In criminal cases, it is common for defendants to challenge the charges in court before any potential trial, in an attempt to weaken the government’s case or, ideally for a defendant, have the charges dismissed. In Georgia’s election interference lawsuits against former President Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants, a recent argument earns points for creativity, at least (and perhaps at most).
It was a motion from Kenneth Chesebro, an attorney who pushed the “fake voter” aimed at creating fake electoral college lists in seven states that Trump lost in 2020. He is scheduled to go on trial next month alongside MAGA attorney Sidney Powell.
In a motion to quash, Chesebro essentially argued that Georgia’s Republican electors weren’t fake — or weren’t electors, or something — so, the argument goes, it can’t be charged with conspiracy to commit false statements and writings.
According to the indictment, one of his charges stems from a document containing the false statement that its signatories, “being the duly elected and qualified electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America of the State of Georgia, hereby certify as follows.”
This certainly looks like a misrepresentation if these people are not duly elected and qualified voters of the state.
But Chesebro argues in his motion that this was not a false statement because Georgia Republicans were “qualified and elected by the Republican Party.” He added that the electoral list “was neither certified nor verified, but neither did it claim to be”.
Once again, this is a creative argument, which still leaves it unclear how the defense gets around the scheme which is downright fraudulent. The Republicans didn’t get those voters because Trump didn’t win Georgia. Joe Biden did it.
Regardless, we should not expect Chesebro’s accusations to be dismissed on such an adventurous basis. But with that trial looming in October, we should find out from Judge Scott McAfee what he thinks of the argument as soon as possible.