Rep. Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta, will remain in office while facing federal indictment, a three-member panel decided Friday.
The panel of Attorney General Sam Olens, a Republican, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, and Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson, D-Tucker, all voted not to suspend Brooks, Gov. Nathan Deal’s office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Former Gov. Roy Barnes earlier Friday accused Olens of toying with the state Constitution by barring him from calling witnesses at a hearing to decide if state Rep. Tyrone Brooks should be suspended from office.
Barnes wanted to cross examine government attorneys who were in the room, but Olens told him that was not allowed.
Olens refused comment after the hearing.
Brooks, D-Atlanta, faces 30 federal charges of wire, tax and mail fraud related to his work with a pair of charities. The U.S. Attorney’s office alleges that Brooks used contributions meant for those charities for his personal expenses.
Barnes says Brooks broke no laws but had poor accounting procedures.
Had Brooks been suspended his seat would have remained vacant until the next election, unless he is convicted, in which case his seat in the House will be up for a special election.
Barnes argued Friday that the Constitution prohibits the commission from suspending Brooks because it specifically requires that any criminal charge be directly related to Brooks’ work as a lawmaker. These charges do not, Barnes said.
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