Fulton County Judge Robert McBurney ruled Monday that Fulton County District Attorney (DA) Fani Willis is disqualified from her 2020 election interference investigation into Georgia Republican Lieutenant Governor nominee Burt Jones due to her participation in a fundraiser for Democrat candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, Charlie Bailey.
“Today’s ruling is a huge win for our campaign – but more importantly, for due process and the rule of law in Georgia. If Fani Willis and Charlie Bailey spent half as much time addressing real issues as they did grandstanding and using their offices to score political points, Atlanta might not have the record number of homicides that it does under their watch,” Georgia District 25 State Senator Burt Jones said in a Monday press release.
Today’s ruling is a HUGE win for our campaign—but more importantly, for due process and the rule of law in Georgia.
— Burt Jones (@burtjonesforga) July 25, 2022
In an email to The Georgia Star News, Jones and his team reaffirmed the statement they made after the news broke.
“While Charlie Bailey continues to run a smear campaign devoid of any substance, we’re going to spend our time talking about solutions to real issues that Georgians are facing every day – lowering costs at the grocery store and the gas pump, creating more high-quality jobs, improving our K-12 education system, and making our communities safer. That’s what real leaders do – and that’s what our campaign will remain focused on,” Jones said.
Atlanta Tea Party President Dooley spoke with The Georgia Star News on Tuesday about the development.
“The judge made the correct decision. Fani Willis has turned the Fulton D.A.’s office into an arm of the Democrat Party going after political enemies with wild-goose-chase investigations,” Dooley said. “Willis needs to focus on cleaning up crime-infested Atlanta and stop using the D.A.’s office as a tool to further her ambitions.”
Georgia 7th Congressional District Republican candidate Mark Gonsalves also agreed with the outcome.
“Fani Willis’ disqualification was warranted due to her self-imposed conflict when she hosted the June 14 fundraiser for Charlie Bailey, State Senator Burt Jones’ Democrat opponent for lieutenant governor in this November’s election,” Gonsalves told The Star News on Tuesday.
“This choice – which the district attorney was within her rights as an elected official to make – has consequences,” Judge McBurney said in his ruling. “The district attorney does not have to be apolitical, but her investigations do. The Bailey fundraiser she sponsored – in her official capacity – makes that impossible when it comes to investigating Bailey’s direct political opponent.”
In a conversation with The Star News, Amber Connor, security chair for the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, said that although she contends Willis is an improvement over the previous DA, her decision to publicly support Bailey was a mistake.
“She’s a great district attorney, she’s much better than Paul Howard. However, this is a problem with what she has done politicizing the office,” Connor said.
Thanks to a law change, the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia will select the replacement DA to continue the investigation instead of the attorney general.
On Tuesday, Executive Director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia Peter Skandalakis stated that the best course of action “may be” to allow the special grand jury to conclude the current part of its investigation before selecting a prosecutor.
“As of today, no decision has been made as to whether or not an appointment will be made. Staff and I are reviewing the court’s decision and researching case law. It is well documented that this is a special grand jury which is investigating the issues before it and this grand jury cannot issue criminal indictments. Therefore, pending further analysis it may be premature to appoint a criminal prosecutor at this time,” Skandalakis said.
“I am aware of Judge McBurney’s order and will make a decision at the appropriate time if needed,” Skandalakis concluded.
– – –