Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office
Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office
To do that, Floyd’s team has fired off a flurry subpoenas to a handful of state and local government agencies. Among the mountains of information it has requested: all mail-in absentee ballots cast in Fulton in the Nov. 2020 election, along with the envelopes they came in and every absentee ballot application; reports from Dominion Voting Systems, which manufactures Georgia’s voting machines; and forensic images of the servers used to count, tabulate and report election results.
Floyd’s team has also demanded an unredacted copy of the Secretary of State’s investigative report of alleged election fraud at State Farm Arena on election night 2020, where Freeman and her daughter were working, along with unredacted copies of any and all documents related to the report. That includes interviews FBI investigators conducted with a person who created a fake Instagram account that purported to be Freeman and posted about engaging in election fraud.
Floyd’s team believes the subpoenas will produce exculpatory evidence. If Fulton can’t reconcile suspicious-looking ballots, his attorneys in a recent court filing, “then the state’s indictment about many things including false statements evaporates—instantly.”
(The FBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Georgia Secretary of State’s office looked into allegations of widespread fraud after the 2020 election and found none, including at State Farm Arena. All legal challenges contesting Georgia’s election results were dismissed by judges.)
Even if they can’t prove that Trump outright won, Floyd’s attorneys said there is enough evidence to show that on January 4, 2021, when Floyd spoke with Freeman, his beliefs that there may have been substantial election fraud were not unreasonable and hence there was no criminal intent.
The Secretary of State’s office, Fulton County Clerk and Board of Registration and Elections have asked Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the case, to quash the subpoenas. Attorneys for the agencies have called Floyd’s requests “vague,” “unreasonable” and a “fishing expedition.”
During Friday’s hearing — the third anniversary of the 2020 general election — Jackson Sharman, an attorney for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, said Floyd’s requests would be overly burdensome for the agency to comply with and that “little or anything that is in these documents is relevant to intent.”
Similarly, Chad Alexis, a senior assistant Fulton County attorney, said Floyd’s requests could take upwards of six months for local government employees to fulfill given the sheer amount of documents requested and the amount of personal information that would need to be redacted.
Alexis said Floyd’s team is “trying to produce this evidence later on to retroactively prove something that happened three years ago.”
Floyd attorney Christopher Kachouroff said he expects the Fulton District Attorney’s office will introduce the certification of the 2020 election onto the record at trial, which shows that Democrat Joe Biden won Georgia’s electoral votes.
“I do not believe that we’re required to take what the state says is true and not be able to rebut it or contest it,” Kachouroff said.
Floyd’s attorneys said they would be willing to pay for the agencies to produce documents, or to enter into a protective order, which would give them access to the documents with court penalties if they later reveal any sort of personal information.
McAfee at times sounded skeptical of Sharman’s argument in particular, suggesting that the office likely received similar open records requests in the past. He indicated he was still grappling with how to balance the rights of defendants like Floyd and that of government agencies that are required to safeguard personal information of Georgia citizens.
He asked the secretary of state’s office to provide more information about how long it would take to compile the information Floyd is requesting and how much it would cost given the number of employees to review the documents for redactions.
Floyd is a former U.S. Marine who briefly ran for a Georgia congressional seat in 2019.
According to the indictment, he allegedly recruited co-defendant Trevian Kutti, a onetime publicist for Kanye West and R. Kelly, to visit Freeman. After Freeman and Kutti began talking at a police station, the latter placed Floyd on speakerphone, and the two spoke to the poll worker at length, pressuring her to reveal information about alleged election fraud and warning her she was in danger if she did not comply.
Floyd is also the sole defendant in the Fulton case to spend time behind bars in the Fulton County jail. He surrendered in August without first hiring an attorney who could work out a prearranged bond on his behalf.
During his five days behind bars, Floyd became a cause celeb in some conservative circles. A crowdfunding campaign on the Christian fundraising platform GiveSendGo has raised nearly $330,000 for his legal defense.
Floyd’s Georgia-based attorney, Todd Harding, has represented election skeptics in several lawsuits alleging fraud in Georgia’s 2020 elections and January 2021 Senate runoffs.
Staff writer David Wickert contributed to this article.