Georgia state Republicans have discovered an alternative approach to targeting Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis after their leadership declined to initiate a motion for her removal following the filing of what they deem as politically motivated 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.
Some Republican legislators are considering invoking a law signed by Governor Brian Kemp in May, which would permit them to create a new commission with the power to remove local prosecutors who fail to meet their constitutional and statutory obligations.
The Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PAQC), set to begin receiving complaints about prosecutors from October 1, was promoted in a statement from the Governor’s office as a “valuable oversight mechanism” for district attorneys within the state.
However, calls from multiple GOP officials for a special legislative session aimed at potentially impeaching Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis have been rebuffed following indictments of former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants on felony charges related to her investigation into attempts to reverse the 2020 election results.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a special Georgia Senate subcommittee is exploring the hazardous conditions present at Fulton County Jail, where 10 inmates have perished in 2020 alone. Republicans may now have discovered an alternative solution.
“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.”
Other Republicans sought to address Democrat concerns, emphasizing that Willis will not be the only subject of investigation.
“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.
“This is our best measure, and I will be ready to call for that investigation,” he noted further.
Previously, Kemp emphasized that he had not observed any indications demonstrating Willis’ conduct was illegal.
“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.