Commission decides Tyrone Brooks will stay in office - CBS46 News

Commission decides Tyrone Brooks will stay in office

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State Rep. Tyrone Brooks State Rep. Tyrone Brooks
ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

A commission appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal reviewed charges against Rep. Tyrone Brooks and decided he will stay in office.

Brooks, elected to the Georgia House in 1980, pleaded not guilty on charges of taking nearly $1 million in donations from the charities and using the money for himself and his family.

According to a statement released by Deal's office, the commission decided unanimously that "the indictment against Brooks does not relate to his duties as a state representative."

The 30-count indictment filed against Brooks by the U.S. Attorney's Office triggered a provision in the state constitution that requires the governor to appoint a commission consisting of Attorney General Sam Olens, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, and Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson.

The commission had to decide whether the indictment relates to and adversely affects Brooks' administration of the office and whether the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected.

During the hearing, Brooks' attorney and former Gov. Roy Barnes, argued that the panel does not have the authority to suspend Brooks.

"Just because the public official gets indicted is not enough under the constitution to remove a public official," said Barnes. "It has to be an act that occurred in the performance of his duties in that office. Without that, there's no jurisdiction."

During the hearing which lasted about 15 minutes, Olens prohibited Barnes from calling witnesses.

"The constitution does not provide for that," said Olens to Barnes. 

After the hearing, Barnes read a section of the constitution to reporters which appeared to include language about obtaining witnesses for the purposes of indictment review hearings.

"Why would you ever obtain witnesses if you couldn't examine them? I mean it sounds like a pretty stupid rule to me," said Barnes. "Like I said, the attorney general may be reading a different constitution than I am. Hopefully, they hadn't changed it."

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