Fani Willis has a meeting transcript that could exonerate the so-called “fake” electors that form the centerpiece of her indictment against Donald Trump and 18 others. That’s according to a new report from The Federalist, which details what was said in December 2020, including language that could prove there was no intent to impersonate the official electors.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis possesses evidence that exonerates several Republicans she’s targeting in her legal crusade against former President Donald Trump and other Republicans for their lawful contesting of Georgia’s flawed 2020 election.
In her Aug. 14 indictment, Willis alleged the existence of Republican electors for Trump constituted an unlawful “conspiracy” to overturn the Peach State’s 2020 election results. Among those charged for partaking in this so-called “conspiracy” are David Shafer, one of Georgia’s 2020 Republican electors, and Ray Smith, who served as one of Trump’s lawyers at the time of the contest.
David Shafer and Ray Smith are charged as co-conspirators with Trump in allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia unlawfully. Yet, the transcript in question shows both men discussing why they were doing what they were doing, directly stating that they were not putting together a group of alternate electors in order to falsify the election. Instead, in their minds, they were seeking to preserve the right for Trump to continue his court challenge of the results. Specifically, they describe themselves as “Republican nominees for Presidential Elector(s),” not the actual electors.
A transcript of the Georgia Republican electors’ Dec. 14, 2020, meeting, obtained by The Federalist, explicitly shows the intent behind casting alternate electors was not to impersonate public officers, as Willis alleged, but to lawfully preserve Trump’s legal challenge to the state’s election results. At the meeting’s outset, Shafer specifically noted how he and his fellow Republicans were acting as “Republican nominees for Presidential Elector,” not as “duly elected and qualified” presidential electors.
“[President Trump] has filed a contest to the certified returns. That contest — is pending [and has] not been decided or even heard by any judge with the authority to hear it,” Shafer said. “And so in order to preserve his rights, it’s important that the Republican nominees for Presidential Elector meet here today and cast their votes.”
During the Dec. 14, 2020, meeting, Shafer further clarified the legal rationale for filing alternate electors in a conversation with Smith, asking Trump’s then-lawyer: “And so the only way for us to have any judge consider the merits of our complaint, the thousands of people we allege voted unlawfully, is for us to have this meeting and permit the contest to continue?”
“That’s correct,” Smith replied.
While this doesn’t speak to the mindsets of the others in the indictment, it does seem to suggest that both Shafer and Smith understood they weren’t the official electors or that they had no intention to try to pass themselves off as such. Rather, they saw themselves as being on stand-by, in case Trump prevailed in his legal challenge of the results.
With that said, the transcript in question may not help Trump himself or many of the other co-defendants because Willis is relying on their words to show their alleged intent. Still, while a RICO case is complicated to prove and has a lot of moving parts if the jury hears this transcript, it could begin to chip away at Willis’ overall assertion of a criminal conspiracy.
At this point, it seems obvious that there were many people caught up in what was going on who had no reason to think they were breaking the law. That description could even apply to Trump himself, depending on what Willis does or doesn’t have up her sleeve. I think it would be tough to prove a grand criminal conspiracy was afoot if multiple members of the alleged conspiracy had no intent to do anything illegal. Still, because of how liberal Fulton County is, the judge and jury are the biggest obstacle for Trump and his co-defendants, not the evidence. That’s not a good thing for our justice system.