By Amee Vanderpool
A new court filing by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Tuesday has revealed that Georgia’s “alternate 2020 electors” have collectively told prosecutors that at least one group member engaged in illegal conduct. In her petition, Willis has asked Georgia Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney to “disqualify Kimberly Bourroughs Debrow in her simultaneous representation of multiple parties in this matter and prohibit her from any further participation in this matter, pursuant to Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct and other relevant law.”
Debrow is the current attorney of record for 10 of the fake Georgia electors, all of whom are no longer cooperating with each other in the 26-month investigation into the actions of Trump and several of his allies. Willis has called the mass representation an “impracticable and ethical mess” and cited a glaring conflict of interest issue.
District Attorney Willis also gave the court another example of Debrow’s immediate conflict of interest by explaining that Debrow was present last week when several of her clients simultaneously told prosecutors that another of her “fake elector” clients had engaged in illegal conduct. Additionally, Willis claims that Debrow and another attorney never approached their clients with an offer of immunity that was made by the District Attorney’s Office last year.
Both Debrow and Holly Pierson jointly represented all 11 electors until last November, at which time Judge McBurney ordered that David Shafer, the former Georgia Republican Party Chairman, who served as a leader of the alternate slate of electors, needed to have his own attorney. Pierson began to solely represent Shafer and Debrow continued to represent the remaining 10 electors.
In Tuesday’s filing, DA Willis revealed that several of Debrow’s clients said they were never told that they could have received a grant of immunity in the case. According to this latest court filing, Pierson told the court that she and Debrow had broached the subject of immunity with all of their clients but that none of them were interested.
While Debrow has yet to formally comment on the recent accusations made by DA Willis, Pierson has called Willis’s allegations “entirely false.” She also attempted to defend herself by slinging mud at the DA’s office. Pierson claims that Willis’ office “continues to seem more interested in media attention, trampling on the constitutional rights of presumptively innocent citizens, and recklessly defaming its perceived opponents than in the facts, the law, or the truth.”
Considering the previous ruling by Judge McBurney, which addressed the need to involve more counsel in the representation of the electors, it does not seem likely that he will overlook DA Willis’ request now. There are several allegations of unethical behavior that the Court is required to address, and ultimately the Georgia State Bar will more than likely be reviewing the actions of Debrow and Pierson with regard to the allegations that they never relayed the possibility of immunity to their clients.
Willis is expected to decide next month whether she will pursue an indictment on the case with the grand jury. Willis has already confirmed that each of the electors has “signed their names to the false certificate of vote purporting to be the duly elected and qualified presidential electors [for Georgia].”
Regardless of the ongoing state case led by Willis, the fake electors also face possible criminal charges at the federal level. A special 2020 Election Congressional Committee has already determined that the effort to impanel rival slates of electors in order to sway an election result was a criminal infraction and has made criminal referrals to the Justice Department.
While these investigations are being conducted in different state and federal jurisdictions, it would be reasonable to assume that if Fani Willis proceeds with a criminal indictment against the fake Georgia electors, Attorney General Merrick Garland will have the added pressure to proceed at the federal level. For now, it appears that each of the various prosecutors involved is focused on making sure that their case is solid and that no legal acts of reversible error occur that could hinder the cases on appeal.