Thursday’s scheduled arraignment for former Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson has been continued to a later date, further extending any action taken on 2021 charges that accuse her of meddling in the Ahmaud Arbery murder investigation.
This first court proceeding in the 16-month-old case was set for 10 a.m. Thursday at the Glynn County Courthouse. However, presiding Judge John R. Turner granted a continuance motion on Dec. 19, citing “a conflict and at the request of all counsel,” according to the court order.
Turner is a superior court judge with Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, assigned to preside after local judges recused themselves. A new date for the arraignment has not been established.
A Glynn County grand jury indicted Johnson on Sept. 2, 2021, charging her with violation of oath of office and obstructing and hindering a law enforcement officer. Johnson maintains her innocence.
The grand jury was convened in June of 2021 on behalf of Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. The indictment alleges Johnson attempted to manipulate the Glynn County police investigation of father-and-son suspects Greg McMichael and Travis McMichael. The indictment further alleges Johnson attempted to direct the case to a prosecutor who might look favorably on the suspects. Citing conflict of interest, Johnson recused herself the day of the shooting.
Greg McMichael, a former county police officer, was a veteran investigator with the Brunswick DA’s office. The indictment alleges Johnson used a cell phone to contact police investigators at the scene of the murder and instruct them not to arrest the McMichaels.
Travis McMichael killed the unarmed Arbery with blasts from a 12-gauge shotgun at close range on Feb. 23, 2020, concluding a chase in which Arbery ran for his life through the Satilla Shores neighborhood while the McMichaels and Willam “Roddie” Bryan pursued him in pickup trucks.
Greg and Travis McMichael and codefendant Bryan were convicted in state and federal court; all three are presently serving life in state prison for murder and other crimes.