- Wife, mother of father-son duo maliciously charged with murder in politically motivated prosecutions speaks to AFP to set record straight
By John Friend
The wife and mother of two men who were dubiously found guilty of murder and “hate crime” charges is speaking out in an effort to set the record straight and defend the honor and integrity of her family.
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Leigh McMichael, wife of Greg McMichael and mother of Travis McMichael, the two Georgia men who were maliciously prosecuted for murder by politically motivated state and federal prosecutors for the death of Ahmaud Arbery, spoke to AFP at length to offer readers her first-hand accounting of what transpired the day Arbery was killed, Feb. 23, 2020.
She also provided key background details and information about the incident that has been deliberately suppressed in an attempt to promote a racially charged narrative. She offered genuine insight into the type of men her husband and son truly are, which stands in stark contrast with their depiction in the mainstream mass media as bigoted “racists” who targeted a harmless black “jogger,” as Arbery has dishonestly been characterized.
Greg and Travis were prosecuted by both the state of Georgia and federal government in the shooting death of Arbery, a 25-year-old black man with a significant and under-reported criminal background as well as severe mental health problems. In February 2022, the father and son duo were found guilty of state murder charges and received life sentences, while in August they were found guilty of federal “hate crime” charges.
Greg and Travis “spent many years giving back to the community they live in and in return they have been unfairly convicted of charges that do not accurately fit the incident that occurred,” Leigh explains on the family’s official GiveSendGo legal defense fundraiser, which is accessible at GiveSendGo.com/McMichaelDefense.
“Greg has always been a fair and decent man,” Leigh explained to this reporter in an exclusive interview. “His motto is to treat others how you want to be treated no matter race, gender, or beliefs. He had a 30-year law enforcement career and not one complaint on his record.”
After serving in the U.S. Navy, Greg went on to honorably serve in the Glynn County Police Department before moving on to work as a Chief Investigator for the Glynn County District Attorney’s Office, retiring in 2019—one year before the tragic encounter with Arbery.
“During Greg’s career in law enforcement, he never had any complaints from citizens,” Leigh noted. “He treated all people with respect and dignity. An officer Greg trained told me that the first thing that Greg taught him was to respect all and treat people as you would want to be treated, including the angry criminals.”
After graduating high school in 2004, Travis joined the U.S. Coast Guard, training as a mechanic and serving as a boarding officer. His crew was involved in drug interdiction on the West coast. While serving in the Coast Guard, Travis received extensive firearms training, including from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Virginia, a course that featured training in the use of force.
Leigh told this reporter that Travis has a lot of friends and is well liked in his community and among his colleagues, and that he has a “fabulous, hysterical sense of humor.”
“Travis is very witty and loves to make people laugh, even now,” Leigh explained. “Travis has had several black friends in his life. I am talking about people he hunted with, camped at the river with. In high school, they hung out at my house, and he had a roommate in the Coast Guard. Does that sound like a racist?”
According to the politicized and fabricated mainstream accounting of the tragic incident, the McMichael duo were portrayed as bigoted racists who were alleged to have racially profiled Arbery and “hunted him down” after discovering him jogging in their Satilla Shores neighborhood, a coastal development in the town of Brunswick, Ga. where the family lived.
“The media created the ‘white supremacy’ drama from day one,” Leigh told this reporter. “There was no fair coverage whatsoever. They continued with this false narrative that they created and the more sinister they could make us look, the better. There has been no objective coverage at all. They choose and pick words for their articles to deliberately make my family look horrible.”
As always, key details of the tragic affair were kept from the public—and the courtroom, as Leigh relayed.
For example, Arbery had a lengthy criminal background, which included possessing a firearm on school property, violating probation, and felony theft for shoplifting, and had numerous encounters with law enforcement for suspected criminal behavior and gang affiliation following his 2012 graduation from high school up until his death in February 2020. In December 2018, he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a mental condition that involves hallucinations that allegedly ordered him to hurt people.
Leigh also recounted how, in the weeks and months leading up to Arbery’s death, the Satilla Shores neighborhood had seen an increase in petty crimes and thefts, and many residents no longer let their children play outside after dark. Some residents, including Larry English, who lived near the McMichaels, installed video surveillance cameras to monitor their property.
Arbery was caught on tape multiple times on the property of English at night, pilfering items and surveilling the property. At one point, English had expensive equipment stolen from his property, while other neighbors experienced similar incidents of theft. Travis McMichael himself had a pistol stolen from his truck in early 2020. Residents at Satilla Shores regularly communicated on Facebook about the increase in theft and other crime in the neighborhood and identified who they later learned was Arbery as a key suspect.
On Feb. 11, 2020—just prior to the fatal encounter with Arbery less than two weeks later—Travis saw Arbery outside of English’s residence after sunset. Travis shone his headlights on Arbery, and Arbery intimated he had a weapon, prompting Travis to immediately call the police. Arbery subsequently fled the scene and was not apprehended or questioned.
Leigh then explained that on Feb. 23, her husband noticed Arbery in the neighborhood once again, suspecting he was the same individual seen on video surveillance footage and the same man Travis encountered less than two weeks prior. Fearing Arbery was potentially armed and dangerous, Greg and Travis armed themselves with firearms they legally possessed and attempted to catch up with Arbery, who immediately fled, to allow police to question him. Their “sole intent was to safely detain Arbery long enough for the police to arrive and take over,” according to Leigh.
Once the McMichaels caught up with Arbery, Arbery rushed Travis, physically striking him in the face and attempted to wrestle the firearm he was legally carrying away from him, resulting in the gun going off and killing Arbery.
Shortly after Arbery’s death, George Barnhill, a Georgia district attorney who originally investigated the incident, concluded that the McMichaels acted lawfully throughout the tragic and fatal encounter with Arbery. Barnhill saw no grounds for arresting or prosecuting either of the McMichaels. That, however, did not stop the state of Georgia and federal prosecutors from getting involved in a clearly politically motivated fashion at the height of the Black Lives Matter hysteria in the spring of 2020.
“The state of the U.S. justice system is absolutely corrupted to the core,” Leigh declared. “It is politicized. Look at our case: it was investigated by two district attorneys, with the first [Barnhill] making a statement that no law was broken, and it was self-defense. The second was going to take it before a grand jury. That is when Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to make an arrest and assigned the case to Cobb County. The law was never followed. They had to get the guilty verdict any way they could.”
Readers are encouraged to visit the family’s website McMichaelTrial.com for a full recounting of their side of the story, which stands in stark contrast to the official narrative of the death of Ahmaud Arbery.
Leigh McMichael spoke to AFP’s associate editor and regular reporter John Friend on The AFP Report, a regular podcast series available at AmericanFreePress.net in the “Audio” subsection of the “Multimedia” tab. In the full hour-long conversation, Leigh relays in detail her first-hand account of what transpired Feb. 23, 2020, along with key background details that have been deliberately left out of the mainstream narrative of Ahmaud Arbery’s death. With the assistance of her defense team and supporters, Leigh has also created a website to explain her family’s side of the story, which is available at McMichaelTrial.com. The McMichael defense team has established a legal fundraiser on GiveSendGo.com, a Christian-oriented alternative fundraising platform. Visit GiveSendGo.com/McMichaelDefense for more details and consider making a financial contribution to assist the family’s appeal efforts. Readers are also encouraged to write to Greg and Travis, who are currently incarcerated, at the addresses below:
Greg McMichael 1003053181
Augusta State Medical Prison
3001 Gordon Highway
Grovetown, GA 30813
Travis McMichael 1003053360
Hays State Prison
PO Box 668
Trion, GA 30753