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Torney General Chris Carr announced the indictment of former District Attorney Jackie Johnson on Thursday, who was heavily criticized for her handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case.
Johnson was charged with violation of the oath of a public official and obstruction of a police officer. The charges, as the indictment alleges, are related to the investigation into Arbery’s deadly shooting.
“When I got the news, I was at work,” said Thea Brooks, Arbery’s aunt. “It filled me with joy because this is another step towards justice for Ahmaud. It is not a conviction, but an accusation goes in the right direction. ”
Specifically, the indictment (in full at the end of the article) accuses Johnson in February 2020 of violating her oath as a district attorney “by showing favor and affection to Greg McMichael during the investigation …”
Johnson also “did not treat Ahmaud Arbery and his family fairly and with dignity,” the indictment says. It alleges that after Arbery’s death, Johnson sought the help of Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill and, after disqualifying her from the position, recommended Barnhill to the Attorney General’s Office for appointment as prosecutor in the case. without disclosing that he had previously requested Barnhill’s assistance in the case.
If convicted, violation of the oath of a public official is a felony charge that carries a sentence of one to five years. Obstruction and obstruction of a law enforcement position is a misdemeanor that lasts up to 12 months.
“Our office is committed to ensuring that those entrusted with service perform their duties ethically and honestly,” Carr said in a prepared statement. “Although an accusation was returned today, our file is not closed and we will continue investigating to do justice.”
Gregory and Travis McMichael, father and son, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. await trial this fall for hunting down and killing 25-year-old Arbery last year while running in their neighborhood on the Brunswick coastline. . Jury selection is scheduled to begin on October 18.