Judge denies document request in Abrams ethics investigation

Democrat Stacey Abrams’ 2018 campaign for Georgia governor has won a legal skirmish as a judge denied a request from the state ethics commission that the campaign turn over more records

ATLANTA -- A judge handed Democrat Stacey Abrams’ 2018 campaign for Georgia governor a victory in a legal skirmish Friday, denying a request from the state ethics commission for the campaign to hand over more records.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick said in a one-page order that she lacked jurisdiction to enforce a subpoena from the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. The commission was seeking all correspondence between Abrams' campaign and several outside groups, including some that register and mobilize voters.

The commission is investigating allegations that Abrams' campaign illegally coordinated with nonprofit organizations during the race, which she narrowly lost to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. The campaign has said there was no illegal coordination. It said it has already turned over 4,000 documents including financial records and said the commission doesn’t have evidence to support the allegations.

The judge’s order relied on a prior case in which courts lacked jurisdiction to enforce subpoenas from the commission during a preliminary investigation.

“We disagree with the judge’s ruling, and are considering all appellate options at this time,” David Emadi, director of the commission, said Friday, according to the newspaper.