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Republicans Look To Use Prosecutorial Oversight Committee To Remove Fani Willis

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


Republicans have a new quiver in their arsenal against Fulton County Duistrict Attorney Fani Willis, who is prosecuting former President Donald Trump.

Republican Georgia state Senator Clint Dixon said that he intends to use a commission formed by Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp that can remove prosecutors who not doing their jobs properly.

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

Georgia State University professor of law Clark D. Cunningham said on MSNBC that he believes Republicans will use the Prosecutorial Oversight Committee to attempt to remove Willis.

“However, I should say that what’s being proposed, it would be a pretty serious misuse of this law,” he said to MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow. “I would hope that the new members of the commission would not themselves allow the commission to be used for political purposes.”

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Hofstra University law professor Alafair Burke said to Newsweek that there is a longshot chance that the Republican idea could work.

“A couple of years ago, I would have said that’s a complete no-go. The legislature writes the criminal code, but the executive branch enforces it with oversight by the judiciary. Straightforward separation of powers,” the professor said.

“But Georgia has joined what I think is a dangerous trend of enacting laws intended to empower them to oust prosecutors they disagree with, passing legislation recently to create a commission to discipline or even remove elected prosecutors from office,” he said.

“So in theory, yes, this newly created commission could remove Fani Willis from her position in hopes that whoever took her place would dump the case,” the professor said.

“I could be wrong, mind you, but I am not aware of any mechanism by which they could directly dismiss the case short of repealing every applicable criminal code provision retroactively,” he said.

And that is not the only thing that Willis is facing.

The House Judiciary Committee, which is led by Republicans, is pressuring Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to provide details to it about her investigation into former President Donald Trump.

“Your indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated,” says a letter sent to Willis by the committee.

“Turning first to the question of motivation, it is noteworthy that just four days before this indictment, you launched a new campaign fundraising website that highlighted your investigation into President Trump,” the letter goes on to say.

“Additionally, the forewoman of the special grand jury you convened to investigate President Trump earlier this year bragged during an unusual media tour about her excitement at the prospect of subpoenaing President Trump and getting to swear him in,” the letter continued.

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“Last week, the Fulton County Superior Court’s Clerk publicly released a list of criminal charges against President Trump reportedly hours before the vote of the grand jury,” the letter goes on. “A Fulton County court has disqualified you from targeting current Georgia Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones as part of your probe on the grounds that you actively supported and held fundraising events for his Democratic opponent.

“And unlike officials in other jurisdictions, Fulton County officials ‘have suggested [they] will process [the former President] as [a] typical criminal defendant, requiring mug shots and possibly even cash bond,’” which happened, the letter noted further.

“The timing of this prosecution reinforces concerns about your motivation,” the letter said. “In February 2021, news outlets reported that you directed your office to open an investigation into President Trump. Indeed, sometime on or around February 11, 2021, your office purportedly sent a letter to several Republican officials in Georgia, requesting that they preserve documents relating to a ‘matter . . . of high priority’ that your office was investigating.

“Yet, you did not bring charges until two-and-a-half years later, at a time when the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is in full swing. Moreover, you have requested that the trial in this matter begin on March 4, 2024, the day before Super Tuesday and eight days before the Georgia presidential primary,” the letter adds. “It is therefore unsurprising many have speculated that this indictment and prosecution are designed to interfere with the 2024 presidential election.”

The committee is chaired by Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who listed more questions on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Was Fulton County DA Fani Willis working with Jack Smith? Was she communicating with the Executive Branch? Were any federal funds used in the investigation of President Trump?” he said.

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