Special prosecutor to decide if Lt. Gov. Jones should face criminal charges in 2020 election-meddling case

Burt Jones

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones presides over the Georgia Senate. (Credit: Georgia Senate)

Apr 11, 2024

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones will face scrutiny over whether he should be criminally charged for alleged meddling in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. 

The Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia said Thursday it has assigned Executive Director Pete Skandalakis as the special prosecutor to handle the case because Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is barred from investigating Jones. The council is a nonpartisan state advocacy agency for district attorneys.

In July 2022, Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney blocked Willis from investigating Jones because her actions were an “actual and untenable” conflict of interest. At the time, Willis had hosted a campaign fundraiser for Jones’ Democratic rival, Charlie Bailey, and donated to his campaign when both men were running for lieutenant governor. Willis is currently involved in an election interference case she brought against former President Donald Trump and 18 others.

McBurney’s ruling left it up to the council to decide whether Jones should be criminally charged.

“I’m happy to see this process move forward and look forward to the opportunity to get this charade behind me,” Jones said in a statement issued Thursday. “Fani Willis has made a mockery of this legal process, as she tends to do. I look forward to a quick resolution and moving forward with the business of the state of Georgia.”

The council cited state bar rules in its news release and said there would be no further comments. 

Skandalakis’ appointment marks another step in the ongoing political odyssey for Jones and other lawmakers over charges that they served as “false” electors to help Trump overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

Jones is one of 16 alleged “false” electors in Georgia who gathered at the state capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, to cast ballots for Trump and then sent their false certification of his victory to the National Archives and the governor’s office.

Jones has denied any wrongdoing, saying he and other electors were acting on the advice of lawyers to preserve Trump’s chances in Georgia in case the former president won a court challenge that was pending at the time. Jones was a state senator during the 2020 election.

Trump’s campaign enlisted an alternate slate of electors in 2020 in a number of swing states where Trump was defeated, as part of an effort to circumvent the outcome of the voting, The New York Times reported Thursday. 

Have questions? Contact Tammy Joyner on X @lvjoyner or at [email protected].

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