A Georgia lawmaker filed a resolution on Friday to impeach Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, accusing her of various acts of “malfeasance, tyrannical partiality, and oppression.”
State Rep. Charlice Byrd, a Republican, said in a Jan. 26 statement that she has introduced H.R. 872, a resolution to vote on impeachment charges against Ms. Willis, who brought a high-profile election interference case against former President Donald Trump that he has denounced as politically-driven.
Accusing Ms. Willis of suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” Ms. Byrd alleged that the Fulton County DA used her office not to pursue justice but for political gain.
“Fani Willis has a laundry list of potential conflicts that make her unworthy and unfit to be the District Attorney in Fulton Count,” Ms. Byrd said in a statement. “Someone elected to that office is expected to uphold the law and not weaponize their office for political gain.”
Ms. Willis brought the 2020 election interference case against President Trump and over a dozen co-defendants under Georgia laws to fight organized crime.
A key focus of the case was a phone call President Trump made to Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to find enough votes to declare him the winner in that state.
President Trump, who has described the phone call with Mr. Raffensperger as “perfect,” has called the investigation a “strictly political witch hunt.”
The 10-page state House resolution filed on Friday by Ms. Byrd outlines the case for charging Ms. Willis with violations of oath by a public officer under Georgia Code Section 16-10-1, which states that “Any public officer who willfully and intentionally violates the terms of his oath as prescribed by law shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.”
The impeachment resolution comes on the same day that the Georgia State Senate voted to establish a committee that will investigate various allegations of misconduct against Ms. Willis, ranging from accusations of prosecutorial misconduct to questions about the use of public funds and allegations of an unprofessional relationship with the lead prosecutor in the case.
Articles of Impeachment
The impeachment resolution accuses Ms. Willis of having committed “acts of malfeasance, tyrannical partiality, and oppression” in the “wrongful” indictment of President Trump and his 18 co-defendants (now down to 14 since four have pleaded guilty).
The resolution calls Ms. Willis’ indictment “the severest case of gross abuse of discretion” while alleging that the Fulton County DA “grossly violated” her oath of office, in which she swore to be impartial.
Ms. Byrd’s impeachment resolution also accuses Ms. Willis of engaging in an “inappropriate” and “unethical” relationship with lead prosecutor Nathan Wade while alleging that she profited from the relationship.
There are a total of 22 articles of impeachment in the resolution, each an alleged violation of Georgia Code 16-10-1.
Nineteen of the impeachment charges are allegations that Ms. Willis’ prosecution of President Trump and the 18 other co-defendants under Georgia’s organized crime laws was done for the purpose of advancing her political career and so “grossly violates” her oath of office.
While the resolution doesn’t go into detail about the allegedly political nature of the prosecution, similar claims have been made by House investigators.
The remaining three articles of impeachment are for allegedly perpetrating “prosecutorial vindictiveness” in withholding material evidence from the jury, allegedly falsely claiming she was “not the holder of any unaccounted for public money due the state” while owing late fees stemming from her candidacy for office; and of swearing in her oath of office to take “only my lawful compensation” while allegedly profiting from her relationship with Mr. Wade.
Ms. Willis was first accused of having an “improper” romantic relationship with Mr. Wade and of benefiting from it financially in a motion filed on Jan. 8 by an attorney representing Michael Roman, one of the co-defendants in the Georgia case.
Ashleigh Merchant, the attorney, accused Ms. Willis in a 100-plus page filing of being in an “improper, clandestine personal relationship” with Mr. Wade and of “profiting significantly” from the relationship at the expense of taxpayers.
Ms. Merchant also accused Ms. Willis of using funds meant for clearing a pandemic-era backlog of cases in Fulton County to pay Mr. Wade a large sum of money.
Documents show Mr. Wade has been paid at a rate of $250 per hour for his involvement in the case, or around $650,000 in total.
Mr. Wade, who has been asked to provide evidence as part of a House Judiciary Committee inquiry into Ms. Willis’ conduct, is playing a leading role in the election interference case against the former president and the co-defendants.
Prosecutors have not yet filed a response to Ms. Merchant’s motion, although they have said they intend to.
The Fulton County Audit Committee has asked Ms. Willis to address the allegations in Ms. Merchant’s filing. Bob Ellis, the Fulton County Commissioner, called on Ms. Willis in a Jan. 21 letter to provide explanations, including regarding special prosecutor payment and expensing by Feb. 2.
Also, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee indicated on Jan. 12 that a hearing on Ms. Merchant’s motion would be scheduled after the court has received a response from Fulton County prosecutors, with the earliest likely being in mid-February.
Ms. Merchant’s filing argued that Ms. Willis’s’ alleged misconduct was grounds for the dismissal of charges against Mr. Roman and the dismissal of Ms. Willis and her team.
President Trump has also made similar demands, saying that both Ms. Willis and the case have been “totally compromised” and the case against him should be dismissed.
The Georgia Senate resolution that passed in a Jan. 26 floor vote establishes a committee to investigate the various misconduct allegations against Ms. Willis.
Despite having wide-ranging powers to carry out the investigation, the panel will not have the ability to impose sanctions on Ms. Willis.