Federal Criminal Charges Over Multi-State Fake Elector Scheme Floated

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Individuals including David Shafer, the current chairperson of the Georgia Republican Party, could face criminal charges for their roles in a multi-state scheme to assemble falsified electoral votes on Trump’s behalf in states that Biden won, a new report from The Atlanta-Journal Constitution explains. The possibility of criminal charges has already been floated elsewhere, such as in Michigan, where state Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) suggested forgery of public records as a criminal act possibly inherent in the scheme. In Georgia, “Legal experts interviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution cited various federal and state laws against false statements, forgery, racketeering and election fraud that the alternative electors might have violated,” that newspaper explains.

It’s worth noting in relation to the potential racketeering charges that it’s been revealed that the Trump team itself, including longtime Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, was involved in coordinating the fake electoral vote plot. (Conspiracy is an element of racketeering.) Justifications from those behind the whole thing have included the notion that the scheme could’ve helped preserve the legitimacy of supposedly sincere challenges to the election outcome — but there has never been any real-world indication that the election’s outcome, once determined, could be legitimately changed. The general mechanisms of the multi-state scheme to assemble these fake electoral votes involved groups of Republicans meeting to sign off on claims that they were the legitimate electoral college members from their state, with documentation of these legally baseless notions subsequently getting submitted to federal authorities. In Georgia, the fake electors were able to hold their gathering to sign off on these claims in the state Capitol.

Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis, who is already investigating other components of Trump’s attempts to overturn the Georgia presidential election outcome, could end up investigating the fake electoral vote plot in her state, the Journal-Constitution notes. Former federal official Norm Eisen told the outlet that it “would be hard to understand how, given the direction of the [district attorney’s] work, that she and her team would not look at the role of fraudulent electoral certificates.” Besides Shafer (the state GOP chairman), other prominent Republicans involved in the Georgia scheme included state Sen. Burt Jones, who’s since turned to running for lieutenant governor.

Certain experts speaking to the Journal-Constitution said that whether those behind the plot intended to mislead observers regarding the election outcome would be an important factor to consider in any potential criminal case, although Georgia State University law professor Clark Cunningham said that “[assuming] these documents can be authenticated, I don’t think anything else is needed to obtain an indictment.”

Still, as criminal defense attorney Steve Sadow saw things, the “whole question it would come down to is, was the purpose behind this an attempt to mislead or misrepresent the presidential results from the state of Georgia.” The documents that were signed by these Republicans unequivocally stated — falsely — that Trump won Georgia, and even if those behind the materials hesitated to present these outright lies in other contexts, even the claim that there was any indication that the presidential election outcome was legitimately in question would be false. Read more at this link.