New push to change legislative leave law as Ralston continues to deflect criticism

Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston continues to deflect criticism of his use of a state law to delay court cases.

His biggest critic says there's a new push to change the legislative leave law.

Channel 2 Action News has obtained several letters from Ralston asking for continuances in several cases he represents.

Rep. David Clark said he continues to have talks with lawmakers from all sides and wants changes made to state law.

“I think it's wrong. He's not a victim at all,” Clark said.

Clark wrote a resolution this week, asking Ralston to resign after several north Georgia residents complained Ralston used what's called legislative leave to add multiple delays to their criminal and civil cases.


Ralston took the unusual step Monday of speaking to the entire state House, denouncing the investigation and insisting he'd done nothing wrong, while saying he understands the frustration of critics who spoke out in our investigation with our partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

One of his points was that two of the cases highlighted had actually been set for trial.

“Back in November, before this was ever a story, I met with the judge and district attorney and agreed to a special set of trials in two of the four, in either May or June when this session is over. And that didn't get reported,” Ralston said Tuesday.

A Channel 2 investigative producer called the prosecutors, courts and judges involved in the cases Tuesday.

No one would confirm any special trial date has been set.

“Not all those continuances are on me. Cases get continued for a variety for a reasons,” Ralston said.

In an exclusive interview last week, Ralston insisted some of the delays we highlighted -- 56 in 20 cases over two years -- were at the request of judges and other lawyers.

In our investigation, we pulled the requests from court files on Ralston letterhead for every leave cited.

“How is all this legislative leave?” Thomas asked Ralston in a previous interview.

“I travel all over the state and meet with members who want me to come in and speak on their behalf,” Ralston said.

The resolution to force Ralston to resign has been sent to a committee, where it will likely never see the light of day.

Clark said he'll keep pushing.

“I'm Republican, but before that I'm an American,” Clark said.

“Where does this go now?” Thomas asked Clark.

“Trying to gather support is tough, because I'm just one,” Clark said.

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