Jury selection is scheduled to begin in February for the federal trial of three Georgia men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.
In an order Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood set Feb. 7, 2022, as the date attorneys in the case will begin interviewing potential jurors who could decide the fates of Gregory and Travis McMichael and William Bryan.
The trio faces federal charges of interference with rights and attempted kidnapping in the pursuit and death of Arbery, a 25-year-old Brunswick man who was chased and then shot and killed during a Feb. 23, 2020, confrontation in Glynn County.
The federal hate crime charges are separate from Georgia state charges the men face in Arbery’s killing. They’re scheduled to stand trial in October on charges of murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.
Defense attorneys for the McMichaels and Bryan have maintained their clients’ innocence, saying the McMichaels suspected that Arbery was a burglar and that Travis McMichaels acted in self-defense when he shot Arbery as they wrestled over a shotgun.
Though Arbery was killed in February 2020, none of the men was charged until more than two months later. That’s after cellphone video showing the pursuit and subsequent shooting of Arbery was leaked online, unleashing a wave of public outrage.
Jury selection in the state’s murder trial is set to begin Oct. 18 and the trial will begin shortly after.