WATCH RECAP: GOP-led Senate panel questions Fulton DA whistleblower

Committee continues scrutiny of Fani Willis
Chairman Bill Cowsert talks during a hearing with  Defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant at a Senate Special Committee on Investigation at the Georgia State Capitol on Wednesday, March 6, 2024. (Steve Schaefer/

Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer/AJC

Chairman Bill Cowsert talks during a hearing with Defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant at a Senate Special Committee on Investigation at the Georgia State Capitol on Wednesday, March 6, 2024. (Steve Schaefer/

A panel of Georgia senators today will question a former employee of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office who alleged that leaders misspent federal grant dollars.

The Special Committee on Investigations hearing, which begins at 1:30 p.m., represents the latest attempt from GOP lawmakers to keep the spotlight on DA Fani Willis amid the push to disqualify her from the election interference case involving former President Donald Trump and 14 others.

This time, lawmakers will interview Amanda Timpson, who worked as director of gang prevention and intervention for the DA’s office beginning in late 2018. Timpson said she was discriminated against, demoted and eventually fired in early 2022 after she questioned a supervisor about federal money being used improperly.

Watch the recap video below:

Timpson alleges that her supervisors wanted to use grant funding meant for creating a center for youth empowerment and gang prevention for computers, swag and travel, expenses she said were ineligible under program rules. When she brought that up to her supervisor, Timpson says she was racially discriminated against for her natural hair style and that her concerns were ignored. She said despite receiving favorable recognition about her performance at work, she was demoted to file clerk before being fired.

Timpson has sued Willis and her office in state and federal court, though the latter case was dismissed. Legal action in Fulton Superior Court is ongoing.

The Fulton DA’s office has called Timpson’s allegations baseless and indicated that Timpson was difficult to work with. A spokesman previously said Timpson was transferred multiple times within the office after supervisors found her work to be “inadequate.” “Her failure to meet the standards of the new administration led to her termination,” the spokesman previously said, referring to the fact that Timpson was hired by Willis’ predecessor, Paul Howard.

Lawmakers step in

Republicans have seized on Timpson’s story in recent months as they seek to discredit Willis and her work on the Trump case.

On Capitol Hill, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Willis for documents related to the Timpson’s complaint and has threatened to hold the DA in contempt of Congress for not complying to the satisfaction of the panel’s leaders. Two Republican U.S. senators, meanwhile, have asked Willis for information about expenditures on federal grants.

At the statehouse, the Special Committee on Investigations was created earlier this year as nine defendants sought to remove Willis from the election interference case due to a relationship the DA had with the probe’s lead prosecutor, Nathan Wade. Legislators said they wanted to investigate whether Willis improperly spent any state money on trips she took with Wade.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Atlanta. Judge Scott McAfee is hearing testimony as to whether Willis and Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade should be disqualified from the case for allegedly lying about a personal relationship. (Alyssa Pointer/Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

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The panel previously heard testimony from Ashleigh Merchant, the defense attorney who led the removal push, and Fulton County leaders who discussed how they appropriate local funding.

The committee is limited in how it can directly punish Willis, who is a state constitutional officer, but Chairman Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, has discussed subpoenaing Willis and enacting legislation to increase oversight of DAs and how they spend public funds.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes, a Marietta attorney, has said he will represent Willis before the state investigative committee and, if necessary, before the Judiciary Committee in Washington.

A trio of Senate Democrats in a recent op-ed in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called the state investigative committee a “kangaroo court that’s fixed the rules in favor of its purpose: advance a narrative beneficial to Donald Trump.”

Willis, for her part, has indicated she does not plan to cooperate with the committee and suggested it does not have authority to subpoena her.

“I will not appear to anything that is unlawful, and I have not broken the law in any way,” Willis said at a campaign event with clergy members earlier this month. “I’ve said it, you know, I’ll say it amongst these leaders, I’m sorry folks get pissed off that everybody gets treated equally.”

On Tuesday, Willis easily crushed a Democratic primary rival as she seeks a second term. She faces Republican Courtney Kramer in November.

Meanwhile, defendants in the election case have appealed a March ruling that allowed Willis to continue leading the prosecution. The Georgia Court of Appeals plans to hear the matter.