A criminal investigation into the 2020 election in Georgia is picking up steam, and the embattled chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, David Shafer, is at the center of it. Shafer is being represented by lawyers who are arguing that he should not be charged with any crimes related to the election because he was following advice provided by attorneys working for former President Donald Trump.
In a letter sent to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis last week, Shafer’s attorneys said their client was relying on “repeated and detailed advice of legal counsel” when he organized a group of “contingent” electors from Georgia and served as one himself, thus “eliminating any possibility of criminal intent or liability.”
The letter comes as Willis and her team of prosecutors investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia are planning to make an announcement on possible charges against Trump or his allies later this summer. Shafer has come under scrutiny for his role in the effort to put forward alternate slates of electors to block the certification of the 2020 presidential vote.
At least eight of the Republican “fake electors” in Georgia have accepted immunity deals in the ongoing criminal investigation, according to a court filing last week, and the newly secured cooperators could offer insights into a key prong of Willis’ sprawling investigation into election interference.
Willis kicked off her investigation in early 2021 shortly after she took office, and soon after the infamous January phone call became public in which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary for Trump to win Georgia’s electoral votes.
The Fulton County probe expanded beyond the Trump phone calls to include false claims of election fraud to state lawmakers, the fake elector scheme, efforts by unauthorized individuals to access voting machines in one Georgia county and threats and harassment against election workers.
For his part, Shafer maintains that he was following the advice of Trump’s attorneys when organizing and serving as one of the alternate electors. He and his attorneys are now hoping that the district attorney’s office will take this into consideration when making their decision on whether or not to charge him with any crimes.
Only time will tell what decision Willis and her team of prosecutors will make, but it is clear that the criminal investigation into the 2020 election in Georgia is heating up. As the investigation continues, those involved will be closely watching to see how the district attorney’s office ultimately decides to handle the case.