ATLANTA — Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has lost his runoff election, with the Associated Press confirming he conceded to defeat Tuesday night, meaning his more than 20-year career as Fulton County’s top prosecutor will come to an end at the end of the year.
His challenger, Fani Willis, is set to become the district attorney starting in the new year, with no Republican challengers running for that office in the November general election. She will also be the first woman to be Fulton County District Attorney.
Willis once served as the chief assistant to the district attorney under Howard.
Howard is currently under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation over his use of a nonprofit to allegedly funnel at least $140,000 in the city of Atlanta’s funds to supplement his salary.
Last week, Howard agreed to pay a $6,500 fine to the state ethics commission, admitting that he failed to disclose his role with two nonprofits that paid him more than $200,000.
Howard has defended the payments as a well-deserved pay raise for him.
“I have every confidence that I’ll be totally exonerated because what I’ve done is what most Americans do all the time. They ask for a pay raise,” Howard said in a previous interview with Channel 2 Action News.
Howard has also recently been scrutinized for charging the officers involved in the Rayshard Brooks killing. Howard charged former Officer Garrett Rolfe with 11 counts, including felony murder and aggravated assault, criminal damage to property and violations to his oath of office.
Officer Devin Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and two violations of oath of office.
Critics said Howard acted too soon in charging the officers, doing so even before the GBI came back with its investigation into the deadly shooting.
Howard is currently serving his sixth term as Fulton's district attorney. He was first elected in January 1997, succeeding Lewis Slaton, becoming the first African American to be elected district attorney in the state of Georgia.
Prior to being elected DA, Howard had served as Fulton County’s solicitor general for four years.
Howard’s law career began in 1976 with the city of Atlanta as an assistant solicitor. Within the next year, he became the city’s deputy solicitor and remained in that position until 1980. After that, Howard joined Fulton County as an assistant district attorney under Slaton’s office, where he served for eight years.
Howard then left the DA’s office and worked for three years as an attorney for the Atlanta law firm of Thomas, Kennedy, Sampson, Edward & Patterson, before becoming Fulton County’s solicitor general.
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