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Georgia Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Seeking to Bar Lt. Gov. Burt Jones from Holding Office

— January 9, 2024

One of the four plaintiffs named in the complaint has since said that he intends to appeal the dismissal to the Georgia Supreme Court.

A Butts County judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to disqualify Georgia Lt. Gov. Burt Jones from holding office after acting as an elector for former President Donald Trump in 2020.

According to The Associated Press, Butts County Judge Thomas Wilson found that four of the voters named as plaintiffs in the complaint had misapplied legal theory in seeking to bar Jones from holding state-level office.

The complaint, adds The Associated Press, was similar in substance to other claims attempting to keep Trump and his political allies off ballots, both in Georgia and across the country.

In their lawsuit, the four plaintiffs said that Jones forfeited his right to hold office when he signed his name as an elector for Donald Trump in the 2020 general election. However, Biden had won the popular vote in Georgia—and was later certified as having secured all 16 of the state’s electoral votes.

By appearing to support Trump in a conspiracy to overturn the results of a democratically-conducted election, Jones purportedly engaged in insurrection “against the Constitution of the United States of America.”

After the complaint was filed, attorneys for the lieutenant governor said that there was little compelling evidence to show that Jones ever “engaged in an insurrection against the United States or ‘has given aid and comfort to the enemies’ of the United States.”

President Donald Trump on a video call in 2017. Image via: (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead). Public domain.

Furthermore, Jones’s legal counsel said that the lawsuit apparently construes any form of political support for Trump—including his client’s continued support of the former president—as fundamentally unconstitutional.

“Were that the standard, then almost every Republican party member in office in Congress or anywhere in the country would also be subject to the same arguments that they had committed sedition,” attorney William Dillon said. “Clearly, that’s not the standard.”

Richard Rose, a civil rights activist and listed plaintiff, said that he had expected Wilson to rule against him. Rose, along with voters, says that he plans to appeal the decision to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Jones “violated his oath of office, because he lied and said he was a duly qualified elector from the state of Georgia, which is not true,” Rose said.

Jones, meanwhile, claims that the lawsuit is a bad-faith attempt to force him out of office.

“Democrat activists in Georgia are trying to use the legal system to overrule the will of the voters, just like liberal activists in places like Colorado and Maine are trying to do to President Trump,” Jones said in a statement. “I’m glad to see the court throw out this ridiculous political attack.”

The Associated Press notes that Jones was among 16 Republicans who met on December 14, 2020, at the Georgia Capitol. There, they claimed to be legitimate electors and cast ballots seeking to certify Trump as the winner of the presidential election.

However, Biden had already been declared the winner of the race, and there was little—if any—evidence to support right-wing conspiracy theories that the election had been rigged in Biden’s favor.


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