At least eight of the 16 Georgia Republicans who convened in December 2020 to declare Donald Trump the winner of the presidential contest despite his loss in the state have accepted immunity deals from Atlanta-area prosecutors investigating alleged election interference, according to a lawyer for the electors.

Prosecutors with the office of Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis told the eight that they will not be charged with crimes if they testify truthfully in her sprawling investigation into efforts by Trump, his campaign and his allies to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia, according to a brief filed Friday in Fulton County Superior Court by defense attorney Kimberly Bourroughs Debrow.

Fani Willis

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on April 19 in Atlanta. Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Willis has said that the meeting of Trump’s electors on Dec. 14, 2020, despite Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s certification of Biden’s win, is a key target of her investigation, along with Trump’s phone calls to multiple state officials and his campaign’s potential involvement in an unauthorized breach of election equipment in rural Coffee County, Ga.

Georgia was among seven states where the Trump campaign and local GOP officials arranged for alternate electors to convene with the stated purpose of preserving legal recourse while election challenges made their way through the courts. Among the questions both Willis and federal investigators have explored is whether the appointment of alternate electors and the creation of elector certificates broke the law. Another question is whether Trump campaign officials and allies initiated the strategy as part of a larger effort to overturn Biden’s overall victory during the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021.

The news that some – but likely not all – of the electors will not be charged raises new questions about the scope of Willis’s examination of the meeting of electors, all of whom she had previously identified as criminal targets in her investigation. The electors who accepted immunity did so without any promise that they would offer incriminating evidence in return, and they all have stated that they remain unified in their innocence and are not aware of any criminal activity among any of the electors, Debrow said.

“In telling the truth they continue to say they have done nothing wrong and they are not aware of anyone else doing anything wrong, much less criminal,” said an individual familiar with the investigation who requested anonymity to discuss the case.


Among the electors who appear to remain targets are David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party who presided over the gathering, and Shawn Still, a state senator who at the time was state finance chair for the party and who told congressional investigators he played a role confirming electors’ identities and admitting them into the room at the Georgia Capitol where they convened.

None of the electors responded to efforts by The Washington Post to reach them. Shafer has denied that convening to cast electoral votes for Trump was improper, saying repeatedly – including during the gathering itself – that the electors were meeting on a contingency basis to preserve Trump’s legal remedy in the event that he prevailed in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the Georgia result.

Under federal law, electors for the winning presidential candidate in each of the states must meet on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December to cast their votes. The Republican electors said that if they had not met and voted, and if Trump had prevailed in his lawsuit, Biden’s electoral votes would have been invalidated but there would have been no Trump votes to replace them.

David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, talks with reporters at the Georgia Capitol Building in Atlanta in 2020. Photo for The Washington Post by Kevin D. Liles

Friday’s filing was the latest in an escalating back and forth between prosecutors and attorneys for the Republicans electors, who have traded allegations of unethical conduct since last summer.

In the latest volley, Debrow accused prosecutors of misrepresenting the facts – a reference to an April 18 motion from Willis asking a judge to block Debrow from “any further participation” in the case, claiming the attorney did not tell her clients they had been offered potential immunity in the investigation.

That motion also claimed Debrow had committed an ethical breach by representing so many clients simultaneously, including some that prosecutors said had incriminated others that Debrow represents in interviews with prosecutors conducted last month. Willis argued that was a conflict of interest.


In her response Friday, Debrow vehemently denied both allegations – and accused prosecutors of knowing that their allegations were not true. She cited a letter to her clients dated last August that laid out early discussions of potential immunity offers. She also said that all eight of her current clients have accepted immunity, making it impossible for them to implicate each other. She added that after reviewing audio recordings and transcripts of her clients’ interviews with prosecutors, which she attended, she has found no evidence that any of them implicated anyone else.

“This statement is categorically false, and provably so,” Debrow wrote. “None of the interviewed electors said anything in any of their interviews that was incriminating to themselves or anyone else, and certainly not to any other elector represented by defense counsel.”

She added that Willis’s motion was “reckless, frivolous, offensive, and completely without merit” – and she asked court to impose sanctions on prosecutors in the form of payment of the cost of responding to the motion.

Debrow also accused Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor in the case, of attempting to mislead at least three of her clients by asking “confusing” questions about when they had first been presented with offers of immunity.

Debrow claimed in the filing that when she sought to clarify Wade’s questions about immunity during an interview with one of her clients, identified in the filing as “Elector E,” Wade ordered a prosecution investigator in the room to shut off a recording device before engaging in what she described as “overt threats and attempted intimidation” against both her and her client.

According to the filing, the exchange was captured on Debrow’s tape recorder, which continued to run.


“Here’s the deal. Here’s the deal,” Wade allegedly said, according to a partial transcript included in Debrow’s filing. “Either [Elector E] is going to get this immunity, and he’s going to answer the questions – and talk (inaudible) wants to talk – or – or we’re going to leave. And if we leave, we’re ripping up his immunity agreement, and he can be on the indictment. That’s what can happen.”

A spokesman for Willis’s office declined to comment.

The dispute touches on a key uncertainty about Willis’s investigation, which is exactly what crimes she and her team believe may have been committed. In her April 18 filing, Willis indicated her belief that some electors, but not all of them, broke the law. Those who planned and helped manage the elector meeting – including Shafer and Still – appear still to be targets.

“During these interviews, some of the electors stated that another elector represented by Ms. Debrow committed acts that are violations of Georgia law and that they were not party to these additional acts,” Willis’s filing said.

According to two individuals with knowledge of the elector interviews with prosecutors, many of the questions centered around Still’s role restricting admission to the room in the state Capitol, and also around who mailed the signed electoral certificates to Washington. Debrow made clear in her response Friday she does not believe either action broke any law.

In testimony last year to the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, Still said he had been asked to verify electors’ identities before admitting them to the room. The meeting itself was open to the public and the press and was reported, with video, that day.


The legal back and forth comes just days after Willis said in letters to state and local law enforcement that she expects to announce a charging decision in the case between July 11 and Sept. 1 and urged “a need for heightened security and preparedness in coming months due to this pending announcement.”

The letters were the strongest indication yet that Willis may file criminal charges in the high-profile case, which not only has cast scrutiny on the actions of Trump and his closest allies but also has ensnared a litany of prominent Republicans, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, R-S.C.

The fireworks between Willis and defense lawyers began last summer, when she first sought electors’ testimony before a special purpose grand jury convened to investigate alleged election interference in Georgia.

In July, Debrow and Holly Pierson, her then-co counsel, asked a judge to quash those subpoenas, revealing their clients had been informed they were targets of the investigation after some electors, including Shafer, had already voluntarily spoken to prosecutors.

They accused Willis of “improper politicization” of the case and later asked for her office to be blocked from investigating their clients – requests that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who oversaw the special grand jury, denied.

In October, Willis sought to disqualify Pierson and Debrow from the case, claiming it was unethical and a conflict of interest for them to represent so many clients simultaneously.


Pierson and Debrow have strongly denied a conflict. In a November filing, they said even if a judge were to determine there was a conflict, their clients had been “fully apprised of the necessary information to make an informed choice to waive any such conflicts and remain in the joint representation.”

They insisted their clients were innocent of any crimes and pointed to the 1960 presidential election in Hawaii, when Democrats created an alternate slate of electors while the state conducted a recount. The recount flipped the outcome in the state from Richard M. Nixon to John F. Kennedy, and Congress ultimately accepted the Democratic electors’ votes, which could not have occurred had they not convened and voted in December.

McBurney later ordered Pierson and Debrow to split up their 11 clients – ruling that Shafer was “substantively differently situated” than the other 10 GOP electors jointly represented by attorneys.

“He is not just another alternate elector; his lawyers’ repeated incantation of the ‘lawfulness’ of the 2020 alternate electoral scheme and invocation of a separate electoral process from 60 years ago and 4,500 miles away do not apply to the additional post-election actions in which Shafer engaged that distinguish him from the ten individuals with whom he shares counsel,” McBurney wrote. “His fate with the special purpose grand jury (and beyond) is not tethered to the other ten electors in the same manner in which those ten find themselves connected.”

Pierson remained with Shafer, while Debrow took on the other 10 clients. Last week Cathy Latham, one of Debrow’s clients, indicated she had retained a new attorney in the case.

Latham, a former chairwoman of the Republican Party in Coffee County, Ga., has drawn scrutiny for her role as an alternate elector but also for her alleged involvement helping Trump allies copy sensitive election data information from voting machines in the county.


On April 28, Kieran Shanahan, a North Carolina attorney, gave notice that he was representing Latham in the case and filed a motion joining Trump’s attorneys in their recent request to remove Willis from the case and block evidence gathered as part of the special grand jury from being used any future legal proceedings.

Shanahan did not respond to a request for comment.

Another elector formerly represented by Debrow is also seeking a new attorney, according to Friday’s filing, but it did not say which one. That leaves Debrow with eight electors as clients, all of whom have immunity.

On Monday, McBurney gave Willis and her team until May 15 to respond to the Trump motion, which also claims Willis violated “prosecutorial standards” and Trump’s constitutional rights in part by publicly commenting on the case.


Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.

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