Warrant issued for DA facing felony charges from alleged attempts to spark sexual relationship with employee

PAULDING COUNTY, GA – The District Attorney for Paulding County was reportedly hit with a bench warrant for his arrest, with officials saying that the DA is facing some felony charges in relation to alleged misconduct within his role as the DA.

On February 17th, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, alongside the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, announced the bench warrant issued for Paulding County District Attorney Donald Richard “Dick” Donovan.

The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office also confirmed the existence of said warrant, noting that the DA has until February 23rd to turn himself in under charges of false swearing, bribery, and two counts of violation of oath by an officer.

DA Donovan’s legal troubles reportedly stem from what originally started out as a lawsuit filed against him in 2019 by Jamie White, who is a victim-witness coordinator that accused DA Donovan of sexual harassment in the lawsuit. 

According to the GBI, DA Donovan had refuted the claims made in the lawsuit in a sworn affidavit, which is where the alleged false swearing seems to originate from. 

As for the bribery charge, DA Donovan had allegedly tried bribing a prosecutor in order to get White – the alleged victim from the sexual harassment debacle – out of a shoplifting charge. 

Allegations made in the sexual harassment lawsuit purported that DA Donovan had made several unwanted advances against White between 2017 and 2019 – including allegedly describing in detail to her the sexual fantasies he had of her.

The violation of oath charges revolves around DA Donovan’s alleged conduct during the period of time that transpired during the alleged sexual harassment and bribery.

It’s currently unclear whether Governor Brian Kemp will suspend the district attorney in light of the bench warrant issued, which the governor does have the power to do so by way of an appointed panel.

No officials have come forth to explain why the judge in this matter decided to issue a bench warrant as opposed to an arrest warrant being drafted.

With bench warrants, the process is started and finalized with a judge – and usually are drafted in instances of defendants failing to appear in court. NOLO describes the issuance of these warrants as when, “someone didn’t have their backside on the [court’s] bench when they should have.”

However, arrest warrants start with police officers drafting a statement of probable cause for arrest, which said statement is provided to a judge who either approves or denies the requested arrest warrant.

Needless to say, the entire situation is complex. 

After the grand jury had returned the indictment against DA Donovan, state AG Carr delivered the following statement

“District attorneys work for the people and swear an oath to faithfully and impartially discharge their duties. It is our duty to hold public officials who violate their oath accountable, and we look forward to presenting our case in court.”

The Paulding County District Attorney, who has held office since 2010, is facing some serious time in prison if convicted. Between the bribery, false statements, and violation of oath charges, DA Donovan can serve up to 35 years in prison.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further updates to this developing investigation. 

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In an update to a previous report from January, Georgia’s attorney general has refused a request to appoint an alternative prosecutor in two high-profile cases involving the use of force by police in Atlanta after Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis had requested such. 

We at Law Enforcement Today had previously reported on the requested effort back in late January. 

Here’s that previous report. 


FULTON COUNTY, GA – Back in August of 2020, then-Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard was voted out of his position and District Attorney Fani T. Willis was voted in.

In late January of 2021, the new District Attorney petitioned the state’s attorney general in an effort to seek alternative prosecutors for two high-profile cases that cropped up in 2020, citing her predecessor’s mishandling of the cases.

However, as of February 10th, said request was denied by the state’s AG.

One of the cases in question pertains to the prosecution of what’s been coined as the “Atlanta 6”, the officers charged in the incident that involved two college students getting tased and pulled out of their cars in the midst of a George Floyd protest ongoing in Atlanta over the summer of 2020.

And then of course, the other high-profile case being that of the charging of former Atlanta Police officer Garrett Rolfe, who has been charged with felony murder in the death of Rayshard Brooks which transpired in June of 2020.

In DA Willis’ is letter to State Attorney General Christopher Carr, the newly elected DA pointed to a television ad campaign that her predecessor used in an effort to achieve reelection.

Apparently, the campaign advertisement pieced together by former DA Paul Howard included footage from the Rayshard Brooks case:

“I believe his conduct, including using video evidence in campaign television advertisements, may have violated Georgia Bar Rule 3.8(g).”

Another aspect mentioned within the letter by DA Willis noted that Howard had issued grand jury subpoenas despite there being no such panel at the time due to the pandemic. Based upon the aforementioned, DA Willis believes these cases should be transferred out of her office:

“I believe both matters create sufficient question of the appropriateness of this office continuing to handle the investigation and possible prosecution of these cases that the public interest is served by disqualifying this office and referring the matter to specially appointed prosecutor.”

Now it’s unclear if it was referenced in the letter sent to the state attorney general’s office, but former Fulton County DA Howard engaged in numerous things that could bring into question whether he was handling these high-profile cases appropriately.

Back on June 17th in 2020, at the same press conference where former DA Howard announced felony charges against former officer Garrett Rolfe, he also stated that he believes “prosecutors should be allowed to indict cases directly without a grand jury when they involve police shootings.”

If that weren’t questionable enough, also in June of 2020, former DA Howard attended the funeral of Rayshard Brooks – despite his office being tasked with prosecuting the man accused of murdering him.

And when Garrett Rolfe managed to make bail with the help of people donating to a legal fund for the accused, former DA Howard attempted to have the identities outed of those who donated to Garrett Rolfe’s legal fund.

Now while none of this occurred under the watch of the new District Attorney in Fulton County, these actions still took place while these cases were being handled by the Fulton County DA’s office.

Overall, it was a rather ethical request to be made by DA Willis.

State Attorney General Carr’s Office did confirm that they had received the request from the newly elected DA on January 28th, but stated at the time that there’s some additional information needed to grant said request according to a spokesperson for the office:

“We are awaiting additional information necessary to initiate the process for appointing a substitute prosecutor.”

Obviously, later updates show that the effort was ultimately unsuccessful, since the AG’s office denied that a new prosecutor be assigned.

Attorney Mawuli Mel Davis, who is representing one of the victims from the “Atlanta 6” case was reportedly unhappy when there was a possibility of the case being reassigned – namely due to said effort having had the potential to lengthen the process for the case to work its way through the courts:

“They have been patient with the process and to now have to wait even longer is incredibly disheartening and frustrating. This is essentially a restart of a case that we wanted ready for trial when the courts reopen.”


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Author: Gregory Hoyt

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