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Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor to Face Inquiry for Role as Fake Trump Elector

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Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor to Face Inquiry for Role as Fake Trump Elector

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Lt. Gov. Burt Jones of Georgia will be investigated for his role as a fake elector for Donald J. Trump in the 2020 presidential election, a state official said Thursday.

Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Ga., has already brought racketeering and other charges against Mr. Trump and several top allies in a sweeping election case. But she was disqualified in 2022 from continuing to investigate Mr. Jones, a Republican, because she had hosted a fund-raiser for his political rival.

On Thursday, Pete Skandalakis, the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, said he would take up the Jones inquiry himself, after facing criticism for not moving more quickly to find a new prosecutor to substitute for Ms. Willis. Mr. Skandalakis is a former district attorney himself. His decision was previously reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I will be handling Burt Jones,” Mr. Skandalakis, a Republican, said in a text message on Thursday. He declined to elaborate on the matter. By law, it falls to the head of the prosecuting attorneys’ council, a state government entity, to choose a replacement when a prosecutor on a case is found to have a conflict of interest.

Mr. Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Trump campaign enlisted fake presidential electors in 2020 in a number of swing states where Mr. Trump was defeated, as part of an effort to circumvent the outcome of the voting. Twenty-four of those electors are facing charges in three states.

Ms. Willis, a Democrat, chose to reach cooperation deals with most of the fake Georgia electors, but she did charge three who had prominent political roles in the state, including David Shafer, the former head of the state Republican Party. At the time of the 2020 election, Mr. Jones was a state senator.

Mr. Jones was an early backer of Mr. Trump in Georgia. He is widely considered now to be laying the groundwork for a campaign for governor in 2026, when Gov. Brian Kemp cannot run for re-election because of term limits.

Mr. Kemp has had a fraught relationship with Mr. Trump. Mr. Kemp declined when Mr. Trump asked him to help overturn his narrow loss to Joseph R. Biden in the 2020 presidential election. But Mr. Kemp has said that he would support Mr. Trump in the 2024 race.

In addition to serving as a fake elector for Mr. Trump in December 2020, Mr. Jones argued for a special session of the State Legislature to be called to overturn Mr. Trump’s loss in Georgia, and signed on to a lawsuit seeking to do the same. Both of those efforts failed,

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Mr. Jones flew to Washington on Jan. 5, 2021, to try to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to delay certification of the Electoral College votes, although Mr. Jones told the news outlet that he ultimately did not raise the matter with Mr. Pence.

Mr. Jones has since defended those actions.

“I mean, what people were doing — and this isn’t something that’s new — people were asking questions about elections,” he said in a September 2023 interview.

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