A handful of Georgia Senate Republicans filed a complaint against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis with the state’s Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, a new state-run panel with authority to investigate and oust local district attorneys that officially formed at the beginning of the month.
The commission was created when it was signed into law earlier this year on the heels of a broader movement by Republican governors last summer, who pushed for new policy to enact control over district attorneys whose enforcement they didn’t like. The trend began in Florida when Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) fired a local prosecutor for, among other things, stating publicly he wouldn’t prosecute people seeking abortions.
But in Georgia, the panel initiative was pushed into law over the course of the last year for a bigger, riper purpose, too: as a line of defense for Donald Trump, who, at the time of the bill’s introduction in the state legislature, was being investigated by Willis. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) said as much of the bill’s introduction.
While the complaint against Willis filed by eight Georgia Senate Republicans does not specifically mention Trump, the Republican lawmakers linked a recent uptick in deaths in the Fulton County Jail to Willis’ 2020 election investigation and decision to “empanel a special grand jury to investigate her political adversaries,” a line straight out of the Trumpian playbook.
“The integrity of our justice system is at stake, and the trust of the community in the District Attorney’s Office has been severely eroded,” the Republicans wrote, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, which obtained a copy of the document. The letter was signed by Georgia Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch and state Sen. Jason Anavitarte, per the AJC.
As one of the few Republicans who has managed to survive the wrath of Trump after he refused to embrace his 2020 election overturning efforts in the state, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has repeatedly refused to disparage Willis for her investigation. But he did in recent weeks suggest that her timing was bad.
“I haven’t seen anything that she has done that has broken the law or the procedures that we have. And I’ve been very honest with people about that,” Kemp told AJC in a recent interview. “It may be a political action she’s taken in some ways, with timing and other things, but it doesn’t mean it’s illegal.”
I wrote about this particular long game Trump retribution crusade here a few months back, but the tl;dr: Despite Kemp’s hands-off approach to the Willis investigation, he’s backed the creation of this panel — with its anti-Willis intentions that other Georgia Republicans have long acknowledged more candidly — from the start.
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