Lovejoy mayor resigns to head off criminal inquiry, DA confirms

The Clayton County District Attorney confirmed Friday that she is dropping a voter fraud investigation in exchange for the mayor of Lovejoy's resignation and promise not to run again, Channel 2 Action News reports.

Channel 2 reported in  September 2010 that the District Attorney’s Office had executed a search warrant at Lovejoy City Hall after allegations Mayor Joe Murphy and five others, including three of the mayor’s relatives, cast illegal votes in the 2007 city elections.

“It is with some reservation that I do hereby tender my resignation,” effective Friday, Murphy said in the typewritten portion of his resignation letter. “I further ask that my name be withdrawn from the ballot for the upcoming general election” in November.

In handwriting at the bottom of the letter, he adds, “I, Joe Murphy, agree to no longer seek political office in the future.”

District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said, “This is an appropriate resolution to the voter fraud investigation, taking into consideration both the facts and the law.”

In a news release, Murphy noted that after serving as a council member and mayor for more than 20 years, “my electrical business and my family are requiring more and more of my time, which leaves less time to spend on city business.

“I have enjoyed my tenure as mayor and councilman,” he said. “However, if I am unable to spend the time required to do the job to the best of my ability, then I believe it is time to turn my gavel over to someone who will be able to devote the time and effort to continue to move the city of Lovejoy forward.”