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Paulding DA resigns, pleads guilty to unprofessional conduct

A judge sentenced him to 12 months probation, AG Chris Carr says.

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — Editor's note: The video above is from a previous story.

Paulding County District Attorney Donald Richard “Dick” Donovan has pleaded guilty to unprofessional conduct and has stepped down from his position, according to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.

Donovan, who found himself on the other side of the law after being indicted on bribery and other charges last year, was sentenced to 12 months of probation. The only charge mentioned in Carr's news release Thursday was the one count of unprofessional conduct.  

Carr's office said Donovan has resigned and is required to surrender his license to practice law. He had been the district attorney for Paulding County since he was elected in 2010.  

"When these same individuals abuse their power with complete disregard for their sworn duties, they harm the very justice system they are put in place to defend and protect," Carr said. "We will not hesitate to hold accountable public officials who violate the law and their oaths of office and hope this case sends a message that public corruption of any kind will not be tolerated here in Georgia."

Donovan has been under investigation for a while and had been suspended since Feb. 2021.

Credit: WXIA

He was put into the spotlight after allegations surfaced of sexual harassment. A federal lawsuit from 2019 was settled out of court. The GBI and Carr's office started investigating the then-district attorney. He was accused flying under oath when he denied sexually harassing her. Officials also previously accused of trying to help the woman of a shoplifting charge by bribing the prosecutor on that case, not with cash but with other incentives. 

In June, 11Alive's investigative team The Reveal, uncovered other bribery allegations connected Donovan. There were claims that Donovan accepted a bribe in 2013 to reduce charges against two people connected to a shooting. Court records showed several agencies requested GBI to look into the allegations. Last year, state investigators closed that case without filing charges, but video evidence pointed to claims of a quid pro quo between the then-district attorney and the owner of a Paulding County car dealership.

Read more from The Reveal about Donovan's case here.