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Athens Republican Cowsert to head up committee investigating Fulton DA over Trump indictments

Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) speaks at a meeting of the Georgia Senate Special Committee on Investigations on Feb. 9, 2024
Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) speaks at a meeting of the Georgia Senate Special Committee on Investigations on Feb. 9, 2024

An Athens-area legislator is heading up a State Senate committee investigating Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Martin Matheny has more.

Senator Bill Cowsert, an Athens Republican, is chairing the Senate Special Committee on Investigations, charged with looking into allegations against Willis, who is pursuing a wide-ranging array of indictments against former President Donald Trump and others related to the 2020 election.

In the committee’s first meeting on Friday, Cowsert, one of six Republicans and three Democrats on the committee, laid out what the committee could – and couldn’t – do.

“It is not our charge to criminally prosecute anybody,” Cowsert said. “That is beyond the scope and authority of the State Senate.”

Cowsert said that his committee’s investigation would be an independent one.

“What we really want to do is find out the facts,” he said. “We're not here to to accept at face value anything that we've read in published reports up until now, but a lot of very troubling allegations have been raised and we want to independently investigate that.”

Cowsert also pledged a fair and bipartisan probe.

“This is a a bipartisan panel and we will be proceeding in a non-partisan type manner with no intention whatsoever of interfering with the criminal justice system,” he said. “Any ongoing prosecutions or investigations will not be interfered with in any way by this committee.”

Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, a Democrat from Stone Mountain, was cautiously optimistic about the nonpartisan tone of the proceedings.

“I commend Chairman Carlson for his openness [and] his inclusiveness, based on the conversations that we have had and I thank you for your leadership,” Butler told Cowsert. “I can't say that I'm looking forward to this, but I appreciate serving and I want to serve and I want to be a part of solutions.”

At their Friday meeting, the committee unanimously agreed to its rules. Cowsert told members that a second meeting would be scheduled in seven to ten days.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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