‘Breakdown’ Episode 16: The Phony Slate

They attempted to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020; now they’re targets of the Fulton special purpose grand jury probe.

When 16 Georgia Republicans met at the state Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, they cast Electoral College votes for Donald Trump, who had not won the state’s presidential election.

The 16th episode of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Breakdown podcast – “The Trump Grand Jury” — revisits what happened that day and the consequences going forward. The false electors cast their votes the same day 16 Democrats, the official Electoral College electors, publicly cast votes for the man who’d been certified as the victor: President Joe Biden.

Fulton County prosecutors heading the special purpose grand jury investigation of former president Trump and his allies have notified the 16 fake electors that they are targets of the probe. This means they could be criminally charged for what they did.

In the episode “The Phony Slate,” Breakdown hears from three reporters — the AJC’s Greg Bluestein, Channel 2 Action News’ Richard Elliot and independent journalist George Chidi — who stumbled across the GOP meeting where the GOP “electors” cast votes that were later sent to Congress and the National Archives. The podcast also interviews legal experts who are closely following the case and who give their takes on what occurred.

Among those members of the phony slate of Republican electors trying to overturn Biden’s victory was state Sen. Burt Jones, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor.

This summer, Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney handed Jones a victory by disqualifying the Fulton DA’s office from further investigating him because District Attorney Fani Willis hosted a fundraiser for Jones’ opponent, Democrat Charlie Bailey.

ExploreThe latest on the Trump grand jury probe

But Jones is not in the clear yet. The Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia now has jurisdiction and could appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Jones. This means Jones, who is leading in the polls in the race for lieutenant governor, could face a possible indictment.

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ExploreListen to previous seasons of the AJC's 'Breakdown' podcast