Why the state AG's office isn't representing Kemp in data server case

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said Thursday the state didn't "quit" a lawsuit representing the state's top elections official, but that the office had to withdraw from the lawsuit because of a conflict of interest involving another state client.

His statement comes a day after Secretary of State Brian Kemp confirmed that his office will be represented by former Gov. Roy Barnes in the lawsuit filed by a national election transparency group seeking to force the state to overhaul its election system.

The move comes less than a week after it was revealed that a Kennesaw State University center that runs the state's elections erased a server containing voting information at the center of the lawsuit.

The Attorney General's Office often taps outside counsel to represent state agencies when there's a conflict of interest, and his office was set to represent both the Secretary of State and KSU. Carr's statement suggests that Kemp's launch of an investigation into KSU's handling of the server - and Kemp's harsh criticism of their actions - prompted his decision.

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Here's Carr's full statement:

“Our office has some of some of the best and brightest legal minds in Georgia, and I will always be confident in our ability to defend the laws of this state. In some circumstances, our office may run into situations that prevent us from representing state agencies or officials. We will never quit vigorously defending the laws of our great state. In this situation, one state defendant in the Curling lawsuit made public statements that took a position adverse to another party that we also represented in the litigation. Mindful of the rules governing attorney representation of multiple clients, our office withdrew from our representation of all of the state defendants in this litigation. I cannot and will not comment on the positions taken or decisions made by any of our clients related to this litigation due to the rules governing the practice of law.”