The Georgia prosecutor who’s kept the heat on ex-president Donald Trump since last year won’t be allowed to investigate at least one of the fake electors in her state who tried to help install Trump for a second term.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis can’t move forward with her investigation of state Sen. Burt Jones, a Republican, because Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert C.I. McBurney ruled that Willis’ appearance at a fundraiser last month is a conflict of interest.
Willis, a Democrat, co-hosted a fundraiser for Charlie Bailey last month while Bailey was a candidate in a runoff to determine Georgia’s Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. Jones is the Republican nominee for the same seat, meaning he and Bailey will face off in November’s general election.
Willis argues that her support for Bailey in the primary doesn’t impact the general election at all, but McBurney believes that’s too close for Willis to be an impartial investigator who might get to decide if Jones faces criminal charges.
The judge acknowledged that those facts were “rightly” pointed out, but he said what was “more relevant — and harmful — to the integrity of the grand jury investigation is that the die was already cast on the other side of the political divide,” and that whoever won the runoff “would face Senator Jones.”
The ruling came a few days after Judge McBurney criticized Ms. Willis in a hearing last week for her participation in the fund-raiser, calling it a “what-are-you-thinking moment.” The judge also expressed concern that the district attorney, as “the legal adviser to the grand jury,” was “on national media almost nightly talking about this investigation.”
There’s still plenty of meat on the bone for Willis, who has been investigating Trump’s attempt to undo Georgia’s 2020 election results since last year and who last week said she would also look into potential indictments against a slate of ‘alternate’ electors—Republicans who wanted to replace legitimate members of the Electoral College and vote to install Trump for a second term despite him having lost the vote in Georgia.
There are 15 other fake electors in Georgia who could also face investigation and prosecution by Willis’ office.