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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Georgia law allows for removal of DAs like the one who indicted Trump

Aug 15, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Supporters of Donald Trump are calling for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to be removed from office after she indicted the former president and 18 others. The group is accused of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, R, signed a bill into law in May that created a commission with the authority to investigate district attorneys and remove them from office if certain conditions are met.

The eight-member commission, called the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, is separated into two sections: a five-member investigatory panel and a three-member hearing panel, which is responsible for adjudicating claims and issuing disciplinary orders. 

The commission can open an inquiry after a majority vote by the investigative panel. Accusations can be brought forward by individuals with personal knowledge of an incident or the commission can begin an inquiry on its own motion. Allegations must be accompanied by a sworn affidavit. 

The law gives the commission the authority to remove or force the involuntary retirement of a district attorney under the following conditions: 

  • Mental or physical incapacity that interferes with the performance of duties that is likely permanent.
  • Willful misconduct in office.
  • Willful and persistent failure to carry out statutory duties. 
  • Conviction of a crime involve moral turpitude.
  • Conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the office into disrepute, or, knowingly authorizing or permitting an assistant district attorney or assistant solicitor general to commit any of the aforementioned acts. 

The law also outlines the exact requirements and statutory authorities of a district attorney. 

“My No. 1 priority is public safety across our state,” Gov. Kemp said in a statement when he signed the bill into law. “As hardworking law enforcement officers routinely put their lives on the line to investigate, confront, and arrest criminal offenders, I won’t stand idly by as they’re met with resistance from rogue or incompetent prosecutors who refuse to uphold the law.” 

The bill was championed by Republican leadership in the state Legislature. It came at a time when Republicans were expressing frustration and concern with a rise in violent crime in major cities and DAs who were not pursuing charges or lessening charges. 

There have been other efforts to remove prosecutors in Florida, Indiana, Missouri and Pennsylvania. Conservatives have criticized “woke prosecutors” who they contend have not done enough to fight crime. 

But Democrats in Georgia have expressed concern that the commission could be “twisted and turned into something else.”

Sen. Josh McLaurin, D, told the AP that while he supported the law’s overall concept, he feared Republicans would “use a commission like this, potentially, to harass or put the fire under prosecutors of a certain party in certain urban areas that don’t align with what state government wants.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., called for Willis’ removal Monday night, Aug 14.

Greene cited a copy of the indictment that was erroneously posted online before the grand jury had made its decision. The copy was subsequently removed. When asked about the leak, Willis said she is not familiar with the clerk’s duties or how the systems work for entering indictment information and did not want to speculate on how it happened. 

Trump and 18 others, including his attorneys Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman were charged Monday, Aug. 14, in a 41-count indictment that included a charge under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and charges of conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to defraud the state, and false Statements and writings.

Although they are indicted together, not every defendant faces each charge. 

The grand jury issued arrest warrants for the defendants. Willis is giving them until Friday, Aug. 25, at noon to voluntarily surrender.

Willis said she will request that the trial take place within the next six months, but that is ultimately up to the judge. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Supporters of former President Donald Trump are calling for Fulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis to be removed from office after she indicted the former president and 18 others. The group is accused of trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election. 

 

Under a new Georgia law, which just took effect in July, there is a way to remove District Attorneys in the state. 

 

The law created a commission which can open inquiries on its own or investigate an allegation that’s brought to them with a sworn affidavit. 

 

The commission has the authority to remove or force the involuntary retirement of a district attorney under certain conditions, including willful misconduct in office or willful and persistent failure to carry out statutory duties. 

 

The law was championed by Republicans in the Georgia state legislature who expressed concern and frustration with a rise in violent crime. They criticized prosecutors they called “woke” for not doing enough to hold suspects accountable. 

 

Democrats expressed concern that the commission could be twisted and used to harass or pressure DAs who’s views don’t align with the state government. 

When Willis announced Trump’s indictment Monday night, there were immediate calls for her removal. Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene cited a copy of the indictment that was erroneously posted online before the grand jury had made its decision. The copy was subsequently removed. When asked about the leak, Willis said she is not familiar with the clerk’s duties or how the systems work for entering indictment information and did not want to speculate on how it happened. Straight from DC.