Ahmaud Arbery killers take a plea deal and avoid federal hate crimes trial

Ahmaud Arbery’s family is furious over a plea deal the killers of the 25-year old Georgia jogger reached with federal prosecutors. Travis and Gregory McMichael, the father and son duo sentenced to life in prison after being convicted on first degree murder charges were to be tried this month for federal hate crimes.

But the convicted killers will be allowed to avoid a federal hate crimes trial after agreeing to a plea deal which will see them transferred from a Georgia prison to a federal facility to serve their life sentences. Other details of the deal have not yet been made public, but Arbery’s family is said to be livid over the deal. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones and her attorneys will appear in federal court at 10 a.m. this morning to ask the judge to reject the deal.

In its notices to the court, the Department of Justice asks that the charges against the McMichaels be disposed of. Kristen Clarke, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, co-signed the letter with U.S. Attorney David Estes and three other Justice Department attorneys.

The Department of Justice charged the defendants in the hate crimes trial with violating Arbery’s rights, attempted kidnapping and the use of dangerous weapons because of his race. They pleaded not guilty to the charges last year, but changed their pleas to guilty to avoid a federal trial.

Lawyers who represented the McMichaels in the murder trial did not respond to calls and emails asking for details about the plea deal.



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