Norcross GOP senator isn’t the only lawmaker who’s faced legal trouble

Shawn Still surrendered himself at the Fulton County jail early Friday
In 1999, former state senator Diana Harvey Johnson was found guilty on five counts of mail fraud.
Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 4:52 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - State Sen. Shawn Still, the Norcross Republican accused of being one of 16 fake electors in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election aftermath, isn’t the first state lawmaker who has faced a possible suspension.

Still surrendered himself at the Fulton County jail early Friday morning, only hours after former President Donald Trump did the same after he and 18 others were named in last week’s sweeping indictment from District Attorney Fani Willis.

In 1999, former state senator Diana Harvey Johnson was found guilty on five counts of mail fraud. According to her indictment, Johnson, while serving in the General Assembly as a senator from Savannah, devised a scheme to defraud Georgia citizens by failing to disclose conflicts of interest and profits she received from her elected office.

Also in 1999, former state senator Ralph David Abernathy III was found guilty of submitting false expense reimbursement requests to the state legislature; forging documents; and receiving reimbursement money from the state, according to his indictment. After being found guilty on 18 felony counts, he also went to prison.

More recently, in 2015, former state representative Tyrone Brooks was charged with mail, wire, and tax fraud. While awaiting trial, a three-person committee charged with determining whether Brooks would remain in office voted not to suspend him. Despite his legal troubles, Brooks was re-elected by his metro Atlanta constituents, only to resign after pleading guilty to tax fraud.

Georgia Sen. Shawn Still and Former Rep. Tyrone Brooks
Georgia Sen. Shawn Still and Former Rep. Tyrone Brooks(Rachel Polansky)

In 2019, then-Georgia insurance commissioner Jim Beck was sentenced to federal prison following his conviction for stealing more than $2.5 million from the Georgia Underwriting Association. He was also charged with tax fraud for filing fraudulent income tax returns.

Beck voluntarily suspended himself from office pending the outcome of his criminal case. But he was also drawing his state salary between his suspension and his conviction, which is one of the reasons why the General Assembly, last year, passed a law that pauses state officials’ compensation if they’re suspended from office for a felony.

Gov. Brian Kemp is required to wait 14 days before appointing a commission that will review Still’s case, a similar commission that reviewed Brooks’ case and voted against suspending him.

The commission reviewing Still’s case will be made up of Republican Attorney General Chris Carr, along with two lawmakers: one from the state house and one from the state senate. Those three officials will then have another 14 days to issue a written report that could recommend Still’s suspension.

Kemp’s office said it received the indictment Wednesday, August 16, which means that three-member commission will be appointed by Wednesday, August 30.

If Still is suspended, he will not draw his state salary.

If there’s something you would like Atlanta News First investigative reporter Rachel Polansky to dig into, email her at

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