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Bench warrant issued for Georgia district attorney

Donald Richard "Dick" Donovan has been indicted by a grand jury on felony offenses.
Credit: Paulding County District Attorney's Office / Facebook
Paulding County District Attorney Donald Richard “Dick” Donovan

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — The clock is ticking for a metro Atlanta district attorney to turn himself in following his indictment on multiple charges.

On Wednesday, Georgia's attorney general, Chris Carr, joined the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in announcing felony charges against Paulding County District Attorney Donald Richard "Dick" Donovan.

The Paulding County Sheriff's Office now confirms that a bench warrant has been issued for him. Documents show he has until noon Tuesday, Feb. 23, to turn himself in. 

Donovan has been accused of false swearing, bribery, and violation of oath by an officer. The charges originate from an investigation by state agents into allegations the district attorney sexually harassed an employee in his office. The victim, who is a victim-witness coordinator, accused him of the act in a 2019 federal lawsuit.

Donovan denied the claim under oath, according to the GBI. He's also accused of trying to help her out of a shoplifting charge by bribing the prosecutor on that case with incentives.

Meanwhile, the future isn't entirely clear for the 10-year district attorney with the governor having the ability to possibly suspend him; though, Gov. Brian Kemp's office hasn't yet said if he will. And, if convicted, the district attorney could face prison time.

Authorities haven't explicitly said why the bench warrant was issued instead of an arrest warrant in the case. Bench warrants are issued by a judge - often for contempt of court. Reasons can vary, among the most common being failure to appear.

It's unclear if that was the case here; however, the otherwise completed true bill from the Superior Court of Paulding County has one section left blank regarding the plea of the defendant as well as any information regarding a defense attorney.

11Alive requested comment from Donovan regarding the charges and the indictment but has not yet heard back.