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GA Republicans Unveil New Strategy For Holding DA Willis Accountable

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Georgia state Republicans may have found another way to target Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis after their leadership refused to launch a bid to remove her after she filed what they see as partisan criminal charges against former President Donald Trump and 18 others.

“Soon after the indictment against Trump and others was filed, discussions were underway to have Willis removed from office or face investigations and impeachment hearings over allegations of a partisan probe against the former president and frontrunner in the 2024 GOP primary,” Newsweek reported.

One move some GOP lawmakers are considering is using a law signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in May that would allow them to establish a new commission with the authority to remove local prosecutors who are deemed unable to fulfill their “constitutional and statutory duties.”

In a statement released then, Kemp’s office said that the creation of the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PAQC), which is set to begin receiving complaints about prosecutors starting from October 1, will function as a “valuable oversight mechanism” for district attorneys within the state.

But Kemp rejected calls from several state Republican officials for a special legislative session to consider impeaching Willis after former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants were indicted on felony charges as part of her investigation into alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

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Now, however, Republicans may have found a workaround, so to speak.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a special Georgia Senate subcommittee is planning on investigating the dangerous conditions at the Fulton County Jail, where 10 inmates have died this year alone.

“The subcommittee is also expected to focus some of its attention on Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis,” the paper said, adding: “Willis will likely face scrutiny over her use of resources and strategy in addressing an enormous backlog of cases that grew worse during the coronavirus pandemic.”

“The DA is required by Georgia law to have a grand jury inspect the sanitary condition of the jail and the treatment of inmates, and it isn’t clear she’s carried out that duty,” state Sen. Jason Anavitarte, one of the chamber’s top Republicans, told the AJC. “She did find time and resources to pursue politically chosen cases when the jail has been deteriorating, resulting in deaths.”

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Other Republicans sought to temper Democrat complaints, however, by noting that Willis isn’t going to be the sole focus of the probe.

“We don’t know the root cause of the challenges, so anything would be premature at this point. We will follow the facts,” state Sen. John Albers, who is leading the subcommittee with state Sen. Randy Robertson, told the outlet. “This issue is the conditions and deaths at the jail.”

In an August 21 post on Facebook, GOP Georgia state Sen. Clint Dixon said he would call on the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PAQC) to investigate Willis for allegedly targeting Trump for political purposes and her apparent “unabashed goal to become some sort of leftist celebrity.”

“Once the Prosecutorial Oversight Committee is appointed in October, we can call on them to investigate and take action against Fani Willis and her efforts that weaponize the justice system against political opponents,” Dixon wrote.

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“This is our best measure, and I will be ready to call for that investigation,” he noted further.

Previously, Kemp stressed that he had not “seen any evidence” that Willis’ actions had been unlawful.

“Let me be clear: We have a law in the state of Georgia that clearly outlines the legal steps that can be taken if constituents believe their local prosecutors are violating their oath by engaging in unethical or illegal behavior. Up to this point, I have not seen any evidence that DA Willis’ actions, or lack thereof, warrant action by the Prosecuting Attorney Oversight Commission,” Kemp said.

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