Three Republicans who cast Electoral College votes for Donald Trump after the 2020 presidential election were acting as federal officers and doing what the law allowed, defense lawyers told a federal judge on Wednesday.
The Trump electors — former Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer, state Sen. Shawn Still and former Coffee County GOP Chairwoman Cathy Latham — are charged in Fulton County with conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election. They are seeking to get their cases removed from Fulton Superior Court to U.S. District Court in Atlanta….
Attorneys for the defendants argued their clients were “contingent” electors under the federal Electoral Count Act. Among other things, the law requires states to resolve legal disputes about the outcome of elections six days before presidential electors cast their ballots — the so-called “safe harbor” deadline.
When presidential electors met on Dec. 14, 2020, Trump’s lawsuit challenging the election in Georgia was still pending. That meant Gov. Brian Kemp’s certification of Democrat Joe Biden was no longer valid, argued Shafer’s attorney, Craig Gillen….
Cross called Gillen’s arguments “novel,” “nonsense” and “fantasy.” She noted that, after correcting deficiencies, Trump refiled his lawsuit the day before the safe harbor deadline. Under the electors’ argument, that gave the court one day to resolve the dispute.
Cross said the electors had presented no case law supporting the idea “that you can file a procedurally and substantively deficient challenge and, suddenly, everything’s up in the air.” She said the Republicans did not become federal officers simply by claiming to be official presidential electors.
“They were fake electors,” Cross said. “They were impersonating electors. They were not electors at all.”