Gregory McMichael, one of the suspects in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, called the local district attorney from the crime scene to “influence and obstruct the investigation,” a Georgia prosecutor argued in court on Friday.
Gregory and Travis McMichael, the father and son charged with murder in Arbery’s death, were denied bond after the two day hearing at Glynn County court in south Georgia.
Gregory McMichael is a former investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, so he had connections with law enforcement, including his old boss, District Attorney Jackie Johnson.
In a voicemail heard by the court on Friday, McMichael can be heard saying “Jackie, this is Greg. Could you call me as soon as you possibly can? My (inaudible) and I been involved in a shooting and I need some advice right away. Could you please call me, as soon as you possibly can? Thanks. Bye.”
Prosecutor Jesse Evans said the phone call was evidence Gregory McMichael intended to use his connections in law enforcement to influence the case.
“This evidence shows from day one there was an attempt by these defendants to influence and obstruct the investigation of this case,” Evans said.
It is not clear if the DA ever called back to help, but Evans said that it doesn’t matter, what matters is McMichael’s intent.
BOND DENIED: Gregory and Travis McMichael, the father and son charged in the fatal February shooting of Ahmaud Arbery as he was out for a jog, were denied bond by a Georgia judge.
Prosecutors at the hearing revealed a history of racially offensive texts sent by Travis McMichael pic.twitter.com/AzX5TMfBuz
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) November 13, 2020
“That is not the standard the court must look at. You must look at whether the defendant had the intention of obstructing and influencing the investigation, and that is the purpose of this evidence, to show that he wanted to influence and obstruct this,” Evans said.
In addition to the phone call to the DA, Evans also argued that the suspect attempted to write a coded letter to one of the witnesses.
Evans said that the letter is proof that there was “significant risk of intimidating witnesses and obstructing justice, as well as a factor that I think the court should consider, whether as a good candidate for bond this defendant would be willing to follow the instructions and rules of the court if bond and bond conditions were imposed on him, despite the fact that he is actively defying the rules of the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office.”
Judge Timothy Walmsley agreed that the McMichael’s attempted to obstruct justice, and ruled that they must stay behind bars until the trial.
Attorneys for the McMichael’s maintain that the pair were just trying to defend their community, and make a “citizen’s arrest,” despite there being no proof that Arbery did anything wrong.
The McMichaels say that they suspected Arbery of stealing from the construction site that he was seen passing through. However, Arbery’s family has said that he was jogging through the neighborhood when he was approached by the McMichaels. It was also common for people in the neighborhood to pass through that construction site. Surveillance videos of the site show that multiple people had recently trespassed at the site where Ahmaud Arbery visited.
The murder took place back in February but the McMichaels were not charged in the case until earlier this month when a video of the incident went viral and sparked global outrage. It has been suspected that McMichael’s connection with local judges and law enforcement played a role in the leniency they were initially given.