investigating whether former President Donald Trump and others, illegally, in the state’s 2020 general election have told 16 Republicans who acted as fake voters that they could face criminal charges. They all signed an affidavit falsely declaring then-President Trump to have won the 2020 presidential election and declaring themselves “duly elected and qualified” in the state even though Joe Biden won the state and the Democratic electorate slate was approved.
Eleven of them filed a request on Tuesday to have their subpoenas rescinded, calling them “unreasonable and oppressive.” Also on Tuesday, US Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, agreed to lift any challenge to a subpoena in the investigation into either of the state’s two major courts. or federal court in Georgia, according to a court filing. He had previously filed an application in federal court in South Carolina to try to prevent any subpoenas being issued to him there on behalf of the Georgia attorney general.
Last year, Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis opened a criminal investigation “into attempts to influence the conduct of the 2020 Georgia general election.”
A grand jury of subpoenas was appointed in May at her request. In court filings earlier this month, she alleged “a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere.”
Willis’ office declined to comment on Tuesday on the proposal to cancel the subpoenas. Each of the 16 people who signed the false voter’s testimony have received a letter stating that they are the targets of an investigation and that their testimony before a special grand jury is required, a lawyer for Willis’ office said in a court filing Tuesday.
In a request to void the subpoenas, lawyers for 11 of the fake voters said that from mid-April through the end of June, Willis’ office told them they were witnesses, not persons or targets of the investigation. For this reason, they agreed to voluntary interviews with the investigation team, the movement says.
Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Schaeffer and another of the fake voters appeared for interviews in late April. On June 1, grand jury subpoenas were sent to 11 of these fake voters. On June 28, the attorney general’s office told their attorneys for the first time that their clients were considered targets, not witnesses, the memo states.
On December 14, 2020, when the official Democratic voters in Georgia gathered to certify the state’s electoral votes for Biden, the fake Republican voters also gathered to certify the electoral roll for Trump. They did so because there was a lawsuit challenging the election results pending at the time, and if the judge found that Trump had indeed won their electoral slate he would become invalid, according to the motion.
The movement says the attorney general’s office was aware of all of this and correctly described them as witnesses, leading them to agree to voluntary cooperation.
“The sudden, unsupportable, and public elevation of the status of all eleven candidate electors erroneously transformed them from witnesses who were voluntarily cooperating and ready to testify in a grand jury into persecuted targets,” the movement says.
As a result, their attorneys advised them to invoke their federal and state rights to protect them from self-incrimination, and they accepted that advice “reluctantly,” the lawsuit states. Their lawyers maintain that the change in status from witnesses to targets was based on an “inappropriate desire to compel them to publicly invoke their rights as, at best, a publicity stunt.”
Therefore, they should be exempted from appearing before the grand jury, the movement says. The motion is asking Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who is overseeing the special grand jury, to excuse the 11 electors from appearing before the committee. It also asks him to consider Willis’ actions “which indicate inappropriate politicization of this investigative process”. She asks him to agree to a motion on Friday by state Senator Bert Jones to remove Willis and her office from the investigation.
Jones, the Republican nominee for deputy governor, claimed the investigation was politically motivated because Welles is an active supporter of his Democratic opponent. McBurney on Tuesday set a hearing for Thursday on that motion. Willis’ office said Jones’ allegations were unfounded, and a lawyer representing the office wrote in a memo on Tuesday that Jones had not identified any actions that showed political motive.