State Ethics Commission names new director following pornography-related scandal

ATLANTA — The state ethics commission has named a local prosecutor to be its new director.

He'll replace the former director, who resigned after complaints that included viewing pornography on state computers.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher learned Monday that after a background check, Douglas County Chief Assistant District Attorney David Emadi will take over at the State Ethics Commission.

Emadi will arrive at a time when the commission is investigating some well-known political figures.

Belcher asked ethics commission Chairman Jake Evans about the importance of his experience prosecuting criminal cases.

“That is experience that is extremely beneficial in this type of role, because in this type of role, you're going to have to be willing to go against heavy hitters, go against people that maybe have a lot of power,” Evans said.


Emadi has been an assistant DA In Douglas County for six years -- the past year as chief assistant.

He will replace Stefan Ritter, who resigned last month with a $45,000 settlement and promise not to sue the commission.

The most visible complaint was that Ritter had pornography on his state computer.

Probably more serious were allegations by Ritter's top assistants that he interfered with investigations of the campaigns of unnamed candidates for mayor of Atlanta, and last year's nearly successful campaign for governor by Democrat Stacey Abrams.

Bethany Whetzel wrote in a complaint that, “Mr. Ritter was visibly disappointed that the violations we uncovered related to the Abrams campaign and directed us not to proceed.”

Robert Lane also wrote that Ritter ordered work to stop on the Abrams investigation because, “Ms. Abrams was going to be the next governor."

Evans told Belcher that those investigations are no longer stalled.

“Those are, to our understanding, up and running. The investigations are being evaluated. When Mr. Emadi steps in, that will be one of his first prerogatives,” Evans said.

His message for elected officials who are covered by the act?

“Follow the rules,” Evans said.

Emadi texted Belcher on Monday to say that he looks forward to “securing the public's trust in the electoral process and ensuring that, when it comes to campaign finance laws, everybody plays by the same rules.”

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