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Atlanta-area DA disqualified from investigating fake Trump elector

The Atlanta-area prosecutor who is probing the effort by former President Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election result in Georgia was disqualified by a judge Monday from criminally investigating one of the 16 Republicans who served on a phony slate of pro-Trump electors.

The ruling was a stunning rebuke to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and came after a judge found that a conflict of interest barred Willis and her office from investigating state Sen. Burt Jones, one of the sham electors.

The district attorney last month hosted a fundraiser for a Democratic candidate who went on to win his party’s nomination and will now face off against Jones, whom Willis had identified as a target of the grand jury’s investigation.

“This scenario creates a plain — and actual and untenable – conflict,” Judge Robert McBurney of the Superior Court of Fulton County wrote in his Monday order disqualifying Willis from pursuing Jones. “Any decision the District Attorney makes about Senator Jones in connection with the grand jury investigation is necessarily infected by it.”

“An investigation of this significance, garnering the public attention it necessarily does and touching so many political nerves in our society, cannot be burdened by legitimate doubts about the District Attorney’s motives,” he wrote.

The order Monday rejected similar disqualification requests from 11 other phony electors who were subpoenaed by Willis’s office, meaning the Fulton County District Attorney’s probe of those targets may continue, and the investigation of Jones is expected to be handed off to another prosecutor’s office.

Still, the development represented a significant unforced error by a prosecutor handling one the nation’s most sensitive and high-profile criminal investigations, one which poses perhaps the most significant legal threat to Trump as the former president as eyes a 2024 bid for the White House.

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