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A Georgia state senator indicted with Trump won’t be suspended from office while the case is ongoing

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia state senator won’t be suspended from office after he was one of 18 others indicted along with former President Donald Trump on charges that he sought to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state.

A three-person panel didn’t recommend that state Sen. Shawn Still be temporarily removed from office while the case is pending, Garrison Douglas, a spokesperson for Gov. Brian Kemp, said Friday.

Still, a Republican who lives in suburban Johns Creek to the borth of Atlanta, is a swimming pool contractor and former state Republican Party finance chairman. He was one of 16 Georgia Republicans who signed a certificate falsely stating that Trump had won the state and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.

Still was the secretary of that meeting and is one of only three members of that group who was indicted. He faces seven counts, including the main racketeering charge as well as felony counts of impersonating a public officer, forgery, attempting to file false documents and false statements and writings, all stemming from the elector meeting.

Like all the other defendants, Still has pleaded not guilty. A lawyer for Still did not immediately respond Friday to an email and phone call seeking comment.

As is required by state law, Kemp appointed Attorney General Chris Carr, as well as Republican state Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch and Republican state House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration. That group held a closed hearing Monday to consider whether Still should be suspended, issuing a confidential recommendation to Kemp.

The state constitution requires that the commission recommend and the governor suspend an official if the panel “determines that the indictment relates to and adversely affects the administration of the office of the indicted public official and that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected thereby.”

Still was not in public office in December 2020 when the Republican electors met. He was elected in 2022 and is serving his first term.

The two other Trump electors who were indicted were former state Republican Party Chairman David Shafer and Cathy Latham, a Coffee County woman also accused of helping people illegally access voting equipment. All three are trying to have their prosecutions moved to federal court, arguing they should be considered federal officials. A judge rejected a similar argument from former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows last week.

Two liberal voting groups issued a statement slamming the suspension panel for leaving Still in place.

“It is incredibly discouraging that the review commission has declined to do its part to protect the sanctity of our elections by holding conspiracy-driven election deniers accountable,” Fair Fight Action Political Director Nicole Robinson said in the statement. “Efforts to subvert election outcomes and stifle the will of Georgia voters remain one of the biggest threats to our democracy.”

Jeff Amy, The Associated Press