U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones has combined the upcoming evidentiary hearings for David Shafer, Shawn Still, and Cathleen Latham into one hearing on Sept. 20. The three are co-defendants in a Fulton County, Georgia, case against former President Donald Trump and 18 others, indicted on racketeering charges for their actions in challenging the 2020 election results.
Judge Jones has already denied the request of co-defendant Mark Meadows, former chief of staff to the president, to remove his case from state to federal court. Mr. Meadows is currently appealing the decision in the 11th Circuit.
Mr. Shafer, Mr. Still, and Ms. Latham were both alternate electors in the period cited in the indictment. The nature of the various defendants' removals aren't quite the same.
'No Authority Anywhere'Mr. Still and Mr. Shafer both made arguments that the role of an alternate elector was created by an act of Congress and thus falls under federal jurisdiction. They argued that even if they themselves couldn't be considered federal officers, it was undeniable that they were acting under the direction of federal officers, including the president of the United States.
The prosecutors argued that because the governor had, in fact, certified election results, the Republican electors were "fake" and "fraudulent."
The prosecutors are asking the judge to deny the removals, remanding them back to state court where the district attorney would retain jurisdiction.
Hearing in State CourtAlso on Sept. 20, Superior Court of Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee will hold a hearing regarding juror identities.
The prosecution has asked that all juror identities be kept secret throughout proceedings, which will be televised.
According to the judge's order, at least one media organization will object to the motion.
A request from Mr. Shafer to have an evidentiary hearing regarding improper conduct on the prosecution's part was denied by Judge McAfee.
Shortly after the indictment, Mr. Shafer received a brochure from the law firm Wade & Campbell, of which special prosecutor Nathan Wade is a part. The brochure was individualized with Mr. Shafer's name, reaching out to him as a potential client.
Mr. Shafer argued that this broke Georgia's rules of professional conduct that forbids prosecutors from communicating "about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer."
Ms. Powell, Mr. Clark, and Ms. Latham later joined Mr. Shafer's motion, having received similar brochures.
The judge ruled that these were "mass-generated materials" and didn't indicate intentional wrongdoing on the prosecution's part.
"While presumably embarrassing on the part of Special Prosecutor Wade and his firm, this case should not be sidetracked by matters which facially lack merit," Judge McAfee wrote. "Going forward, the substantive and unprecedented legal arguments generated by this case will require many hearings. But this is not one of them. The motions are denied."