ATLANTA - It appears Fulton County will have its first new district attorney in nearly two decades. Incumbent Paul Howard was beaten by more than 45 percentage points Tuesday in a runoff against Fani Willis.
Howard recently came under fire after the FOX 5 I-Team uncovered the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was looking into allegations that Howard used grant money from the City of Atlanta to nonprofits under his control. One of those non-profits paid Howard at least $140,000 in city grant money. He agreed to pay a $6,500 state ethics fine for failing to disclose his role as a CEO for two non-profits.
The GBI was investigating the way grand jury subpoenas were issued by Howard's office in the Rayshard Brooks murder case.
In addition, three past or present female employees have filed lawsuits alleging harassment or discrimination.
Howard dismissed the harassment and discrimination allegations, saying they're baseless and politically motivated. He also said there was no wrongdoing involving the salary supplement or the subpoenas.
Howard was the first African American district attorney elected in Georgia when he took office in 1997. He touts a 70% drop in violent crime and a 50% reduction in the county jail population as his main accomplishments. He also said he’s proud that about 60% of his staff is Black and about 65% female, with women holding 84% of supervisory positions. After two decades of running unopposed, Howard placed second in the June Democratic primary.
Challenger Fani Willis, who worked in Howard's office for 16 years and has also been a defense attorney and a judge, raised more money and snagged key endorsements. She received the most votes in the primary but failed to get more than 50%, the necessary threshold to avoid a runoff in the three-way race.
There is no Republican qualified for the general election, effectively making Willis the next Fulton County District Attorney.
The Associated Press contributed to this article