Former Georgia GOP chair wants his case moved to federal court

David Shafer is one of 19 co-defendants named in last week’s sweeping indictment of former President Donald Trump.
David Shafer is one of 19 co-defendants named in last week’s sweeping indictment of former President Donald Trump.
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 11:18 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2023 at 11:16 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - David Shafer, the former chair of the Georgia GOP and one of 19 co-defendants named in last week’s sweeping Fulton County indictment, wants his case to be tried in federal court.

Shafer joins former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former U.S. Department of Justice official Jeffery Clark in petitioning a federal court to hear their cases, rather than Fulton County Superior Court.

In a Monday filing made in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Shafer’s attorneys maintain, “Mr. Shafer and the other Republican Electors in the 2020 election acted at the direction of the incumbent President and other federal officials.”

Like Meadows’ motion, Shafer’s attorneys argue their client is immune to state prosecution under the constitution’s supremacy clause. That clause says that federal law takes precedence over state law.

“The Supremacy Clause plainly bars the State’s attempt here to criminalize the actions of persons acting pursuant to federal authority to achieve the purposes of the national government,” the court filing said. “Neither the State of Georgia nor any of its localities has the authority to prosecute Mr. Shafer for these actions, and this Court should exercise its clear authority to correct this injustice and halt this unlawful and unconstitutional attempted prosecution now.”

Shafer was one of 16 state Republicans who met at the state Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, to sign a certificate declaring Trump had won and also declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors. He also joined Trump in a lawsuit challenging the certification of the 2020 election in Georgia.

Clark, prosecutors allege, presented Department of Justice colleagues with a draft letter pushing Georgia officials to convene a special legislative session on the election results, according to testimony before the U.S. House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Clark wanted the letter sent, but Justice Department superiors refused, according to prosecutors.

On Monday, bond agreements were reached for five of the 19 co-defendants in the Fulton County indictment. Former President Donald Trump reached a $200,000 bond agreement and is set to surrender himself on Thursday. Shafer’s bond settlement is $75,000.

On Tuesday, the first co-defendants named in the indictment began surrendering at the Fulton County jail, including former Trump attorney John Eastman.

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