Prosecutors in Atlanta have informed 16 Trump supporters who formed an alternate slate of 2020 presidential electors from Georgia that they could face charges in an ongoing criminal investigation into election interference, underscoring the risk of criminal charges that Donald J. Trump and many of his allies may be facing in the state.
The revelations were included in court filings released on Tuesday in an investigation being led by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County. They showed that while much attention has been focused on the House hearings in Washington into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and the extent to which the Justice Department will investigate, it is a local prosecutor in Atlanta who may put Mr. Trump and his circle of allies in the most immediate legal peril.
“This is a sign of a dramatic acceleration of her work,” said Norman Eisen, who served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the first Trump impeachment. He added that prosecutors typically work their way “up the food chain, so usually the first wave of target letters is not the last.”
criminal solicitation to commit election fraud — most notably his postelection phone calls to Georgia officials like Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state, whom he pressured “to find 11,780 votes,” enough to reverse the election results. A 114-page Brookings Institution analysis of the case, co-authored by Mr. Eisen, found Mr. Trump “at substantial risk of possible state charges predicated on multiple crimes.”
Ms. Willis, in court filings, has indicated that a number of other charges are being considered, including racketeering and conspiracy, which could take in a broad roster of Trump associates both inside and outside of Georgia. Ms. Willis is also weighing whether to subpoena Mr. Trump himself and seek his testimony, according to a person familiar with the inquiry, as she has recently sought the testimony of seven of his allies and advisers before the special grand jury.
Lawyers for 11 of the electors reacted strongly to the designation of their clients as targets, saying that a local prosecutor had no jurisdiction to determine which federal electors were fake and which were real. The lawyers, Holly A. Pierson and Kimberly Bourroughs Debrow, accused Ms. Willis of “misusing the grand jury process to harass, embarrass, and attempt to intimidate the nominee electors, not to investigate their conduct.”
Ms. Willis’s office did not immediately comment, but she has said that “anything that is relevant to attempts to interfere with the Georgia election will be subject to review.”
been identified as targets of Ms. Willis’s investigation: David Shafer, a Trump ally who chairs the state Republican Party, and Burt Jones, a Georgia state lawmaker who is running for lieutenant governor.