Trump supporters in Georgia are focused on challenging the district attorney in the Fulton case as their primary strategy.

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    Georgia Trump supporters are actively engaging in a multifaceted campaign to counter Fulton County’s election interference case, extending their efforts beyond the legal battleground. They are venturing into new arenas, utilizing the airwaves, influencing the legislative process under the Gold Dome, and making their presence felt at various Republican gatherings scattered throughout the state.

    This Saturday, the epicenter of this ongoing struggle was just outside a Reformation Brewery on the outskirts of Atlanta. Here, a group named the Georgia Patriot Legal Defense Fund took charge, offering $30 lunch combos and raffle tickets to generate funds aimed at covering the legal expenses for Donald Trump and the 14 co-defendants still entangled in Fulton’s expansive legal proceedings. The event served not only as a fundraiser but also as a rallying point for supporters to unite in their commitment to defending against the charges.

    On a stage typically reserved for college football broadcasts on autumn Saturdays, a modest crowd gathered to hear state GOP officials and conservative figures criticize Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. One notable speaker was David Shafer, the former party chair who faces charges, in part, for serving as a Trump elector. Describing the 2020 election as a “dumpster fire of ineptitude,” Shafer shared his reflections on his post-election actions, including leading a meeting of GOP electors at the Capitol to “preserve remedies” in court for Trump.

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    Shafer, who sued to decertify the 2020 results, expressed an unwavering commitment to his decisions, stating, “If I had to do it all over again, knowing the trouble that would come on me, I do not know that I would have done anything differently.” He emphasized adherence to federal law and criticized Georgia prosecutors for attempting to charge individuals with crimes under state law, contending that they were strictly following Georgia law.

    The events on Saturday are part of a rapidly evolving initiative by the Georgia GOP and its key supporters to rally Trump’s base against Willis. This strategy, however, has been largely avoided and even criticized by mainstream Republican leaders, including Gov. Brian Kemp. The Georgia GOP, represented by top officials at the event, released a compelling video urging donors to contribute to the fight against what they label a “political show trial.” The party has committed to covering legal fees for Shafer and two other GOP electors facing charges.

    Simultaneously, at the state Capitol, Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and other Senate leaders, potentially facing criminal charges as Republican electors, initiated an investigation into the persistent overcrowding of Fulton County’s jail. This probe is expected to scrutinize Willis’ handling of criminal cases. Additionally, powerful state Republican senators filed a formal complaint against Willis with the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, a new state panel with the authority to sanction prosecutors. While the outcome of the complaint is uncertain, it has become a prominent topic at conservative gatherings throughout the state.

    This resistance against Willis persists despite vocal warnings from the party’s top Republicans. The divergent strategies within the GOP regarding this legal battle underscore the internal dynamics and challenges faced by the party in Georgia.

    Both Governor Kemp and House Speaker Jon Burns have issued cautionary messages to fellow Republicans, urging them not to misuse the newly established state commission against District Attorney Fani Willis. Despite his victory over a Trump-backed contender last year, Governor Kemp has been clear that he will not support any attempts by Republicans to engage in “political theater” that only serves to intensify the current emotional climate.

    Furthermore, Governor Kemp has been actively building an alternative political network that, in certain aspects, has overshadowed the influence of the Georgia GOP. A party official, David Cross, expressed discontent at a recent fundraiser, lamenting that Kemp has seemingly “not lifted a finger” to assist the state GOP. This indicates a growing internal divide within the party, with some members expressing dissatisfaction with the governor’s perceived lack of support for the party apparatus.

    The tensions within the Republican ranks in Georgia highlight the complexities and power struggles at play, as different factions grapple with the aftermath of the 2020 election and the legal challenges that have followed. The cautionary stance from Kemp and Burns underscores the need for a measured and strategic approach, emphasizing the potential consequences of politicizing legal proceedings.

    Shafer, a presence at multiple fundraisers, is navigating the delicate terrain of discussing the case involving District Attorney Fani Willis and other co-defendants. Similar to his fellow defendants, Shafer, under the constraints of his $75,000 bond, is prohibited from intimidating co-defendants or witnesses and obstructing the administration of justice. Recent events, such as Willis’s move to revoke the bond of another defendant, Harrison Floyd, due to disparaging remarks made about potential witnesses on social media and conservative podcasts, underscore the scrutiny facing those involved. A hearing on this matter is scheduled for Tuesday.

    In a careful selection of words spanning approximately five minutes, Shafer highlighted the recent development where Willis imposed a June deadline for plea agreements, warning of recommending maximum sentences for non-compliance. Shafer, facing charges of impersonating a public officer, forgery, false statements, and attempting to file false documents, outlined the gravity of the situation. The charges stem from a plan to allocate the state’s electoral votes for Trump, despite Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia.

    Despite the seriousness of the indictment, Shafer maintained a somewhat grim sense of humor, acknowledging the potential consequences of an 80-year prison sentence for himself. With a touch of irony, he remarked that he might “get out sometime in the next century.” This blend of careful wording, acknowledgment of legal consequences, and a touch of dark humor encapsulates the tense and uncertain atmosphere surrounding the legal proceedings involving Trump’s allies in Georgia.

    Shafer asserted that the intention behind his prosecution extended beyond his individual case; it served as a warning to others contemplating questioning, protesting injustice, or highlighting problems. According to him, the underlying message was clear: individuals should exercise caution before engaging in such actions, or they might face consequences similar to what he is undergoing.

    However, Shafer contextualized his legal defense within a larger ideological struggle. He emphasized that the significance of this legal battle transcends the specific individuals facing charges. Instead, he portrayed it as a pivotal moment in determining the kind of country the United States will become. Central to this struggle is the question of whether the laws will safeguard the principles of free speech and dissent.

    Despite the challenges he faces, Shafer expressed a steadfast commitment to his cause and did not foresee a plea deal in his future. Interestingly, he refrained from criticizing the four co-defendants who have chosen to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for reduced charges. This nuanced perspective adds layers to Shafer’s stance, illustrating the complexity and differing strategies within the group of defendants facing legal repercussions.

    Shafer affirmed his unwavering commitment to the fight ahead, stating, “As long as I have the strength and resources, I will dedicate everything within my power to combat this legal battle.” This declaration underscores his determination to persevere despite the challenges he may encounter. Shafer’s resolute stance suggests that he views the ongoing legal proceedings not only as a personal endeavor but as a broader commitment to a cause or principle. This determination to utilize all available means implies a readiness to navigate the complexities of the legal system and deploy resources to contest the charges against him.

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