Prosecution of former District Attorney delayed, but not going away

Mar. 22—The criminal case against former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson for allegedly meddling in the prosecution of Ahmaud Arbery's now-convicted murderers may have been delayed, but it will not go away, the Georgia Attorney General's Office said.

"We are fully prepared to present our case in court," said Kara Richardson, spokesperson for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. "Our goal has always been and continues to be to ensure maximum justice for Ahmaud Arbery and his family."

Johnson was scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 29, 2022, for a hearing on a motion by her defense attorneys to dismiss the case. She is represented by St. Marys-based attorney John Ossick and Atlanta-based attorney Brian Steel.

The hearing was postponed because of timing conflicts on the part of the defense team, Richardson said.

Johnson has waived her arraignment and pleaded not guilty.

As of Tuesday, nothing new had been filed in the case and nothing new has been scheduled in Glynn County Superior Court since the postponed hearing.

Richardson said it is up to Judge John R. Turner of the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit to schedule the next stages of the case.

Turner is presiding over the case after all the judges in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit recused themselves.

Richardson said the prosecution team at the attorney general's office is ready to move forward and has no plans to back off the prosecution of the former DA, who is accused of violating her oath of office and obstructing and hindering a law enforcement officer.

Johnson was charged in a Sept. 2, 2021, indictment that was convened by Carr for allegedly manipulating the Glynn County police investigation of Greg McMichael and Travis McMichael. The indictment accuses Johnson of directing the case to a prosecutor who might look favorably on the suspects.

It also accuses her of contacting police directly at the scene of the murder and instructing investigators not to arrest the father-and-son pair.

Travis McMichael killed the unarmed Arbery with a 12-gauge shotgun on Feb. 23, 2020, after he, his father, Greg McMichael, and neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, pursued Arbery in pickup trucks through the Satilla Shores subdivision while Arbery ran for his life on foot.

All three men were convicted in state and federal court and are presently serving life in state prison for murder and other charges.

Johnson recused herself the day of Arbery's murder citing a conflict of interest. Greg McMichael was a former investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit DA's office and worked directly with Johnson during his tenure.

Ossick declined on Tuesday to comment on the case and its progress.

Steel, the other defense attorney listed in court documents, is also part of the team representing Atlanta rapper Young Thug in an alleged criminal street gang case in Fulton County.