Georgia House votes to revive prosecutor oversight panel that could oust Fani Willis

Gov. Brian Kemp last year created the Prosecuting Attorneys' Qualifications Commission to target 'far-left prosecutors'

Georgia House members on Monday passed a bill to revive a commission with powers to discipline and remove prosecutors, which Republicans could potentially use to target embattled Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is leading the prosecution against former President Donald Trump. 

Willis has been caught up in scrutiny over allegations she hired special prosecutor Nathan Wade for the case because of their alleged romantic relationship.

The House voted 95-75 along party lines for House Bill 881, sending it to the Senate for further debate. A similar bill that would create a special committee to investigate Willis for her "improper" affair advanced out of a Senate committee last week.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation last year creating the Prosecuting Attorneys' Qualifications Commission. But after the state Supreme Court refused to approve the rules governing the committee’s conduct, it was unable to begin operating. 


Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who brought charges against former President Donald Trump on election interference, is taking heat from all sides. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Justices said they had "grave doubts" about their ability to regulate the duties of district attorneys beyond the practice of law; Monday’s measure removes the requirement for Supreme Court approval.

"This commission will now be able to begin their real work, which is bringing accountability to those rogue prosecuting attorneys who abuse their office," Rep. Joseph Gullett, a Dallas Republican who sponsored the measure, told The Associated Press. 

The outlet reported that Gullett and some other Republicans deny that the measure is directly aimed at Willis, citing instances of prosecutor misconduct, including occasions in the past when Democrats supported the idea of a prosecutor oversight panel.

But Democratic opposition to the commission has hardened, saying Republicans are trying to overwrite the will of Democratic voters.

"The commission will be able to unilaterally proceed and have the ability to interfere and undermine an ongoing investigation against Donald J. Trump," said House Minority Whip Sam Park, a Lawrenceville Democrat. "You are taking action to protect former President Trump from an ongoing criminal prosecution."

John Malcolm, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta, told Fox News Digital in an interview that the allegations against Willis are "serious."

"They ought to be looked into, and it has certainly imperiled this prosecution and given a black mark, not only to Fulton County, but potentially to the entire state, so I can understand why the Georgia legislature is up in arms about this," he said.

Malcolm, who currently serves as the director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, said "this is a difficult moment" for Willis, who he says could ultimately decide to recuse herself from the case. 


Fani Willis and Nathan Wade

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade (Getty Images)

Allegations of Willis’ illicit affair with Wade stem from a court filing by Michael Roman, a Trump co-defendant. 

According to court documents filed earlier this month by Roman, Willis, who brought election interference-related charges against Trump, has been having an "improper" affair with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, whom she hired to help prosecute the 2024 GOP frontrunner.  

According to the court documents, Wade, who has no RICO and felony prosecution experience, billed taxpayers $654,000 since January 2021.

Roman’s filing alleges that Wade billed Fulton County for 24 hours of work on a single day in November 2021, shortly after being appointed as a special prosecutor, and that Willis financially benefited from her alleged lover’s padded taxpayer-funded salary by taking lavish vacations together on his dime.

Willis addressed the allegations for the first time at Big Bethel AME Church in Atlanta earlier this month.


Fani Willis speaks

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a worship service at the Big Bethel AME Church, where she was invited as a guest speaker on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, in Atlanta. (Miguel Martinez/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

"They only attacked one," she said. "First thing they say, ‘Oh, she’s gonna play the race card now.’

"But no God, isn’t it them that’s playing the race card when they only question one," Willis asked.

"You cannot expect Black women to be perfect and save the world," Willis said, adding that "we need to be allowed to stumble. We need grace."

Lawyers for Trump on Thursday joined Roman’s effort, filing a motion that Willis, Wade and her office should be removed from the case, claiming Willis "inappropriately injected race into the case and stoked racial animus" in response to allegations of misconduct against her.

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