Former Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson has been indicted on charges of violating her oath as a public officer and obstructing a police officer.
Both charges are in connection to Johnson’s alleged actions surrounding the investigation of the fatal shooting of Arbery while he was jogging through a Glynn County subdivision on February 23, 2020, according to the indictment.
Johnson — on the day of the shooting — prevented two Glynn County police officers from exercising their duties “by directing that Travis McMichael should not be placed under arrest, contrary to the laws of said State, the good order, peace, and dignity thereof,” the indictment said.
Johnson is also accused of violating her district attorney oath by “showing favor and affection to Greg McMichael during the investigation,” according to the indictment.
“Our office is committed to ensuring those who are entrusted to serve are carrying out their duties ethically and honestly,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement.
“While an indictment was returned today, our file is not closed, and we will continue to investigate in order to pursue justice,” said Carr.
The charge of violating the oath of a public officer is a felony that carries a sentence of 1-5 years in prison. The charge of obstruction and hindering a law enforcement officer is a misdemeanor that carries up to 12 months.
The indictment additionally states that Johnson “sought the assistance of Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George E. Barnhill” and, after recusing herself, allegedly recommended Barnhill take over as prosecutor without disclosing she had sought his assistance about the case.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for Arbery’s family, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday that the indictment is a relief for the family, who he said had been “left in the dark” for months after the shooting.
“What this means for us first is a signaling to other prosecutors that if they are not forthcoming with the evidence, if they somehow participate or put their finger on the scale of justice, that they can face consequences themselves,” Merritt said.