Georgia State Representative Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) has officially introduced articles of impeachment against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Byrd, a six-term incumbent, announced the introduction Friday morning which accuses Willis of abusing her office for political purposes.
The impeachment effort, spearheaded by the Georgia Freedom Caucus, alleges that DA Willis has engaged in conduct unbecoming of her position, specifically citing her pursuit of a high-profile indictment against former President Donald Trump and 18 others. These indictments relate to their challenges to the 2020 election results in Fulton County and other parts of Georgia. Byrd and her supporters argue that this action violates the constitutional right to question election integrity.
In a statement, Rep. Byrd accused Willis of “weaponizing her office for political gain” and claimed that Willis’ actions have “embarrassed the criminal justice system in Fulton County and our state.” Byrd also highlighted other instances which she believes demonstrate a conflict of interest on Willis’ part. This includes hiring a potential paramour for the case against Trump and a judge’s decision to bar Willis from investigating then-Lt. Gov. Burt Jones due to her financial support of his opponent.
— Georgia Freedom Caucus (@FreedomCaucusGA) January 26, 2024
“Fani Willis has a laundry list of potential conflicts that make her unworthy and unfit to be the District Attorney in Fulton County,” Byrd said. “Someone elected to that office is expected to uphold the law and not weaponize their office for political gain. Since Day One when she was elected, Fani Willis has embarrassed the criminal justice system in Fulton County and our state.”
Byrd further criticized Willis for indicting Republicans who questioned election results, drawing comparisons to Democrats like Al Gore in 2000, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Stacey Abrams in 2018, who also challenged election outcomes but faced no legal consequences.
Another point of contention raised by Byrd is Willis’ alleged violation of state law. Byrd claims that Willis was sworn into office while still owing money to the Georgia Elections Commission, which is against Georgia law for public officeholders.
In her call to action, Byrd alluded to the urgency and necessity of the impeachment process, framing it as a defense of constitutional rights and public trust. “The people demand we do our job as public officials. When the rights of Americans are grossly violated and we stand by, doing nothing, we set a precedent that public officials need not concern themselves with the rights of the citizenry,” Byrd stated. She then urged her colleagues in the Georgia General Assembly to support the impeachment of DA Fani Willis.
The development marks a significant escalation in the ongoing political tensions in Georgia. Willis has found herself embroiled in a scandal due to an alleged affair she had with Nathan Wade, a lawyer who was appointed as special counsel in the investigation into former President Donald Trump. According to court filings disclosed as part of Wade’s divorce proceedings, Willis paid Wade upwards of $700,000 in taxpayer funds for his work on the case.
The Fulton County DA could find herself dealing with her own legal trouble in the near future, as Senate Republicans in Georgia have launched a wide-reaching investigation with subpoena power. Earlier this week, Fulton County resident Derek Blassingame addressed county commissioners and said he was “done” with Fulton County, citing Willis’ conduct.
Willis has not denied the allegations levied against her, though she has disputed the claim that she paid Wade more than his services were worth. She has instead portrayed backlash over the scandal against her and Wade as racial discrimination.