Georgia attorney general requests investigation into district attorneys' handling of Ahmaud Arbery case
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced Tuesday that he has requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate the actions of two district attorneys involved in the Ahmaud Arbery case. The case involved "possible prosecutorial misconduct" by the offices of the district attorneys, the GBI said in a news release.
"Unfortunately, many questions and concerns have arisen regarding, among other things, the communications between and actions taken by the District Attorneys of the Brunswick and Waycross Circuits," Carr said in a statement Tuesday. "As a result, we have requested the GBI to review in order to determine whether the process was undermined in any way."
The case is now on its fourth district attorney, after multiple conflicts of interest.
Arbery, 25, was shot and killed while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23. Police initially interviewed Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, but let them go. Months later, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was brought onto the case and arrested the McMichaels for murder and aggravated assault 48 hours into its independent investigation.
The elder McMichael is a former law enforcement officer who used to work for the local district attorney, Jackie Johnson. Carr told Fox News' Dana Perino on Saturday that he first became aware of the case on February 27, when Johnson notified his office of her conflict of interest.
"When a district attorney is unable to take on a case due to a conflict, our office must appoint another prosecutor to handle the case," Carr in a press release announcing his request Tuesday.
According to the GBI, Johnson then handed the case off to District Attorney George Barnhill of the Waycross Judicial Circuit.
"Not long after Mr. Barnhill's appointment, he and Ms. Johnson learned that Mr. Barnhill's son, an assistant district attorney in Ms. Johnson's office, had worked with Mr. McMichael on a prosecution involving Mr. Arbery. Mr. Barnhill, however, held onto the case for several more weeks after making this discovery," the GBI said in a press release receiving Carr's request Tuesday.
According to the GBI, Barnhill advised the Glynn County Police Department on the day after Arbery's murder "that he did not see grounds for the arrest of any of the individuals involved in Mr. Arbery's death," a fact that was "unknown and undisclosed to the Attorney General." Barnhill contacted Carr on April 7 to disclose the conflict of interest, the GBI wrote, but "failed to disclose his involvement in this case prior to his appointment."
On Monday, Carr named a new prosecutor in the case: Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes. Holmes, a black woman, is now the fourth prosecutor assigned to the case, after District Attorney Tom Durden, who first brought the GBI into the fold.
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