ATLANTA — Federal investigators have interviewed several Georgia Republicans who refused to join a phony slate of GOP electors to help Donald Trump's failed effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The interviews, first reported by CNN, involved at least one Republican who decided to take his name off the electoral list, along with one other activist who rejected an offer to join the group. In all, four Republicans decided not to join the slate of 16.
Patrick Gartland said investigators pressed him on whether he talked to Trump or Rudy Giuliani, the former president's attorney. He said they "probably left disappointed" when he told them he had no interaction with them or other top GOP figures.
"Basically, they thought I was doing it because I was mad Trump lost," said Gartland, who said he decided not to join the slate because his wife died, not because of any political reason. "I told them I know a lot of somebodies but that I was a nobody."
Jason Shepherd, a former Cobb GOP chair, was also interviewed by federal investigators who sought specific documents after Oct. 1, 2020, that were related to discussions on the alternate slate of electors.
"I didn't have much to share. I searched for relevant documents and couldn't find anything," Shepherd told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It was very cut and dry. If I had anything I would have shared it."
Gartland tried to recruit Shepherd to take his place, but he said he declined because by then it was clear the pro-Trump efforts to invalidate Georgia's election had failed.
Shepherd said he searched through texts, chats and emails but he had been kicked off a private GOP message group and didn't have access to dispatches from the "inner circle in state party leadership."
Shepherd added that he suspected prosecutors contacted the people outlined in a January 2022 AJC story about Republicans who refused to serve as false electors.
C.J. Pearson, who didn't serve as an elector because he moved to Alabama to attend college, said investigators contacted him but he hasn't been interviewed yet. He told the AJC he was willing to cooperate.