A special prosecutor will likely be appointed to investigate one of 30 unnamed and “unindicted co-conspirators” inside a sweeping racketeering indictment in Georgia targeting Donald Trump and 18 of his allies.
The state’s current Republican Lt Governor Burt Jones, who was a sitting state senator at the time of the alleged crimes, was one of 16 “alternate” electors who falsely swore that Mr Trump won the state in the 2020 presidential election. He also pushed for a special legislative session to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.
But he was not among the 19 defendants in the grand jury case from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who was barred by a judge from indicting him.
Last year, Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney determined that Ms Willis had a conflict of interest in prosecuting Mr Jones after she hosted a fundraiser for his Democratic rival in the 2022 election for lieutenant governor.
The Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia is expected to appoint a special prosecutor to separately investigate whether Mr Jones should face criminal charges, according to the agency’s executive director Pete Skandalakis.
Following the indictment, the council will “begin the process of finding a conflict prosecutor to review the case and, if necessary, perform additional investigations,” according to a statement from Mr Skandalakis shared with The Independent.
“After discussing the matter with [Ms Willis], we felt it best that I file a petition with Judge McBurney requesting the release of the report to me to assist the conflict prosecutor in how they handle this matter,” he added.
Mr Skandalakis said there is no timetable for that process, adding that because of the unprecedented scope of the case, “finding a special prosecutor with the resources to handle such a case will not be easy.”
Mr Jones is likely the eighth unnamed and unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment unsealed on 14 August.
Typically, prosecutors include “unindicted co-conspirators” who are believed to have conspired with the named defendants to commit a crime or multiple crimes, as indicated in the sprawling RICO case against the former president and his allies. But prosecutors have either provided them some immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony or have reached another arrangement.
The indictment quotes a post from his Twitter account on 7 December, 2020, in which he calls on supporters to “sign the petition” for a special legislative session to review the outcome of the 2020 election.
That same co-conspirator also was involved with correspondence about the fake elector plot with other co-defendants in the case, according to the indictment.
The Independent has requested comment from Mr Jones’s office.