Jackie Johnson says a vendetta by the Glynn County Commissioners and a political agenda fueled her indictment last fall. Now, she’s asking a superior court judge to toss out the case.
Attorney General Chris Carr brought the case forward in summer 2021 and a grand jury indicted Johnson Last September. She faces two counts related to her actions following the death of Ahmaud Arbery: Violation of Oath by a Public Officer and Obstruction of Law Enforcement. The former is a felony with a sentence of up to five years in prison while the latter is a misdemeanor offense. Essentially, the indictment accuses Johnson of abusing her office and impeding the rest of the three men now convicted for the death of Arbery.
What Defense Attorneys Claim
Defense attorneys for the disgraced former district attorney for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit filed a 146-page motion last week stating that none of the alleged wrongdoing came by the doing of Johnson. Her attorneys say criminal investigation files will exonerate her of the charges and a judge should toss the case before it goes any further.
Specifically, the motion states that:
- the indictment is ‘wholly specious, unjust…impermissible…and a politically motivated ‘hit job.’’
- Johnson referred the Glynn County Police to Waycross Judicial Circuit DA George Barnhill because they wanted to discuss the case and it was Johnson who asserted she could not due to the conflict of interest with McMichael working for her office in the years prior.
- The Obstruction charge is a “complete and utter fabrication of reality and, as discussed herein, there are no truthful, competent facts, whatsoever, to support this specious claim”
- The Attorney General presented improperly sworn “evidence” to the Glynn County Grand Jury over several months that culminated in the wrongful return of the present Indictment on September 2, 2021
- There was consensus among Glynn County Police department admins and officers that no charges should be brought against the McMichaels and the case was ‘soundly self-defense.’
- On the day of the shooting, Assistant District Attorney Rocky Bridges, of Johnson’s office, was in “agreeance” with Investigator Stephen Lowrey that no arrest would be made on Sunday, February 23, 2020 because the case was ‘a gray area.’
- Statements made by Glynn County Commissioners to the media were “part of a calculated strategy to shift blame from their failed oversight of the Glynn County Police Department”
- Commissioners “lobbied” the Attorney General’s Office to indict Johnson
Not mentioned are the repeated reports by friends of the Arbery family, as published here on TheGeorgiaVirtue, about Johnson’s continued dialogue with the Arbery family even after GBI involvement.
Tip of the Iceberg
Critics of Johnson have said the charges hardly scratch the surface of Johnson’s misdeeds during her tenure in office. The narrative of wrongdoing, which propelled her ousting from office, includes:
- Johnson’s handling of the Caroline Smalls case
- Johnson’s handling of the Kelsey Rayner jail death case
- Johnson’s connection with Cory Sasser, the former Glynn County police officer who killed himself after killing his ex-wife, Katie Sasser, and her boyfriend, John Hall Jr, to include twice agreeing to bond of Sasser in the domestic violence and TPO violation-related incidents
- Johnson’s indictment of 5 Glynn County police officers for offenses not criminal in nature
- Johnson’s repeated appointment of her own ‘independent’ prosecutor when matters of conflict of interest arose, and
- Johnson’s attempts to silence dissenting media during her campaign for re-election
Johnson is no stranger to political motivations, either, as she singlehandedly sought to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department in 2020 after presenting the idea to a grand jury the year prior. A judge ultimately ruled that entire initiative unconstitutional.
It was Glynn County that delivered the overwhelming blow to Johnson’s political career in November 2020. While Johnson narrowly edged out Independent candidate Keith Higgins Appling, Jeff Davis, Camden, and Wayne counties, Glynn County voters handily rejected another term in office for Johnson.
As for the case, no court date is currently scheduled. The next step will be the state filing a response to Johnson’s 146-page motion. Judge John Turner, a former sitting judge from Bulloch County, will rule on the motion after that.
The motion is below. It does not include appendices. For a full expose on Jackie Johnson, visit the Investigation: District Attorney Jackie Johnson page on The Georgia Virtue.