Jackie Johnson says a vendetta by Glynn County commissioners and a political agenda fueled his indictment last fall. Now she is asking a superior court judge to dismiss the case.
Attorney General Chris Carr presented the case in the summer of 2021 and a grand jury indicted Johnson last September. She faces two counts related to her actions after Ahmaud Arbery’s death: breach of oath by a public officer and obstruction of law enforcement. The former is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison while the latter is a misdemeanor. Essentially, the indictment charges Johnson with abusing his office and embarrassing the rest of the three men now convicted in Arbery’s death.
What the defense lawyers claim
Defense attorneys for the disgraced former Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney filed a 146-page motion last week saying none of the alleged wrongdoing was attributable to Johnson. His lawyers say the criminal investigation records will clear him of the charges and that a judge should drop the case before it goes any further.
Specifically, the motion states that:
- the indictment is “completely specious, unfair…unconscionable…and a politically motivated ‘hit job'”.
- Johnson referred Glynn County Police to Waycross Judicial Circuit DA George Barnhill because they wanted to discuss the case and it was Johnson who claimed she could not due to the conflict of interest with McMichael working for his office in previous years.
- The obstruction charge is a “complete and utter fabrication of reality and, as discussed herein, there are no truthful and competent facts whatsoever to support this specious assertion”
- The Attorney General presented improperly sworn “evidence” to the Glynn County Grand Jury over several months, which resulted in the wrongful return of this indictment on September 2, 2021.
- There was a consensus among Glynn County Police Department administrators and officers that no charges should be brought against the McMichaels and that the case was a “legitimate self-defense”.
- On the day of the shooting, Assistant District Attorney Rocky Bridges of Johnson’s office “agreed” with Investigator Stephen Lowrey that no arrests would be made on Sunday, February 23, 2020 because the case was “an area grey”.
- Statements made by Glynn County Commissioners to the media were ‘part of a calculated strategy to lay blame on their failure to oversee the Glynn County Police Department’
- Commissioners ‘pressured’ the Attorney General’s office to charge Johnson
Not mentioned are repeated reports from friends of the Arbery family, as published here on Georgian Virtue, on Johnson’s continued dialogue with the Arbery family even after GBI’s involvement.
The tip of the iceberg
Johnson’s critics said the charges barely scratched the surface of Johnson’s misdeeds during his tenure. The narrative of wrongdoing, which propelled his ousting from office, includes:
Johnson is also no stranger to political motivations, as she single-handedly sought to disband the Glynn County Police Department in 2020 after pitching the idea to a grand jury the year before. A judge eventually ruled the whole move unconstitutional.
It was Glynn County that dealt the fatal blow to Johnson’s political career in November 2020. While Johnson narrowly edged independent candidate Keith Higgins Appling, Jeff Davis, Camden and Wayne counties voters in Glynn County easily rejected another term for Johnson.
As for the case, no court date is currently scheduled. The next step will be for the state to file a response to Johnson’s 146-page motion. Judge John Turner, a former sitting Bulloch County judge, will next rule on the motion.
The motion is below. It does not include appendices. For a full review of Jackie Johnson, visit Investigation: District Attorney Jackie Johnsonnot page about Georgian Virtue.