Gov. Nathan Deal today appointed state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) and state Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson (D-Tucker) to join Attorney General Sam Olens on a panel that will determine whether or not to suspend state Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta) from office.
The governor’s executive order calls for the panel to issue a written report with its determination within 14 days. The panel’s ruling is final.
Charges filed against Brooks by the U.S. Attorney’s Office triggered a provision in the state constitution that requires a panel of the state attorney general and a gubernatorial appointment of one House and one Senate member to rule on an indicted legislator’s fitness to serve in office.
Deal received the indictment against Brooks on May 31 from Georgia Attorney General Olens.
If the panel determines that Brooks should stay in office, he’ll continue in his official duties for the remainder of his term in office. If it decides to suspend him, Brooks will continue to receive his legislative pay and benefits but will be unable to act in an official capacity.
A suspension would not call for a special election, and the seat would remain vacant until the next regularly scheduled election. Brooks would resume office if the case against him was adjudicated in his favor.
Brooks was in court on May 22 in his first court appearance where he pleaded not guilty to charges that he stole contributions from two charities he oversaw.
Brooks told the Daily World in May about the pain these accusations have brought him.
“In 1966 in Newton County during a civil rights protest, Sheriff Junior Odom cocked a shotgun and pointed it at my head,” said Brooks. “He wanted me to leave town and said so in foul language. I told him that if he didn’t pull that trigger I’d be back again tomorrow.”
Read the executive order here.