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NEW: Justice Department conducting criminal probe of Fulton DA

By Bill Rankin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga

The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard and his use of a nonprofit to pad his salary with almost $200,000 in city of Atlanta funds, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News have learned.

The probe was disclosed in a recent subpoena calling for the production of documents to a federal grand jury in Atlanta on Oct. 6. It was submitted to the city of Atlanta’s law department by the criminal division of the Justice Department’s public integrity section in Washington.

The subpoena seeks communications, requests and records between the city and the Fulton DA’s office from Jan. 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2017. It specifically asks for documents related to checks from the city to the DA’s office: one for $125,000 dated Aug. 15, 2014, and another for $125,000 dated Sept. 30, 2016.

As previously reported by the AJC, when the city sent those two checks to the DA’s office, Howard deposited them into a bank account held by People Partnering for Progress. PPP, a nonprofit that Howard runs as CEO, says its mission is to reduce youth violence.

From 2014 to 2019, PPP periodically cut checks to Howard totaling $195,000.