Sixteen Georgia Republicans who falsely signed certificates claiming to be valid presidential electors have been named as criminal “targets” by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Politico reports. The DA is investigating efforts to overturn the state's 2020 presidential election results. Burt Jones, one of the targets of the investigation, is running to become lieutenant governor of Georgia. Jones accused Willis's investigation of being politically motivated. However, Willis said she plans to treat all 16 suspects equally. The Republicans claim to have acted lawfully, stating that they cast "contingent" electoral votes just in case a court ruled them as legitimate electors.
The Republicans also said they were unaware of any wider plot to overturn the election by Trump allies, including lawyers John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani, who ended up pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence to count the illegitimate votes. Willis subpoenaed multiple members of Congress, Georgia state legislators and many Trump allies. Many of these false electors played a role in Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. On Dec. 14, 2020, when electors met to cast their votes, Trump assembled “alternate” electors to hold mock ceremonies and cast ballots. Trump then used these false electors to pressure Pence into helping him overturn the election. Pence refused to join in on the plot, infuriating Trump and his loyalists, contributing to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots.