EXCLUSIVE: Democratic lawmakers in Georgia are coming to the defense of Republican Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, who is facing an investigation into his role in the alleged attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state by former President Donald Trump and his allies.
Speaking with Fox News Digital, three Democratic state senators attested to Jones’ character and willingness to work across the aisle for Georgians as lieutenant governor and as a state senator prior to his election, but would not take sides specifically on the expected special prosecutor that will be looking into his involvement in the Trump case.
“I can’t speak to any investigation because it’s not my judgment to make, and I don’t know the details,” state Sen. Josh McLaurin told Fox. “My experience with Lieutenant Governor Jones has just been serving in the Senate, where he has been straightforward in his communication and willingness to work with members of the minority party.”
State Den. Derek Mallow echoed McLaurin, telling Fox he “wholeheartedly” believed in the separation of powers between the judiciary and legislative branches of the state government and wouldn’t comment on any pending legal matters, but stressed Jones’ willingness to work with Democratic members of the legislature.
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Burt Jones, then-Republican candidate for lieutenant governor speaks as Republican Governor Brian Kemp listens at a press conference on November 7, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
“For me personally I watched my city and county go to blows over lost negotiations and I met with the lieutenant governor after I introduced my study committee to ask him to allow the senate to study the issue,” he said, referencing a specific piece of legislation.
“He not only agreed but allowed me to chair the committee. Even on issues we may disagree on I have never been silenced at the well or ignored for the opportunity to speak, and he has been straightforward on that and many other issues to me,” he added.
State Sen. Freddie Powell Sims agreed, touting her ability to work with Jones to get things accomplished for the good of all Georgians, especially the citizens of her largely rural southwest district, but also wanted to avoid commenting on any ongoing legal processes.
“Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones was a colleague, as well as a friend, prior to his election as lieutenant governor. We were always able to work together — in spite of political differences — for the good of all Georgians, especially matters that directly impacted District 12. As lieutenant governor, Burt Jones has continued to work with me based on the challenges and needs of District 12 constituents,” she said.
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The Georgia state Capitol in Atlanta. (Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
“He has always been a gentleman and committed family man. My conversations with the lieutenant governor have seldom involved political context or strategies, probably due to the vast differences that we exude. But those political differences never intervened when making certain that Georgians were cared for,” she added.
Jones, seen as a likely front-runner in the race to replace current Gov. Brian Kemp in the 2026 election, was one of the 16 so-called “fake” electors who claimed Trump won Georgia and attempted to conduct a secret meeting at the State Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, in an alleged effort to overturn President Biden’s victory in the state. Three of the 16 were indicted alongside Trump last week on allegations of forgery, false statements and impersonating a public officer, among other crimes.
Jones was excluded from the investigation that led to the indictments after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ordered District Attorney Fani Willis to drop him in July 2022 because she hosted a fundraiser for Democrat Charlie Bailey, who was running against Jones for lieutenant governor in the general election that November.
As a result of that order, Georgia Prosecuting Attorneys Council Executive Director Pete Skandalakis decided to wait until an indictment was handed down before choosing to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Jones.
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Former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures to the crowd at a campaign event on July 1, 2023 in Pickens, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
In an exclusive interview with Fox last week, Jones hit back at the targeting of him and his role in connection with Trump’s alleged effort to overturn the state’s election results, as well as the indictments brought against the former president and others.
“I haven’t done anything wrong, and the people who are being indicted in Fulton County, I don’t think they’ve done anything wrong, either,” Jones said. “They were expressing their opinions in a lot of cases, and for them to be charged and booked and fingerprinted, as if they’re common criminals is something that I just — it’s a little disturbing, to be honest with you.”
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Fox News’ Landon Mion contributed to this report.