Georgia District Attorney Suspended From Office, Will Still Draw Salary for Now

A Georgia district attorney was suspended Monday following allegations that he attempted to influence a police officer's testimony, bribe prosecutors in his office and both sway and stop a crime victim's testimony while in office, the Associated Press reported. Despite the suspension, Chattahoochee Circuit District Attorney Mark Jones will still receive his salary for the time being.

Jones took on the position in January to supervise the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, which the Muscogee, Harris, Chattahoochee, Marion, Talbot and Taylor counties are all part of, the AP reported. The Georgia state attorney general's office indicted Jones on September 7 for the alleged criminal misconduct, the AP reported.

Governor Brian Kemp signed the executive order Monday that put Jones' suspension immediately in effect either until his case is resolved or his term in the district attorney office has concluded. If he is convicted of misconduct in the meantime and any appeals are unsuccessful, he'll be removed from his position in office, the AP reported.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
Governor Brian Kemp signed the executive order Monday that put Chattahoochee Circuit District Attorney Mark Jones’ suspension immediately in effect either until his case is resolved or his term in the district attorney office has concluded. Kemp speaks at a news conference on April 10, in Marietta, Georgia. Megan Varner/Getty Images

Jones could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday, but he has previously denied the charges.

Under Georgia law, the governor must appoint a review commission to determine whether suspension is appropriate when an elected official is indicted on a felony charge. Kemp last month appointed a panel made up of Harold Melton, who stepped down as Georgia Supreme Court chief justice in July, as well as South Georgia Judicial Circuit District Attorney Joe Mulholland and Cherokee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Samir Patel.

The panel found that the indictment relates to and adversely affects Jones' performance of his duties in a way that negatively affects the public, according to Kemp's order. His suspension was effective immediately, but he'll continue to draw his salary for now. If he's convicted and any appeals fail, he will be removed from office.

The indictment charges Jones with two counts of violation of oath by a public officer, two counts of attempted violation of oath by a public officer, two counts of bribery, two counts of influencing witnesses and one count of attempted subornation of perjury. All nine counts are felony charges.

Jones was tried last month on unrelated felony charges. He was charged with first-degree criminal damage, interfering with government property and conspiracy in connection with a May 2020 video for his election campaign. The video included stunt driving moves, including cars driving in doughnuts with smoking tires in the parking lot of the Columbus Civic Center.

After the judge declared a mistrial in that case, the prosecutor said he had decided to dismiss the charges but he had not yet done so as of Monday, according to the Ledger-Enquirer newspaper.

Jones is also charged in another unrelated case with DUI, reckless driving and causing injury following a November 2019 crash in which police said Jones was driving drunk. That case remains pending.

Brian Kemp Speaks to Media
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp must appoint a review commission to determine whether suspension is appropriate when an elected official is indicted on a felony charge. Above, Kemp speaks to the media outside of the Chatham County Health Department on December 15, 2020 in Savannah, Georgia. Sean Rayford/Getty Images