Candidate under fire for eligibility responds to Bulldog investi - CBS46 News

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Candidate under fire for eligibility responds to Bulldog investigation

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The Secretary of State's office says they are continuing to investigate the eligibility of a candidate for state office, following a Bulldog investigation. 

CBS46 gave Deanna Harris multiple attempts to clear up the confusion yesterday, calling, emailing and visiting her listed home and work addresses. 

She released a statement that didn't address our questions directly.

Tonight, she released another statement to her supporters, pointing to a statute that she says allows her to run. 

Harris is running for a House seat in Marietta.

Shes also a convicted felon in Florida. Accused of bank fraud in 2009, and re-arrested in 2012 for failure to pay restitution. 

Candidates in Georgia must sign a document that states they have never been convicted and sentenced in any court for a felony involving moral turpitude unless 10 years have passed.

In response to our story, Harris says she pled “no contest” to grand theft in Florida. She was convicted and sentenced by a Florida court for that crime. 

In her statement, she claims she qualifies to run for state office because of a specific Georgia law regarding no contest pleas. 

However, we asked our station’s legal team to review the candidate’s claim and here is what they told us:

There’s a difference between the state constitution and laws passed by the legislature -- the statute applies to Georgia’s judicial system. 

Specifically, our lawyers said; First, the Georgia constitution controls in felony cases like this one, and the Georgia law Harris points to doesn’t.

They also told us that the Georgia statute the candidate is referring to only applies to no contest pleas that are accepted by Georgia judges, in Georgia courts, involving Georgia crimes. 

In other words, it just doesn’t apply to her plea made in a Florida court, to a Florida judge, on a Florida crime.