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Morning headlines: Judge pulls Fulton DA off potential of Lt. Gov. candidate

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Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Burt Jones won a key legal victory on Monday, when a judge ruled that Fulton DA Fani Willis could not question him about his role in potential 2020 election interference.

A judge ruled Monday that the prosecutor investigating whether former President Donald Trump and his allies illegally tried to interfere in the 2020 election in Georgia cannot question a lawmaker who signed an elector certificate stating that Trump won the state.

Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney agreed with Republican state Sen. Burt Jones that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had a conflict of interest because she hosted a fundraiser last month for Jones’ Democratic opponent for lieutenant governor. The judge’s decision likely has no real bearing on the future of Willis’ investigation, but provided ammunition to critics who have accused her of pursuing a politically motivated case.

Willis can still ask other witnesses about Jones but will not be able to bring charges against him. It is now up to the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, a nonpartisan association of Georgia district attorneys, to appoint another prosecutor to determine whether any charges should be brought against Jones.

Federal judge signals Hice will have to testify in election probe

A federal judge has indicated that she plans to deny a request from 10th District Congressman Jody Hice to quash a summons to appear before that same special grand jury.

Judge Leigh Martin May of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia acknowledged that Hice may be back in federal court if he objects to specific questions asked by prosecutors or jurors that deal with his role as a U.S. House member.

Hice’s attorneys had cited the U.S. Constitution’s “Speech or Debate” clause, which shields members of Congress from being questioned in court about their legislative activities and the motivations behind them.

They also argued that Hice was considered a “high-ranking official,” a special designation that includes its own high legal standard for when witnesses are compelled to talk to a grand jury. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is similarly planning to fight his summons in an Atlanta court.

Two Macon men arrested for Commerce armed robbery and shooting

Police have arrested two Macon men for an armed robbery in Commerce. The robbery and shooting happened shortly after noon at a business along Highway 441.

Police say the men were sitting in a car, when the 62 year old woman and her 68 year old husband arrived. The couple was returning to their car when the men held the woman at gunpoint. When the husband came to her aid, he was shot in the upper chest.

The victims were able to provide the last three digits of the getaway vehicle’s license plate, which was tracked to an apartment in Banks County. Both men are in custody. The victim is hospitalized and recovering.

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!