On Monday, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office confirmed to The Washington Post it is investigating whether Wood was a legal resident of the state when he cast his ballot in the Nov. 3 presidential election. The news was first reported by WSB-TV.
The inquiry was prompted by an email Wood allegedly sent a WSB-TV reporter stating that he had been living in South Carolina for “several months” after buying a home there in April, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office told the Atlanta TV station.
Wood, 68, denied he had moved out of the state before the election. It wasn’t until Monday, Wood said, when he filed paperwork to make the South Carolina property he purchased in April 2020 his new official residence.
“I’ve always been a resident of the state of Georgia until I declared the change of residency yesterday to South Carolina,” Wood told The Post late Tuesday. “I never considered myself domiciled in 2020 anywhere than Georgia.”
Wood, a celebrity defamation lawyer, rose to fame after taking on clients like Richard A. Jewell, a security guard who was wrongfully accused of planting a bomb that killed one woman and injured more than 100 people during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. More recently, he has represented Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager charged with fatally shooting two people at protests in Kenosha, Wis.
In December, Wood filed a federal lawsuit looking to overturn Georgia’s presidential election results by alleging the state’s voting procedures involving mail-in ballots and signature matching were unlawful. Earlier that month, an appeals court rejected a similar lawsuit filed by Wood contesting the election results. That same court also rejected another lawsuit filed by Wood and attorney Sidney Powell that sought to examine voting machines.
One day after the Capitol riot last month, Twitter permanently suspended two of the pro-Trump lawyer’s accounts over tweets that, according to the platform, incited violence. After he was expelled from Twitter, he took to Parler. One post appeared to threaten then vice president Mike Pence. It read: “Get the firing squads ready. Pence goes FIRST.” The site later removed the post.
Last week, his alma mater, Mercer University in Macon, Ga., held discussions about removing his name from the school’s courtroom after students and alumni demanded the change. The State Bar of Georgia, meanwhile, said it was investigating Wood under a rule involving mental incapacity or substance abuse “to the extent of impairing competency as a lawyer,” the Associated Press reported.
The new inquiry into Wood’s voting status began with an email to a WSB-TV reporter that read: “I have been domiciled in South Carolina for several months after purchasing property in the state in April.”
Georgia code states that a person can no longer be considered a Georgia resident if they move to “another state with the intention of making it such person’s residence.”
But Wood told The Post he is sure he did not violate that section of the code because “the requirements for voting in a state are based on residency,” not a temporary address.
“I spent time in South Carolina, but I never had any intent to change my residency,” Wood told The Post.
Hypothetically, he said, “I can go to Hawaii for seven months and still be a resident of Georgia.”
Asked where he had spent most of his time in 2020, Wood, who also owns two properties in Georgia, declined to provide specifics, adding that he “probably” spent more time in Georgia.
“I’m confident that I spent more time in Georgia than in South Carolina, but it doesn’t matter because in 2020 I always considered my residency to be in the state of Georgia,” Wood told The Post. “I didn’t change it until yesterday, Feb. 1.”
Wood called the investigation a “sham,” and a “retaliatory act” after challenging the state’s election results.
“I voted legally,” Wood said. “If somebody wants to challenge that, then I would deal with it accordingly.”