Georgia prosecutors 'target' 16 'fake electors' in 2020 election probe

Prosecutors said "matured and new evidence came to light."

July 20, 2022, 2:44 PM

The Georgia district attorney probing former President Donald Trump and his allies' efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state has notified 16 people identified as "fake electors" that they have been targeted in the ongoing criminal investigation, prosecutors revealed in court documents filed on Tuesday.

PHOTO: In this Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, an alternate slate of electors nominated by the Republican Party of Georgia cast their own electoral votes for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta.
In this Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, an alternate slate of electors nominated by the Republican Party of Georgia cast their own electoral votes for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta.
Ben Gray/AP, FILE

Those 16 individuals, who allegedly participated in a scheme to overturn the state's election results, received letters "alerting that person both that [their] testimony was required by the special purpose grand jury and that [they were] target of the investigation" the filing said.

The Fulton County district attorney has been probing the effort to overturn the 2020 election results since last February, including the so-called "fake elector" plan -- which has gained increased scrutiny and come under focus in other investigations around the country probing efforts to overturn the 2020 election around the country.

The target notification came after the Georgia investigation "matured and new evidence came to light," prosecutors said, according to a separate filing by a defense attorney for 11 of the 16 individuals.

The attorney said the purported electors "did not and could not have had any involvement in or knowledge of" the alleged larger scheme by former President Trump's allies to put for the alternate slate of electors to overturn the election.

PHOTO: In this Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, Georgia Democratic Electors cast their Electoral College votes at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. 16 Electoral College votes were cast for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
In this Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, Georgia Democratic Electors cast their Electoral College votes at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. 16 Electoral College votes were cast for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images, FILE

He said in the filing that the actions of the "nominee electors" were "proper, and even necessary."

The Jan. 6 committee has described the plan, which appeared to have multiple iterations, as being set up by the Trump campaign in multiple swing states to assemble "groups of individuals in key battleground states and got them to call themselves electors, created phony certificates associated with these fake electors and then transmitted these certificates to Washington, and to the Congress, to be counted during the joint session of Congress on January 6th."

The Department of Justice is also examining the issue of fake electors as part of its own separate investigation, sources tell ABC News. Last month, DOJ subpoenaed Georgia GOP chairman David Shafer for information related to the effort to send a fraudulent slate of electors to Congress, according to sources familiar with the matter.

A lawyer representing Shafer declined to comment at the time.

Shafer sat for a deposition with the Jan. 6 committee as well, and his transcript is among those DOJ wants the committee to turn over.

PHOTO: In this May 2, 2022, file photo, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, center, sits with her team during proceedings to seat a special purpose grand jury in Fulton County, Ga.
In this May 2, 2022, file photo, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, center, sits with her team during proceedings to seat a special purpose grand jury in Fulton County, Ga.
Ben Gray/AP, FILE

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified to the Jan. 6 committee that Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani, his associates and "several" lawmakers discussed the plan around Thanksgiving -- and that she heard the White House counsel office say it was potentially illegal.

Giuliani has repeatedly downplayed his involvement with the Jan. 6 riot.

"My only involvement on January 6th was being invited to speak there," he said in a radio appearance last month in response to Hutchinson's testimony. "I had nothing else to do with it."

ABC News' Pierre Thomas, Katherine Faulders and Ben Siegel contributed to this report.

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