Attorney General Chris Carr on Thursday announced the indictment of former District Attorney Jackie Johnson, who was strongly criticized over the way she handled the Ahmaud Arbery case.
Johnson was indicted on charges of violation of oath of public officer and obstruction of a police officer. The charges, as alleged in the indictment, are related to the investigation surrounding the deadly shooting of Arbery.
Specifically, the indictment (in full at end of the article) accuses Johnson in February 2020 of violating her oath as district attorney “by showing favor and affection to Greg McMichael during the investigation…”
Johnson also failed “to treat Ahmaud Arbery and his family fairly and with dignity,” the indictment states. It alleges that after Arbery’s death, Johnson sought the assistance of Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill and, after disqualifying her for office, recommended Barnhill to the Attorney General’s Office for appointment as the case prosecutor without disclosing that she had previously sought Barnhill’s assistance on the case.
“Our office is committed to ensuring those who are entrusted to serve are carrying out their duties ethically and honestly,” Carr said in a prepared statement. “While an indictment was returned today, our file is not closed, and we will continue to investigate in order to pursue justice.”
If convicted, the violation of oath of public officer is a felony charge that carries a sentence of one to five years. The obstruction and hindering a law enforcement officer charge is a misdemeanor that carries up to 12 months.
Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. are awaiting trial this fall for chasing and killing 25-year-old Arbery last year as he ran in their neighborhood outside coastal Brunswick. Jury selection is scheduled to start Oct. 18.
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