Georgia’s top prosecutor says something’s fishy about the Ahmaud Arbery case — beyond the killing itself — and he’s asking the feds to step in to figure out who knew what … and when.
Attorney General Chris Carr formally requested the U.S. Department of Justice — led by the lead U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia — to conduct its own investigation of how Ahmaud’s case was handled internally by lower-level officials early on.
In an open letter, Carr spells out major inconsistencies in what his office was told about the case in February, March and April — long after Ahmaud was shot to death in cold blood by Travis McMichaels, while accompanied by his father Gregory, in late February.
He writes, “The request to the U.S. Department of Justice includes, but is not limited to, investigation of the communications and discussions by and between the Office of the District Attorney of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit and the Office of the District Attorney of the Waycross Judicial Circuit related to this case.” Those departments’ leaders, respectively, are Jackie Johnson and George Barnhill. Carr’s got questions about Barnhill, especially.
Carr says correspondence between his office and Barnhill’s office back in early April — about a month or so after Carr’s office formally assigned Barnill and his team to investigate/prosecute the case — appears to show Barnill was not being forthright in how he was handling things up to the point he asked to be taken off, due to a conflict of interest.
Long story short, Barnill told the AG that his own son — who’s a prosecutor in a neighboring district — had handled a previous prosecution of Ahmaud, and that one of the defendants — the elder McMichaels, per reports — served as an investigator in that old case. Carr says Barnill told him he learned of this development 3-4 weeks before his dated letter to the AG on April 7. Carr says Barnill offered no reason why he didn’t notify them sooner.
That’s not the biggest issue, per Carr. He also says in that April 7 letter, Barnill did not reveal that he had already been calling shots in the case, including the crucial decision to NOT make any arrests after he reviewed the evidence himself and decided against it.
Basically, Carr suggests there was a lot of stuff being done behind the scenes and seemingly in secret — and he wants Uncle Sam to get to the bottom of it with a definitive timeline. Presumably, if the feds find something illegal was done during all this buck-passing … charges could be brought against those same officials who were initially involved.