Merritt said he learned of the development after meeting US prosecutor Bobby Christine for the southern district of Georgia Thursday.
CNN contacted Christine for comment.
Arbery, who was black, was jogging outside Brunswick, Georgia on February 23 when Gregory McMichael and his son, who are white, chased him, authorities said. Arbery and Travis McMichael fought for the latter’s rifle and Arbery was shot three times. Gregory McMichael told police that Arbery attacked his son, says a police report.
Earlier this month, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr asked the Justice Department to investigate the handling of this case.
A Justice Department spokesman confirmed earlier this month that the department’s Civil Rights Division was evaluating the evidence in the case to determine if the federal hate crime allegations were appropriate.
Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested on May 7 for the Arbery shooting. They face state charges for murder and aggravated assault.
William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the man who recorded Arbery’s fatal shooting, was arrested last week on charges of criminal murder.
A judge was not asked to appeal. The men’s lawyers told reporters that they had not committed crimes.
Georgia is part of a handful of states that do not have a hate crime statute.
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