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Local News

Georgia Governor Starts Probe into State Senator Election 2020 Indictment

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by Jill Nolin, Georgia Recorder
September 1, 2023

The governor has appointed the three-member commission that will now review state Sen. Shawn Still’s indictment in the Fulton County election interference case and decide whether he should be suspended.

Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order late Friday that named GOP caucus leaders – Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch and House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration – to the commission. The third seat was constitutionally saved for Republican Attorney General Chris Carr, but the other two spots could have gone to any lawmaker in the two chambers.

“The review commission shall determine if the indictment relates to and adversely affects the administration of the member’s office and whether the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected thereby,” Kemp wrote in the executive order.

The commission must notify the governor of its decision in the next 14 days.

Still is a Norcross Republican who was just elected last year, but before he took office, he served as the secretary for the false elector meeting held on Dec. 14, 2020, where the group cast ballots for former President Donald Trump even though he lost Georgia by nearly 12,000 votes. As they met that day, the state’s legitimate presidential electors were casting the official ballots for now-President Joe Biden.

The freshman lawmaker is one of 19 defendants in the Fulton County election interference probe, and he’s one of three fake electors who have been charged as part of that case. Still faces seven counts, including racketeering, impersonating a public officer, forgery, and making false statements and writings.

The state Constitution calls for a “speedy hearing.” If Still is suspended, it would take effect immediately pending the outcome of the case or the expiration of his term in office. Still is in the first year of his two-year term.

Attempts late Friday to reach Efstration and Gooch, as well as a spokesperson for Carr, for comment were not immediately successful. Still’s attorney has said previously that the lawmaker is innocent. 

Gooch has been in the news this week for comments made to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, raising the possibility of legislative hearings that look into her actions and voicing support for likely challenges made through the state’s new – and controversial – oversight commission for prosecutors.

“We believe she is definitely tainted,” Gooch told the AJC. “She’s politicizing this, and we want to make sure these people get a fair trial and a fair shake.” 

Georgia Recorder reporter Stanley Dunlap contributed to this report. 

This article originally appeared in Georgia Recorder and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.