No comment from DA Willis as former prosecutor takes over probe of Georgia Lt. Gov. Jones

 April 13, 2024

There was a major development this week related to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' prosecution of former President Donald Trump and others, but Willis was nowhere to be found and her office has not responded to requests for comment.

Georgia's Republican Lt. Gov. Burt Jones will now be investigated by a former district attorney in the state after a judge previously disqualified Willis from prosecuting Jones due to a political conflict of interest, WSB-TV reported on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Willis is also missing in action amid reports this week that the Justice Department, in addition to Congress, is investigating allegations of misuse of federal grant funds by her office, not to mention reports that some of the DA's staffers are beginning to turn on her.

Former prosecutor takes over stalled probe of Lt. Gov.

On Thursday, Atlanta's WSB-TV reported that former district attorney Pete Skandalakis, now the executive director of Georgia's Prosecuting Attorneys Council, will personally oversee an investigation of Lt. Gov. Jones, who was accused by DA Willis of violating state laws by being a "fake" alternate elector for then-President Trump amid the disputed 2020 election results.

Due to it being an ongoing investigation, Skandalakis declined to comment on the development, and the outlet noted that Willis' office also declined to respond to a request for comment.

Jones, however, said in a statement, "I’m happy to see this process move forward and look forward to the opportunity to get this charade behind me. Fani Willis has made a mockery of this legal process, as she tends to do. I look forward to a quick resolution and moving forward with the business of the state of Georgia."

Willis was disqualified from investigating Jones in 2022

In July 2022, CNN reported that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ordered DA Willis disqualified from her then-ongoing investigation of then-State Sen. Jones as a "fake" Trump elector following the 2020 election due to a political conflict of interest.

Willis had been exposed for hosting a campaign fundraiser event on behalf of Jones' Democratic rival in the lieutenant governor's race, Charlie Bailey, while her office was simultaneously probing Jones and seeking a criminal indictment against him from a grand jury.

In a hearing prior to the disqualification order, McBurney chastised Willis for hosting a campaign fundraiser event for the political rival of an active target of an investigation and described her behavior as "a 'What are you thinking' moment" and further stated, "The optics are horrific."

With Willis disqualified, Jones' case was then turned over to the Prosecuting Attorneys Council headed by Skandalakis to begin the process of finding another district attorney to take up the case and move forward with the investigation.

Is Willis facing a revolt by staffers?

Meanwhile, in a separate development that also elicited no response from DA Willis, Newsweek reported that the DOJ has now joined the House Judiciary Committee in probing allegations of the misuse of federal grant funds by Willis' office that were raised by an ex-staffer-turned-whistleblower.

The Washington Free Beacon, which was the first to report on the whistleblower's allegations earlier this year, shared a statement it received from a DOJ spokeswoman who said, "During our review of the award to respond to this inquiry, we have noticed some inconsistencies in what Fulton County has reported to [the Federal Subaward Reporting System] and we are working with them to update their reporting accordingly."

That report was shared on social media by House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH), who said, "Were any federal funds used in Fani Willis’s investigation of President Trump? Were any federal funds MISUSED? Something isn’t adding up here. And taxpayers deserve answers."

Newsweek also reported that Trump co-defendant Harrison Floyd alleged that in addition to the whistleblower, "There are current employees talking too," though he declined to offer any further details. The outlet noted that those allegations were unconfirmed as well as that there was no response from Willis' office to a request for comment.

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