In a court motion filed Tuesday, Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis (D) asked for attorney Kimberly Bourroughs Debrow, who represents 10 of the alternate Republican electors, to be removed from “any further participation” in the case. Prosecutors claim Debrow committed an ethical breach by representing so many clients simultaneously – including electors who have “made adverse claims” against other electors that Debrow represents, which prosecutors say is clear conflict of interest.
The filing cites interviews Fulton County prosecutors conducted on April 12 and April 14 with some of the electors represented by Debrow, which Debrow attended.
“During these interviews, some of the electors stated that another elector represented by Ms. Debrow committed acts that are violations of Georgia law and that they were not party to these additional acts,” the filing states. “Additionally, in these interviews, some of the electors represented by Ms. Debrow told members of the investigation team that no potential offer of immunity was ever brought to them in 2022.”
Prosecutors say those claims are in “direct conflict” with statements made in court last year by attorney Holly Pierson, who previously served as Debrow’s co-counsel in the case. Pierson told a judge they had informed their clients about offers of immunity made by Willis’s office as prosecutors sought their testimony before a special purpose grand jury impaneled to investigate alleged 2020 election interference.
Debrow did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Pierson — who now represents just one of the electors, Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer — said the prosecution allegations are “entirely false” and that the court “already has documents in its possession … that prove the DA’s allegations false.”
“Sadly, the DA’s office continues to seem more interested in media attention, trampling on the constitutional rights of innocent citizens, and recklessly defaming its perceived opponents than in the facts, the law, or the truth,” Pierson said in an email.
The motion comes as Willis has signaled she is close to making public her decision on whether she will file charges in the high stakes investigation, which has ensnared not only Trump and some of his closest aides and allies but a litany of prominent Republicans including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and several top Georgia officials, including Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who were targets of Trump’s lobbying to overturn Joe Biden’s narrow victory in the state.
Willis, a longtime Fulton County prosecutor who was elected district attorney in 2020, launched her investigation into alleged election interference just days after a recording was made public of a January 2021 phone call that Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger urging him to “find” enough votes to overturn Trump’s defeat in Georgia.
It was one of several calls Trump and his associates made to Georgia officials prodding them to undertake efforts to change the results of the state’s presidential election, which Trump lost by fewer than 12,000 votes.
But Willis has indicated publicly and in court filings that her office’s investigation has expanded include several other lines of inquiry, including false claims of election fraud that Giuliani and other Trump associates made to Georgia state lawmakers; threats and harassment targeting Georgia election workers; and the alternate Republican electors.
Willis and her team are said to be closely examining not only Trump’s phone calls but what knowledge he had and role he played in efforts including those false electors. Willis has indicated she is eyeing Georgia’s expansive anti-racketeering law as she considers whether Trump and his allies conspired to break the law in seeking to overturn the state’s election results.
Willis told The Washington Post last year that she and other prosecutors had heard credible allegations that serious crimes had been committed and that she believed some people could be facing prison sentences.
At least 18 people have been notified they are targets of the election interference investigation, according to court documents and statements from their attorneys. That list includes Giuliani and the slate of 16 alternate Republican electors.
Last year, Willis sought the testimony of those electors before the special grand jury, but only one is known to have been among the 75 witnesses who appeared before the panel.
Last year, prosecutors waged a battle to block Pierson and Debrow from jointly representing 11 of those GOP electors, describing it as a violation of legal and ethical rules.
In November, Judge Robert McBurney, who presided over the special grand jury, ruled that Shafer could not share an attorney with the other 10 electors represented by Pierson and Debrow. At that time, Pierson took Shafer’s case, while Debrow represented the other group.
The legal fees for Shafer and the 10 electors are being paid by the Georgia Republican Party.
Willis’s filing Tuesday indicates that some of those electors who had been reluctant to give testimony in the case may now be cooperating with the investigation – though it was not immediately clear if that was because they had been granted immunity or if any had provided information beyond interviews with prosecutors.
A spokesman for Willis declined to comment.
The special grand jury was dissolved in January after issuing a final report on its findings. That report remains mostly sealed to protect the rights of “potential future defendants,” according to McBurney.
But Emily Kohrs, the panel’s forewoman, has said the grand jury recommended the indictment of several people. She has declined to say whether Trump was among them — citing McBurney’s instruction to keep jury deliberations private until prosecutors decide whether to file charges — but also told reporters the public would not be “shocked” at the panel’s recommendations given news about the case.
Last month, Trump’s Georgia-based legal team — Drew Findling, Jennifer Little and Marissa Goldberg — seized on Kohrs’s public comments about the grand jury proceedings as they filed a motion to quash the panel’s report and block prosecutors from using any evidence gathered during the investigation. They argued the panel was “unconstitutional” and had violated Trump’s due process rights.
Trump’s lawyers also sought to remove Willis and her office from the case along with McBurney — suggesting he had given poor advice to the grand jury. McBurney, who continues to oversee the case, has ordered prosecutors to file a response to Trump’s legal team by May 1.
Willis has said little publicly about her timeline for potentially bringing a case. In January, Willis told McBurney during a court hearing that charging decisions were “imminent,” but she later clarified to a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she did not necessarily mean she would announce those decisions anytime soon.
Tuesday’s filing indicates that Willis’s investigation continues to be active, and a source close to the case has said prosecutors are continuing to review evidence as Willis nears her public announcement on potential indictments.
To bring charges, Willis would have to present her case to a regular grand jury that, unlike the special-purpose grand jury, has the power to bring criminal indictments. In Fulton County, grand jury terms begin every two months. The next panels are scheduled to begin the first week of May.