Incoming DA to recuse himself in deputy assault case

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 3:01 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After current District Attorney Natalie Paine chose to pursue charges against a Richmond County Sheriff’s Office deputy following a recommendation from the grand jury, incoming District Attorney Jared Williams says he’ll have to recuse himself from the case.

A statement from Williams says that since Deputy Brandon Keathley is being represented by The Hawk Firm. Williams, a member of the firm, has identified the case as a conflict for him.

As a result, another district attorney from elsewhere in the state will be assigned to the case by the attorney general’s office.

“This is the same procedure that was violated earlier this year in the Ahmaud Arbery case,” Williams said. “I take the ethics code very seriously. The DA has a tremendous amount of power in our criminal justice system. The only way to ensure that power is not abused is to have a District Attorney who is committed to justice, fairness, and the highest ethical integrity.”

Keathley was indicted earlier in the week on aggravated assault and aggravated assault on a peace officer charges following a recommendation from the grand jury.

He was arrested Wednesday morning on a grand jury warrant.

The charges come following a February 2020 incident in which investigators said Keathley struck fellow Deputy Nicholas Nunes in the head with a flashlight.

What the current DA says

Meanwhile, Paine is speaking out on the case after she and the Richmond County sheriff exchanged strong words.

On Wednesday, Sheriff Richard Roundtree released a statement calling the district attorney’s handling of the case “extremely unorthodox” and “inexcusable.”

Paine told News 12 she was disappointed in that statement, which she says attempts to make the case personal.

“The press release yesterday from the sheriff was disappointing to read, for sure,” she said Thursday.

“And you know, you can’t take things personally. You can’t make things personal. It’s more or less, you know, these are the facts.”

News 12 did reach out to Roundtree for an interview, but he has not yet agreed to one

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