One of the co-defendants in the Georgia election interference case has already stepped out and is blaming others for the charges at the heart of the unprecedented indictment.
This week, David Shafer, the one-time chair of the Georgia Republican Party, said that members of former President Donald Trump’s campaign, his team of lawyers and the local Republican Party were all responsible for urging Trump to create the infamous team of false electors.
Shafer is one of the 18 defendants who were indicted along with Trump by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on conspiracy charges for trying to get involved in the state’s 2020 election.
An attorney who is representing Shafer in the case wrote a petition this week that seeks to move his client’s case out of Fulton County court up to federal court. In the petition, the attorney wrote:
“Mr. Shafer and the other Republican Electors in the 2020 election acted at the direction of the incumbent President and other federal officials.”
In addition to those words, Shafer provided more documents that he believes prove that Trump was closely involved in the efforts to create a group of Trump allies in December of 2020 who signed documents that claimed they were the legitimate electors for the state of Georgia.
That group was eventually used by some of Trump’s allies as “proof” of why they needed to stop the certification of the Electoral College votes at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021.
Shafer was one of the people who signed the papers that claimed he was one of the presidential electors. He has claimed for some time now that he did so to try to preserve any chance that Trump might have to win Georgia in the 2020 election, should the lawsuits he filed and were pending at the time ended up being decided in his favor.
As part of his attorney’s filing on Tuesday, Shafer emphasized that the particular strategy that was used for the fake electors was driven rather exclusively by the team of attorneys that were acting on behalf of Trump. That team includes Ray Smith, who is another one of the co-defendants in the case.
The filing Shafer’s attorney made this week read:
“[A]n attorney for the President was at the December 14, 2020, meeting of the presidential electors itself and advised the Presidential Electors, including Mr. Shafer, that performance of their duties was necessary on behalf of the President and the Constitution.”
Among the documents Shafer submitted for consideration was a transcript of that meeting, which shows that Smith addressed the people in the group before they ultimately signed the documents.
The fact that Shafer has already come out swinging against his co-defendants foreshadows what is likely to be a very ugly internal fight among those who have been indicted in the case. Many people believe that more defendants are likely to try to shift the blame away from themselves and onto others – with some potentially agreeing to testify against Trump and higher-profile defendants in exchange for preferential treatment.