Ahmaud Arbery Killing: Prosecutors attack hate-crime deal

ATLANTA – Prosecutors have reached a plea deal for two of three white men facing federal hate crime charges for the murder of 25-year-old Black man Ahmaud Arbery was chased through a Georgia residential area and shot dead, court documents show.

But Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, refused the pleas. In an interview late Sunday, Ms. Cooper-Jones said of federal prosecutors: “They backed me up. I am completely, completely upset. My anxiety is on the roof. ”

She said federal officials asked her earlier if she would approve a deal and she told them no. Cooper-Jones said she will try to convince a judge to dismiss the plea agreements during a hearing on Monday morning.

A grand jury in Georgia state court found three men – Gregory McMichael, 66, his son Travis McMichael, 35; and William Bryan, 52 years old – murder in November and sentenced to life in prison this month. All three men will be tried starting February 7 in federal court on charges of hate crime and kidnapping conspiracy, for which they could face life in prison. Travis McMichael, who fired a shotgun at Mr Arbery, also faces weapons charges.

On Sunday, federal prosecutors filed a notice in U.S. District Court asking a judge to approve plea agreements for McMichaels. Specific details of plea agreements were not included in court records. There is also no indication that an agreement has been struck with Mr. Bryan, who was involved in the eviction of Mr. Arbery through the neighborhood near Brunswick, Ga., in February 2020.

During the murder trial, the attorney for Travis McMichael – who fired his shotgun at Mr. Arbery three times at close range – said that he opened fire in self-defense.

Cooper-Jones said she wanted the federal trial to take place to argue in self-defence and firmly assert that the men were motivated by racism.

McMichaels and Bryan’s attorneys could not be reached on Sunday, nor could a Justice Department official be reached.

Mr. Arbery was unarmed as the three chased him for several minutes through the Satilla Shores, a middle-class neighborhood along Georgia’s south coast. They said they suspected Mr. Arbery of committing a crime of extortion in the area. In the video of the encounter, Mr Arbery can be seen running as his pursuers in two pickup trucks chase him.

The chase ended when Mr. Arbery and young McMichael met in a violent clash. Mr. Bryan captured the violence on a video clip that went viral on the internet, leading to a nationwide outcry and accusations that the killing had become a modern-day murder.

Prosecutors in the murder trial considered presenting what they described as “racial” evidence, including inflammatory Facebook posts or text messages from the three men. But finally, they just touched on the topic of race in bringing their case before a quasi-white jury.

It is not clear which of these evidences, or others, could be presented in federal court. In a pretrial hearing, the state prosecutors read a text message from November 2019, in which Travis McMichael used racist slurs about Black people when he described the idea of ​​shooting a “colonizer” with “golden teeth”.

In a federal court filing in late December, Bryan’s attorney asked the court to exclude evidence that Bryan had “racial hatred” against Black people, including reports racially insensitive text messages he made around Martin Luther King Jr. vacation and witness testimony “which indicates that Bryan disapproved of his adopted daughter dating an African-American man.”

A Georgia state investigator said Bryan told authorities he heard Travis McMichael use racial slurs shortly after he shot Arbery. Mr. McMichael’s attorneys disputed that claim.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/31/us/ahmaud-arbery-hate-crime-plea-deal.html Ahmaud Arbery Killing: Prosecutors attack hate-crime deal

Fry Electronics Team

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