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Trump Election Attorney To Testify Before Fulton County Grand Jury

Talking Points Memo logo Talking Points Memo 8/8/2022 Josh Kovensky
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The attorney who penned memos arguing that the Trump campaign should create fake slates of electors after losing the 2020 election will appear before a Georgia grand jury later this month.

Kenneth Chesebro told TPM that he will appear before the Fulton County grand jury on Aug. 30.

A spokesperson for Fani Willis, the Fulton County District Attorney investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results in Georgia, did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment.

The grand jury issued a series of subpoenas last month to Chesebro and others who participated in Trump’s effort to contest the results of the 2020 election.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) received a subpoena from the grand jury, as did attorneys who advised Trump, including John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, and Cleta Mitchell.

Chesebro’s subpoena described him as a “necessary and material witness,” and said that Willis was interested in his testimony regarding the creation of the fake slate of pro-Trump electors in Georgia.

Chesebro, the subpoena said, coordinated the creation of the fake elector slate at the Trump campaign’s direction, working with leaders in the Georgia Republican Party — including state chairman David Shafer.

At the time, Trump and his allies were pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to rescind their decisions to certify Biden as the state’s winner. Producing a fake — or, “alternate” — slate of electors by what Chesebro regarded as the Constitutional deadline for their creation, Dec. 14, would give Georgia officials facing unprecedented pressure from Trump a way to name him as the state’s “winner.”

The Trump campaign ended up directing people to masquerade as legitimate electors in Georgia and several other states, all with the same purpose: so that state officials, or Congress, could select them as the “real” electors by January 6.

Unlike typical elector certificates, which tend to vary widely from state to state, the fake Trump elector certificates contained strikingly similar language, hinting at potential coordination behind the effort.

Per the Fulton County subpoena, Chesebro “provided template Microsoft Word documents” for state Republican officials to use at the meeting where the fake electors were created. The subpoena also cites unspecified communications in which Chesebro said that he worked closely with Rudy Giuliani on the “coordination and execution of the plan.”

Others who received the Fulton County subpoenas have elected to fight the criminal probe, rather than appear before the grand jury.

Sen. Graham filed a lawsuit in federal court in South Carolina to block the subpoena, while Giuliani was ordered to testify in the investigation after blowing off a New York state court hearing that had been scheduled for him to argue that he didn’t have to comply.

Chesebro, a former assistant to liberal lion and Harvard Law Professor Larry Tribe, drafted memos outlining the fake elector plan for the Trump campaign, while also representing the Trump campaign in Wisconsin and before the Supreme Court.

Recent reporting and revelations from the Jan. 6 Committee have suggested that those two efforts were often intertwined.

As Jan. 6 approached, the New York Times reported, Chesebro speculated about the Supreme Court’s view of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election with John Eastman.

Chesebro predicted in a Dec. 24 email reported by the Times that “odds of action before Jan. 6 will become more favorable if the justices start to fear that there will be ‘wild’ chaos on Jan. 6 unless they rule by then, either way.”

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