3 Georgia Trump Election Case Removals Scheduled Together

A District Court Judge has combined the evidentiary hearings for the three defendants into one hearing.
3 Georgia Trump Election Case Removals Scheduled Together
David Shafer, Georgia GOP chairman, speaks at the opening ceremony of GOP’s Asian Pacific American Community Center in Berkeley Lake, Ga., on Sept. 17, 2021. (Roland Ree/The Epoch Times)
Catherine Yang

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.

Jeffrey Clark, former Department of Justice official, has a hearing scheduled Sept. 18. Ahead of the hearing, Mr. Clark also submitted a brief arguing against the points the prosecution made in Mr. Meadows's hearing on removing his case.

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.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis's office, which is prosecuting the case, filed opposing responses to the two alternate electors' requests for removal.

'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 the "deep dive into the history and evolution of presidential electors" was "unnecessary" and that "there is no authority anywhere" that supports the actions they were charged for.

The prosecutors argued that because the governor had, in fact, certified election results, the Republican electors were "fake" and "fraudulent."

The alternate electors argue that they sought to emulate Richard Nixon's 1960 challenge of the Hawaii election results, properly submitting an alternate slate of votes. In an opposing reply, Mr. Shafer's attorneys argue that it's Congress, not a state governor, that certifies votes.

The prosecutors are asking the judge to deny the removals, remanding them back to state court where the district attorney would retain jurisdiction.

The prosecutors have been pushing for all of the 19 defendants to be tried together, but it has already been decided that two defendants—attorneys Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell—will be tried on Oct. 23, separate from the rest. The state judge has also hinted at further severing defendants' cases, which would require the prosecution to bring their 150-witness racketeering case forth in full each time.
Mr. Still won't be present at the Sept. 20 hearing, waiving his right in a notice filed on Sept. 15.

Hearing in State Court

Also 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."

Correction: An earlier version of this article switched the names of the defendants seeking removals. The Sept. 20 hearing will take place for Ms. Latham, Mr. Still, and Mr. Shafer. The Epoch Times regrets the error.