A state judge singled out Georgia Republican Party chairman David Shafer, one of the fake electors for Donald Trump, for the unique role he played in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the Peach State as part of a ruling on Wednesday.
Judge Robert McBurney, who is overseeing the special purpose grand jury investigation into 2020 election interference in Fulton County Superior Court, ruled that two attorneys for 11 of the so-called “alternate electors” in Georgia can’t represent all of them. McBurney cited Shafer’s central role as an organizer in efforts to overturn the election results.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, has already informed the entire group of 16 Republicans who served as pro-Trump electors – even though Trump lost the state in 2020 – that they are targets of her probe. The new ruling puts a spotlight on Shafer’s role in particular.
Willis, who is spearheading the investigation into efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the election, had attempted to disqualify Holly A. Pierson and Kimberly Bourroughs Debrow, who are representing the subset of 11 fake electors, saying their “simultaneous” representation is “rife with serious ethical problems” and conflicts of interest that violate the Georgia state bar’s rules of professional conduct.
In Wednesday’s ruling, McBurney said that Shafer is the “exception” and should be viewed differently than the other electors, and so it is “impractical and arguably unethical for Pierson and Debrow to represent all eleven together.”
“Given the information before the Court about his role in establishing and convening the slate of alternate electors, his communications with other key players in the District Attorney’s investigation, and his role in other post -election efforts to call into question the validity of the official vote count in Georgia, the Court finds that he is substantively differently situated from the other ten clients jointly represented by Pierson and Debrow,” McBurney wrote.
The judge cites evidence – including emails and other records in the case – that underscores Shafer’s unique role, but the nature of those supporting documents remains unclear as they were not detailed in the ruling itself.