Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has tackled a major argument from three of the false electors charged alongside Donald Trump in Georgia.
David Shafer, Shawn Still and Cathleen Latham have argued that they were following precedent set by Democrats in Hawaii after the 1960 election when the three defendants signed certificates falsely claiming to be legitimate presidential electors favoring Trump after the 2020 election.
The three Republicans are seeking to move their cases to federal court.
Willis argued against the move in court papers filed Thursday, as first reported by Politico’s Kyle Cheney. She took aim at the Hawaii argument, which Republicans have long used to defend Trump’s false-electors scheme.
“Repeated invocations to ‘precedent’ allegedly set in Hawaii during the 1960 presidential election misses the mark by a wide margin,” Willis wrote.
“First, and this principle hardly seems necessary to explain, actions that did not result in prosecution 60 years ago — in a different jurisdiction, with different election code and criminal statutes, presided over by different prosecuting agencies, and with differing substantive evidence of criminal intent — provides zero protection for Defendant Shafer and his co-defendants who conspired to advance the 2020 fraudulent elector scheme in Georgia.”
“Second, the factual situations are so readily distinguishable as to make the comparison meaningless,” she added.
In 1960, after Richard Nixon appeared to have narrowly won Hawaii’s presidential election, the state’s governor certified the results in his favor.
However, when a recount indicated that John F. Kennedy might take the lead, Hawaii’s electors for Kennedy were given legal advice to sign certificates to ensure their votes would be counted by Congress if the recount changed the election result.
It did, and the Democratic electors were ultimately certified as the state’s legitimate slate.
Willis noted that when Hawaii’s Democratic electors met in 1960, an official recount was underway.
In the 2020 case, when Shafer and other fraudulent electors met, “two recounts had already been completed, each of which confirmed a margin of victory for then-candidate Biden of thousands of votes,” she wrote.
Several of Trump’s co-defendants are seeking to move their cases to federal court, including the false electors and Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, arguing that they were acting in their capacity as, or at the direction of, federal officials.
Willis asked the court to reject Shafer’s bid to move his case, pointing out he produced no evidence and “no coherent theory” to support that claim.