An employee of the Paulding County District Attorney’s office that is part of a series of events that led to the indictment of Paulding County District Attorney Dick Donovan last week was arrested in late 2017 by Cedartown Police for shoplifting.
Those details were confirmed by the city of Cedartown after it was announced by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr on Wednesday, Feb. 17, that Donovan had been indicted for bribery, two counts of false swearing and violating his oath of office.
The indictments stem from charges that he improperly sought to have a municipal court dismiss a charge against the female employee he is accused of sexually harassing.
The woman, Jamie White, was arrested by Cedartown Police for allegedly shoplifting on Oct. 14, 2017, according to Polk County Jail reports.
The ensuing case in Cedartown Municipal Court led Donovan to allegedly try to have the case dismissed by bribing the prosecutor at the time.
A statement from the city of Cedartown explained that White’s case was ultimately dismissed as part of a pre-trial diversion program frequently used in the case of first time offenders.
“The individual who prosecuted the case is no longer the city solicitor and has not been for several years,” the statement said.
Donovan is accused of committing bribery when he dismissed a criminal case in Paulding County Superior Court in which the defendant was being represented by the prosecutor of Cedartown Municipal Court at the time.
In exchange, according to Carr, Donovan was trying to influence the prosecutor to dismiss the shoplifting case in the Cedartown court that was pending against White.
The indictment also alleges that Donovan lied in a sworn statement he made during an investigation into whether he was sexually harassing White. Specifically, the indictment alleges Donovan lied when he denied “ever having said that he wanted to have sex” with her and that he lied when he denied “describing his fantasies desiring to be physical” with her.
The indictment also alleges Donovan violated his oath of office when he committed bribery.
A judge will issue a warrant for Donovan’s arrest, Carr spokesperson Katie Byrd said. No date had been set for his arraignment.
“We appreciate the Paulding County grand jury for their careful consideration of this case,” Carr said in a release. “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.”
Donovan has served as the Paulding County District Attorney since his election to that position in 2010.
White filed a suit in federal court against Donovan, the county, and the state’s Prosecuting Attorneys Council in 2019 after filing a formal complaint earlier that year.
That suit said that for a two-year period starting in 2017, Donovan told White he was in love with her, gave her unwanted hugs and kisses, sent her personal text messages and emails, gave her unwanted gifts, forced her into private meetings and described sexual fantasies involving her and his desire to have sex with her.
The lawsuit was settled in January, 2020, with White receiving $300,000. The state of Georgia paid $220,000 of that total.
Indictments contain only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case was investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
“The GBI is dedicated to investigating corruption at all levels and working with prosecutors to help lead to a successful prosecution,” Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds said in a release.