AMERICA—Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., prosecutor of Rayshard Brooks vs. Atlanta police case, is under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for misuse of funds linked to sexual assault allegations.
Howard has been reported for pocketing funds sent to his office by the City of Atlanta for youth programs. At least $140,000 of the city’s funds were added to his salary through the nonprofit, People Partnering for Progress (PPP), which he operates as CEO.
The GBI’s investigation of Howard, requested by the Attorney General’s office, began after The Atlanta Journal–Constitution and Channel 2 Action News reported discrepancies between financial disclosures Howard filed with the state, and tax filings sent to the IRS by PPP.
In a statement on Facebook on June 17, the GBI said that they were not aware of the press conference before it was conducted. They also “were not consulted on the charges filed by the District Attorney.” Atlanta Police Department requested their assistance in the officer involved shooting that killed Brooks.
The GBI will complete its thorough investigation of this incident and will submit its findings to the Fulton County DA’s Office once it is complete. “However, my office has already launched an intense, independent investigation of the incident,” Howard said in a statement on June 13 in response to a similar, earlier declaration from the independent agency. In the press conference on June 17, he mentioned working with the GBI on examining a bystander’s vehicle that is now physical evidence for this case.
The former Deputy DA, Fani Willis, stated being “deeply concerned” in a Facebook post on June 18 in response to the GBI not knowing about Howard’s press conference. “If the investigation of Mr. Howard means he cannot work with the GBI in this and other cases, he should recuse himself from cases the GBI is investigating,” Willis further expressed.
Howard is currently serving his sixth term as Fulton County DA. He first assumed the role in January 1997, and became the first African American to be elected District Attorney in the State of Georgia.