Trump election interference case: Prosecutor named to investigate Georgia Lt. Gov. Burt Jones

ATLANTA — A Georgia official tasked with choosing someone to investigate whether Lt. Gov. Burt Jones should face criminal charges for his alleged role in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election announced Thursday that he will take up the case, WSB-TV reported.

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Peter Skandalakis, head of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, began looking for someone to prosecute the case in 2022, after a Fulton County judge barred District Attorney Fani Willis from investigating Burt, according to WSB. Willis had earlier held a fundraiser for Jones’ eventual Democratic opponent in the lieutenant governor’s race, the news station reported.

Skandalakis named himself as the person to oversee the investigation in a brief statement obtained by WSB. The Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia added that “no further comments will be made at this time.”

Jones was one of 16 Georgia Republicans who signed a certificate claiming that Trump won the state in 2020 — despite his election loss to President Joe Biden — and declaring that they were “duly elected and qualified electors from Georgia,” according to WSB and The Washington Post. He also tried to convene a special session of the state legislature to reverse Biden’s win, the Post reported.

Jones was elected to the Georgia State Senate in 2012 and served in the legislature until he was elected to become lieutenant governor in November 2022, according to WSB.

“I’m happy to see this process move forward and look forward to the opportunity to get this charade behind me,” he said in a statement obtained by the news station. “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.”

Jones was not among the 18 people indicted alongside Trump last year on suspicion of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia, although he is believed to have been mentioned in the special purpose grand jury report that led to the charges. According to the Post, he is believed to be “Individual 8,” who allegedly interacted with several Trump allies as part of a scheme to get legislators to overturn Biden’s win.

A longtime Trump ally, Jones continues to be one of Trump’s top surrogates in Georgia, the newspaper reported.

Last year, a grand jury indicted Trump and 18 others on charges that they conspired to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

Four people — bail bondsman Scott Hall and attorneys Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro and Jenna Ellis — have pleaded guilty to charges. The remaining defendants, including Trump, have denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.