BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | MAY 08, 2023
Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2023/05/08/defense-attorneys-allege-massive-misconduct-in-georgias-crumbling-get-trump-crusade/
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“At Least Eight Trump Electors Have Accepted Immunity in Georgia Investigation,” headlines uniformly blared on Friday. The legacy outlets echoing that narrative, however, buried the lead, which is that Fulton County’s get-Trump district attorney can’t even find incriminating evidence against the former president when she grants immunity to targets of her criminal investigation. A strong secondary story, also ignored or downplayed by the left-wing media, reveals multiple incidents of alleged misconduct by the D.A.’s office.
The attorney representing eight Republicans targeted by the Fulton County D.A. filed a scathing response on Friday to the D.A. office’s motion to disqualify her from continued representation of her clients. Kimberly Debrow’s 28-page response detailed several previously unknown instances of questionable conduct by prosecutors targeting Donald Trump, his lawyers, and several high-profile Georgia Republicans. And contrary to the misleading headlines of the last several days, Debrow revealed that none of the eight individuals granted immunity “said anything in any of their interviews that was incriminating to themselves or anyone else.”
How We Got Here
Debrow’s response began by providing an important backdrop to Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis’ motion to disqualify Debrow from the still-ongoing probe into supposed “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections in this state.” Willis’ probe began in earnest in January of 2022, when she obtained permission from the chief judge of Fulton County to impanel a “special grand jury.” While the “special grand jury” lacked the authority to indict anyone, it had subpoena power and was also charged with issuing a report making “recommendations concerning criminal prosecution.”
The special purpose grand jury issued its report earlier this year. Although much of the report remains under seal, in February a state court judge authorized the release of limited excerpts, including the grand jury’s conclusion “that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it.” However, as I detailed when the story broke, that conclusion is meaningless without context, and the context makes clear that Willis misrepresented to the grand jury — and the American public — the substance of then-President Trump’s telephone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021.
Specifically, Willis falsely portrayed Trump as asking Raffensperger to “‘find 11,780 votes’ in the former President’s favor.” As the transcript of Trump’s conversation with Raffensperger established, however, the then-president did nothing of the sort. Instead, during the call, Trump’s lawyer explained to Raffensperger that “the court is not acting on our petition,” and sought an investigation into several categories of votes that appeared cast in violation of Georgia law.
While Willis branded Trump’s call to Raffensperger a “central focus” of her investigation, as Friday’s court filing reveals, the Fulton County D.A. also targeted Republicans named as “Trump electors” from the 2020 presidential election. Initially, the D.A.’s office told those electors, all 11 of whom were jointly represented by Debrow and fellow attorney Holly Pierson, they were “solely witnesses in the investigation.” Under those circumstances, they voluntarily agreed to be interviewed by Willis’ team. In late April 2022, Nathan Wade, a “private attorney” Willis hired to be special prosecutor, interviewed two electors and then canceled a third interview before unexpectedly subpoenaing the Republicans to testify before the grand jury.
A legal dispute between Wade and the defense attorneys ensued over the extent to which the Fifth Amendment’s right against self-incrimination protected the electors from being forced to respond to questions before the grand jury. Before the court had a chance to rule on the matter, however, Wade informed the court that the D.A.’s office intended to offer immunity to one or more of the electors.
While not identifying which of the 11 electors the D.A. would offer immunity to, Wade represented that the D.A. was prepared to offer “full immunity from prosecution for any acts taken related to the December 14, 2020, meeting at the Georgia State Capitol to execute purported electoral college votes in favor of former President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Michael R. Pence.”
In response, Pierson and Debrow wrote to each of their clients, explained the existence and implications of the potential immunity offers, and noted whether a conflict of interest existed because the lawyers represented all 11 electors, but the D.A. would only be offering some of them immunity. The defense attorneys gave their clients a follow-up 13-page, single-spaced memo that comprehensively detailed the issues and then spoke with each client individually. All 11 electors opted to continue with joint representation and rejected the D.A.’s suggestion of immunity.
At the time, the defense attorneys informed both the court and the D.A.’s office of their clients’ decision, noting first their fundamental distrust of “the motives and intentions of the DA and the investigative team in this case,” and “their perception that this investigation into their lawful conduct is not based on (or even interested in) the facts or the law but instead is politically motivated.”
The defense counsel further noted their clients had “grave concerns” that if they testified truthfully “that neither they nor the other electors committed any illegal act or engaged in any sort of conspiracy with regard to the 2020 election the DA and your team would not accept that truth…” The electors thus feared prosecutors would “charge them with perjury or false statements to law enforcement officials or similar after their truthful, immunized testimony merely because the immunized witness is not in a position to tell the DA’s Office or the grand jury the story they want to hear.”
After the electors rejected the prosecutors’ overtures, the D.A.’s office responded by filing a motion to disqualify Pierson and Debrow, which would force the electors to hire new attorneys. In late November 2022, the court held that joint representation was permissible for 10 of the electors but that a conflict of interest required Chairman David Shafer to be separately represented. The electors and their attorneys then decided Pierson would represent Shafer and Debrow would represent the 10 remaining electors, and the court ruled such representation was permissible, over the D.A.’s objections.
Soon after, Debrow emailed the D.A.’s team to discuss a potential immunity deal, but it was not until April 4, 2023, that prosecutors responded. On April 7, 2023, Wade, the attorney Willis hired to be special prosecutor, provided draft immunity agreements for eight of the 10 electors. The two not offered immunity opted to obtain new legal representation, and Debrow’s remaining eight clients then accepted the revised immunity offers. Thereafter, seven of the eight electors sat for recorded interviews with Wade questioning them on behalf of the D.A.’s office and with Debrow representing them. The final elector was out of the country and thus has not yet been interviewed.
Manipulation and Intimidation
During Wade’s questioning, Debrow claims he attempted to mislead and confuse her clients by suggesting the D.A.’s office had previously made an actual offer of immunity in late 2022, as opposed to merely floating the potential for an immunity deal. In one case, Debrow detailed how, when she attempted to clarify for her client Wade’s misleading questions, the prosecutor threatened to leave, rip up the immunity agreement, and indict the elector.
The D.A.’s office then filed a second motion to disqualify Debrow, falsely representing to the court that “some of the electors represented by Ms. Debrow told members of the investigation team that no potential offer of immunity was ever brought to them in 2022.” The Fulton County D.A. knew that representation was false, Debrow stressed in her response, highlighting the evidence previously presented to both the court and prosecutors that detailed the extensive discussions Debrow had with her clients about the initial immunity outreach.
Willis also sought to force Debrow off the case by arguing some of her clients “stated that another elector represented by Ms. Debrow committed acts that are violations of Georgia law.”
“This statement is categorically false, and provably so,” Debrow countered. Here, Debrow first detailed her extensive legal experience, including her service as an assistant district attorney in three Georgia counties, before stressing she was present for every interview and would have recognized any such incriminating testimony. “Nothing even similar to any such statements were made by any of the interviewed electors,” Debrow said, adding that the transcripts confirmed her representation.
Significantly, Debrow told the court that “none of the interviewed electors said anything in any of their interviews that was incriminating to themselves or anyone else,” meaning they also had not implicated Trump, his lawyers, or any of the other potential targets of Willis’ criminal investigation. That fact was lost on the reporters, however, who since Friday have focused instead on the mere fact that the eight electors had accepted immunity agreements — implying that meant they had dirt to dish.
Ignoring the Real Story
The corporate media were likewise content to ignore the allegations of serious misconduct. Those included Willis’ misrepresentation to the court about whether the electors’ attorney had informed them of the prior immunity discussion and Wade’s alleged attempt to mislead and intimidate one of the witnesses by threatening to indict him.
Wade’s involvement here is particularly ironic given that a Fulton County judge held the special prosecution team could no longer investigate one of the electors, then-state Sen. Burt Jones, because Willis had hosted and headlined a fundraiser for Charlie Bailey — a Democrat seeking to challenge Jones in the general election for lieutenant governor. Wade, like Willis, had donated to Bailey’s campaign.
Noteworthy too is Wade’s work with Willis, as Wade was a private attorney whom Willis specifically hired to work on 2020 election investigation. Willis bringing on a pit bull to further her get-Trump efforts smells disgustingly similar to Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg’s use of outside “special assistant district attorneys,” including three from a high-powered, Democrat-connected law firm, to help find a way to indict Trump.
Also appalling is the attempt by Willis’ office to force Debrow off the case — a tactic sadly seen sometimes when a prosecutor proves unable to manipulate a witness into saying what the government wants.
The trial court has yet to rule on the Fulton County D.A.’s motion to disqualify Debrow, and maybe there will be something more of concern that the prosecutor omitted from the motion. But the detailed excerpts included in Debrow’s response brief appear to doom Willis’ attempt to force the electors to hire new attorneys. And if, as Debrow’s represented, the electors said nothing “incriminating to themselves or anyone else,” much more of the Fulton County D.A.’s case is likely doomed too.
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