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SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The white man who fatally shot Ahmaud Arbery after chasing the running Black man in a Georgia neighborhood says he fears he will be killed by fellow inmates if he’s sent to a state prison to serve a life sentence for murder.

Travis McMichael, 36, faces sentencing Monday in U.S. District Court after his conviction on federal hate crime charges in February.

His defense attorney filed a legal motion Thursday asking the judge to keep McMichael in federal custody.

Attorney Amy Lee Copeland argued McMichael has received “hundreds of threats” and won’t be safe in a Georgia state prison system that is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department amid concerns about violence between inmates.

On Feb. 23, 2020, McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael, armed themselves with guns and jumped in a pickup truck to chase Arbery after he ran past their home just outside the port city of Brunswick. A neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, joined the chase in his own truck and recorded cellphone video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery with a shotgun.

The killing of Arbery became part of a larger national reckoning over racial injustice amid other high-profile killings of unarmed Black people including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.

In Georgia, the McMichaels and Bryan were sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of Arbery’s murder in a state court last fall. They have remained in a county jail in custody of U.S. marshals since standing trial in February in federal court, where a jury convicted them of hate crimes. Each defendant now faces a potential second life sentence.

Once the men are sentenced Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood, protocol would be to turn them over the Georgia Department of Corrections to serve their prison terms for murder. That’s because they were first arrested and tried by state authorities.

For Travis McMichael, “his concern is that he will promptly be killed upon delivery to the state prison system for service of that sentence,” Copeland wrote in her sentencing request. “He has received numerous threats of death that are credible in light of all circumstances.”

Copeland said she has alerted Georgia’s corrections agency, “which has replied that these threats are unverified and that it can securely house McMichael in state custody.”

Greg McMichael, 66, has also asked the judge to put him in federal rather than state prison, citing safety concerns and health problems.

Arbery’s family family has insisted the McMichaels and Bryan should serve their sentences in a state prison, arguing a federal penitentiary wouldn’t be as tough. His parents objected forcefully before the federal trial when both McMichaels sought a plea deal that would have included a request to transfer them to federal prison. The judge ended up rejecting the plea agreement.

“Granting these men their preferred choice of confinement would defeat me,” Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told the judge at a hearing Jan. 31. “It gives them one last chance to spit in my face.”

A federal judge doesn’t have the authority to order a state to relinquish its lawful custody of inmates to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, said Ed Tarver, an Augusta lawyer and former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

“She can certainly make that request,” Tarver said of the judge, “and it would be up to the state Department of Corrections whether or not they agree to do that.”

Copeland’s court filing refers to a prior agreement between the judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys to keep the McMichaels and Bryan in federal custody “through the completion of the federal trial and any post-trial proceedings.” She argued that means Travis McMichael should at least remain in federal custody through appeals of his hate crime conviction.

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Tags: department of corrections state prison system in federal custody the federal trial travis mcmichael defense attorney a state prison district court greg mcmichael life sentence the judge to the state mcmichael arbery after has received in a georgia in february serve their

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NY Gov. Hochuls campaign and Dem Party accuse GOP challenger Lee Zeldin of submitting 14,000 fake signatures

When asked how he knew there were invalid signatures, Kolstee told the Gotham Gazette, "I actually started out by running them through a program looking for duplicate copies and came across several of them." Kolstee explained that once he counted all the invalid signatures, he discovered that "there were over 900 sheets, over 11,000 [signatures]."

Democratic Senator Zellnor Myrie, chairman of the New York Senate Elections Committee, filed a complaint last week to the county's district attorney calling for a criminal investigation into Zeldin's campaign. Myrie alleged that the Republican's campaign submitted 11,000 "fake signatures" to run on the independence party line.

Last month, the state Democratic Party requested that the January 6 committee investigate Zeldin following his state primary victory.

Myrie stated on Friday, "In my role as Chair of the Senate Elections Committee, I have not hesitated to defend our system of elections from spurious allegations of fraud." Myrie continued, "However, when actual election fraud appears to have occurred, as it does in this case, it is essential for the public trust that potential violations are investigated fully and swiftly."

Zeldin and his campaign deny submitting or having knowledge of any photocopied signatures. In a statement to the Gotham Gazette, a spokesperson for the campaign stated, "In the final few days leading up to the filing deadline, tens of thousands of signatures from all over the state had to be immediately turned into the Board of Elections. While the Zeldin for New York campaign is not aware of photocopies, we certainly didn't make any photo copies."

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