Attorneys: Ex-prosecutor never ever hindered Arbery investigators

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Attorneys for a former Ga prosecutor charged with misconduct in the investigation of Ahmaud Arbery’s killing say she in no way experimented with to discourage police from producing arrests in the taking pictures of the 25-yr-outdated Black gentleman.

Defense legal professionals for Jackie Johnson, who served as district attorney for coastal Glynn County when Arbery was killed there two years ago, filed a lawful movement Wednesday asking a choose to dismiss a misdemeanor charge that she hindered law enforcement investigating the death.

“There is not a scintilla of evidence that the Honorable previous District Attorney Johnson at any time knowingly and/ or willfully hindered any Law Enforcement Officer(s) from arresting anybody tied to the murder of Mr. Arbery,” Johnson’s lawyers wrote.

An investigation asked for by Ga Lawyer Standard Chris Carr led to Johnson’s indictment final slide on costs that she illegally applied her office environment to safeguard the white adult males who chased and killed Arbery. One of them was Greg McMichael, a retired investigator for Johnson’s business office who identified as her shortly following the lethal shooting Feb. 23, 2020.

McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, armed on their own and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck following recognizing him functioning in their neighborhood just outdoors the port metropolis of Brunswick. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery with a shotgun.

No arrests were being created till the graphic video clip leaked online approximately two months later and the Ga Bureau of Investigation took around the case from regional law enforcement. All 3 gentlemen were convicted of murder previous fall in a Georgia point out court docket. Very last thirty day period, they had been identified responsible of federal hate crimes right after a 2nd trial in U.S. District Courtroom.

Johnson blamed her reelection loss in November 2020 on voters outraged by delayed arrests in Arbery’s loss of life. She mentioned she recused herself from the case immediately mainly because Greg McMichael was a previous staff.

In their courtroom filing, Johnson’s attorneys cite interviews that Glynn County police officers assigned to Arbery’s killing gave to state and federal investigators, indicating they arrived to their possess summary that Arbery was shot in self-defense. The officers mentioned they by no means spoke directly with Johnson, and a single of her assistant prosecutors referred them to talk to an outside district lawyer in a neighboring circuit, George Barnhill.

A single of two Glynn County officers Johnson is accused of hindering, Sgt. Stephanie Oliver, informed investigators “that no 1 pressured her to arrest or not arrest any individual in this scenario,” in accordance to the defense attorneys’ legal motion.

Johnson’s lawyers also mentioned that Glynn County law enforcement Capt. Tom Bounce told investigators all of his officers assigned to Arbery’s killing “believed that this was a self-protection slaying and therefore, no arrest required to happen.”

Arbery’s household has lengthy blamed Johnson for attempting to protect the McMichaels. Evidence in the circumstance includes a voice information Greg McMichael still left right after contacting Johnson’s cellphone the day of the taking pictures.

“Jackie, this is Greg,” he said on the recording. “Could you simply call me as quickly as you potentially can? My son and I have been included in a shooting and I want some tips appropriate away.”

A record of Greg McMichael’s cellphone calls, incorporated in the public case file, does not demonstrate that Johnson referred to as him back again.

In addition to the charge of hindering law enforcement, Johnson has been charged with a felony count of violating her oath of office. Her attorneys stated they strategy to deal with that count in a afterwards court submitting.

Glynn County law enforcement officers named to the witness stand in the condition and federal trials over Arbery’s death made available extremely minor testimony about their choice not to arrest the McMichaels and Bryan.

Stephan Lowrey, the guide Glynn County investigator in the taking pictures, testified in November that he hadn’t shut the case when state investigators took it more than in May perhaps 2020.

“It was still open, but not having substantially traction,” Lowrey said.