Greg McMichael withdraws guilty plea to federal charges in Arbery’s killing

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — After a judge rejected the terms of his plea deal earlier this week, Gregory McMichael has withdrawn his plea agreement and will plead not guilty to federal hate crime charges.

In a notice, filed with the court Thursday night, attorneys for McMichael said the plea agreement was “null and void.”

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McMichael will now stand trial alongside co-defendant William “Roddie” Bryan starting on February 7.

McMichael and Bryan face federal hate crime charges in the February 2020 death of Ahmaud Arbery alongside McMichael’s son, Travis McMichael.

Travis McMichael has until Friday to determine whether or not he would like to withdraw his plea agreement, which was also rejected by a judge this week, and go to trial.

There is no deal in place for Bryan. He is still set to stand trial next week.


“I’m looking forward to the federal trial. I’m looking forward to the trial,” Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said on Monday after the plea deals were rejected.

The trio was convicted of Arbery’s murder and sentenced to life in prison during the state trial in November.

Attorney Lee Merritt explained to Channel 2 why a plea deal in the federal trial would be attractive to the McMichaels even though have already received life sentences at the state level.

“Federal prison is going to be a lighter sentence for these men. It’s less crowded, better funded. It’s evidence by these men keep trying to get into federal custody that their sentences would be more difficult at the state level,” he explained.

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