A federal judge has denied requests made by Trump co-defendants Cathy Latham, David Shafer and state Senator Shawn Still, to move their prosecutions in the Fulton County election interference case to federal court.
Judge Steve C. Jones was not swayed by arguments made by the trio that they had acted as federal officials at the time they voted for Donald Trump as electors for the Republican party in Georgia in December 2020, and therefore were entitled to have their cases moved to federal court.
“The Court first determines that presidential electors are not federal officers,” Jones wrote in all three orders.
Judge Jones concluded that party-appointed state electors who cast an electoral ballot are not tantamount to federal officers.
“By design, therefore, presidential electors cannot be individuals who hold a place of trust or profit or authority from the United States and thus, do not meet the office of trust category of being a federal officer,” Jones wrote. “Additionally, the role of presidential electors is to meet in their respective states, cast their ballots, and transmit them to Congress…There is nothing about these actions or the text of the Constitution that gives a presidential elector authority or command over any federal activities. Accordingly, including presidential electors within the category of federal officers is inconsistent with the plain meaning of the word ‘officer.'”
And although electors “are engaging in a federal functions when they meet and cast their ballots,” Jones said, “that is insufficient to make someone a federal officer. To find otherwise would convert all citizens who can lawfully vote into federal officers when they cast their ballot for U.S. House of Representatives.”
Still’s attorney, Tom Bever, said in a statement, “We are disappointed with the Court’s ruling. We will study the Order and consider our options.”
Earlier Friday, Judge Jones also declined to move co-defendant Jeffrey Clark’s case to a federal venue. Previously, he declined Mark Meadows’ attempt to move his case, and that decision is being appealed.