Georgia Commission Targets Prosecutors; Fani Willis Faces GOP Scrutiny

A committee established by Georgia’s Republican-controlled state legislature with the authority to censure and remove prosecutors may soon undermine a criminal case against Donald Trump.

The state’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp is expected to sign legislation that effectively removes crucial safeguards for the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, which he established last year.

Republican lawmakers have frequently assailed Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and her case against the former president and more than a dozen of his friends, who have been charged under the state’s anti-racketeering legislation with a “criminal enterprise” to overturn the 2020 election results.

However, GOP lawmakers have denied that the commission was formed to target Ms. Willis, who was elected in 2020 and has been Fulton County’s chief prosecutor since January 2021.

After establishing the commission last year, Mr Kemp stated that the organization would target “far-left prosecutors” who are “making our communities less safe.”

“I am not going to stand idly by as rogue or incompetent prosecutors refuse to uphold the law,” Mr Kemp said in October. “We are sending a message that we will not forfeit public safety for prosecutors to let criminals off the hook.”

Georgia Commission Targets Prosecutors; Fani Willis Faces GOP Scrutiny

However, Republican lawmakers are also looking into allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in the Trump case. This week, a state Senate committee will hear testimony from defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who first claimed that Ms Willis hired a lead prosecutor with whom she was romantically involved and then benefited financially from his state-funded employment.

The body, which is awaiting Mr Kemp’s final approval, will soon be empowered to remove elected prosecutors it believes are responsible for misbehavior and other offenses.

Other states are attempting to undermine prosecutorial discretion by targeting elected “progressive” prosecutors, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive actions to remove two elected prosecutors and Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers’ impeachment of the district attorney in Philadelphia.

Congressional Republicans are also investigating Ms Willis. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan filed a demand for data pertaining to her office’s use of federal funding, while US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has threatened to file ethical complaints against the Fulton County prosecutor.

In remarks on Georgia’s House floor on Tuesday, House Democratic Whip Sam Park described the latest legislation as a “partisan attempt to control and discipline prosecutors who hand down decisions that Republican politicians do not like.”

“It will be used to undermine the ongoing criminal prosecution of twice-impeached President Donald Trump,” he told reporters.

If the court hearing the case considers the allegations to be credible, Ms Willis and her office may be barred from participating in the action against Mr Trump. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee is scheduled to make a judgment in the coming days.

Defense attorneys are also requesting more testimony from two other witnesses.

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