Topline

Former Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro made his latest legal attempt to defend himself against charges in Fulton County, Georgia, Monday, weeks before his case goes to trial, arguing a state court should throw out charges against him for helping orchestrate a “fake electors” scheme that submitted false slates of electors to Congress after the 2020 election–by dubiously claiming they weren’t falsely elected.

Key Facts

Chesebro was indicted in Fulton County for his alleged role in the fake electors plot–part of a broader effort to overturn the 2020 election–in which he allegedly encouraged the Trump campaign and GOP officials to submit false slates of electors to Congress claiming former President Donald Trump, rather than President Joe Biden, had won the states.

Chesebro filed a motion trying to throw out two counts against him that charge him with conspiracy to commit false statements and writings as part of the fake electors scheme, before the case goes to trial.

The indictment alleges Chesebro and other defendants allegedly helped file Georgia’s GOP slate of electors despite knowing it made false claims, describing the electors as “the duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Georgia” who “do hereby certify” that Trump won Georgia.

Chesebro claimed in his filing that statement is actually accurate, because “the Republican presidential electors were qualified and elected by the Republican Party.”

Georgia’s voters, however, elected Biden over Trump in the popular vote, and electors voting for Biden submitted the slate of electors to Congress that was actually accepted.

The ex-Trump attorney also made several other legal claims in defense of the allegedly false statements, such as that the electors never actually intended to claim that they “hereby certifi[ed]” the vote count for Trump, because they said in public statements they were just trying to have a backup slate of electors in case Trump flipped the election in court.

What To Watch For

Along with Monday’s motion, Chesebro has also filed several other documents seeking to throw out individual charges and have the case against him dismissed entirely. It’s not yet clear when the court will rule on those motions, but if it upholds the charges, Chesebro is scheduled to go to trial–along with fellow attorney Sidney Powell–on October 23. The attorney faces potential prison time if convicted, including between one and 2.5 years for the conspiracy to commit false statements charges and up to 20 years for separate racketeering charges.

Chief Critic

“Good example of legal reasoning…the kind that got him indicted,” attorney Norm Eisen, a former White House ethics counsel and special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, said on X Monday about Chesebro’s filing.

Key Background

Chesebro is one of 19 defendants indicted in Fulton County for their alleged conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election, and Trump and allies like attorney Rudy Giuliani were also indicted in part for their role in the fake elector scheme. Chesebro allegedly helped orchestrate the false electors campaign, crafting several memos that laid out the effort. The attorney wrote in one note from December 2020 that while he was unsure the “bold, controversial strategy” would hold up in court, it could “buy the Trump campaign more time” to win litigation challenging the vote count and put more attention on Trump’s false voter fraud claims. Fake electors ultimately submitted slates of electors in seven states–Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin–none of which were successful in affecting the results. The effort was part of a broader strategy by the Trump campaign and allies to block Congress from certifying the vote count on January 6, which ultimately culminated in Trump supporters’ riot at the Capitol building.

Further Reading

Who Is Kenneth Chesebro? The Lesser-Known Trump Attorney Behind 2020 Electors Plot (Forbes)

Trump Attorney Kenneth Chesebro Was Reportedly Outside The Capitol On Jan. 6 (Forbes)

Ex-Trump Lawyer Kenneth Chesebro Pleads Not Guilty In Georgia Election Interference Case (Forbes)

Previously Secret Memo Laid Out Strategy for Trump to Overturn Biden’s Win (New York Times)

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