Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has reportedly obtained evidence that exonerates Republicans she is targeting in her legal battle against former President Donald Trump and other Republicans who contested Georgia’s 2020 election results. This comes in light of the August 14 indictment, where Willis alleged that the existence of Republican electors for Trump constituted an unlawful “conspiracy” to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.
Among those indicted were David Shafer, one of Georgia’s 2020 Republican electors, and Ray Smith, who served as one of Trump’s lawyers during the contest. Willis claimed the electors, with Smith’s assistance, intentionally attempted to “mislead” figures such as then-Vice President Mike Pence and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger into believing they were the state’s official presidential electors.
However, a transcript of the Georgia Republican electors’ December 14, 2020, meeting obtained by The Federalist contradicts Willis’ allegations. The transcript suggests that the intent behind casting alternate electors was not to impersonate public officers but to lawfully preserve Trump’s legal challenge to the state’s election results.
Shafer clarified during the meeting that he and his fellow Republicans were acting as “Republican nominees for Presidential Elector,” not as the official presidential electors. He also explained that the casting of alternate votes was a necessary step to allow Trump’s legal challenge to continue.
The nomination of contingent Republican electors during the 2020 election mirrors efforts taken during the 1960 presidential contest between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. A dispute over who won Hawaii’s electoral votes led both Kennedy and Nixon electors to cast their votes for their respective candidates.
Unlike Kennedy, however, Trump never had his day in court over his legal challenges to those votes and others. But had the court ruled in Trump’s favor, the alternative electors would have been in place to ensure the will of the people was exercised.