Defense Attorney In Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial Wants Al Sharpton Out Of Courtroom

A protection legal professional representing one of many three males on trial for killing Ahmaud Arbery on a Georgia highway in 2020 demanded on Thursday that the Rev. Al Sharpton be faraway from the courtroom, saying, “We don’t want any more Black pastors in here.”

At the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, legal professional Kevin Gough tried to argue that the civil rights activist’s presence was intimidating the jury, which is made up of 11 white folks and one Black individual. Sharpton stated he got here to Brunswick on Wednesday to offer assist for the Arbery household throughout the trial, which is open to the general public.

“My concern is that it’s one thing for the family to be present. It’s another thing to ask for the lawyers to be present. But if we’re going to … bring high-profile members of the African American community into the courtroom to sit with the family during the trial in the presence of the jury, I believe that’s intimidating,” Gough stated. “And it’s an attempt to pressure ― could be consciously or unconsciously ― an attempt to pressure or influence the jury.”

The legal professional then appeared to argue that folks mustn’t have a number of pastors, requesting that the court docket now not enable Black pastors to observe the trial.

“To my knowledge, Rev. Al Sharpton has no church in Glynn County, never has. … So we have all kinds of people. We have school board members, we have county commissioners, we have all kinds of pastors in this town, over 100,” Gough stated. “And the idea that we’re going to be serially bringing these people in to sit with the victim’s family, one after another. Obviously, there’s only so many pastors they can have, and if their pastor’s Al Sharpton right now, that’s fine, but then that’s it. We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here or other ― Jesse Jackson, whoever was in here earlier this week, sitting with the victim’s family trying to influence the jury in this case.” (Jesse Jackson has not been within the courtroom, in keeping with TMZ.)

The protection lawyer then started making a weird comparability between the presence of Black pastors and a state of affairs wherein “people dressed like Colonel Sanders with white masks” would sit within the courtroom. It ought to be famous that, not like Gough’s reference, Black pastors aren’t folks cosplaying as Black pastors. They are literally Black pastors.

Judge Timothy Walmsley lower off Gough whereas he was making the Colonel Sanders reference, saying he believed Sharpton’s presence had been superb as a result of the reverend had not been a disruption or distraction to the jury or the courtroom.

“The fact that nobody else even noticed that he was in here means that everybody complied with this court’s rulings on sitting in this courtroom and listening to the evidence,” Walmsley stated. “I don’t hear a motion, and I will tell you this: I’m not going to start blanketly excluding members of the public from this courtroom.”

Sharpton joined the Arbery household in entrance of the courthouse on Wednesday to hope for equity and justice within the case, saying that the boys on trial Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan ― had been fueled by racism once they chased Arbery as he ran alongside a highway after which killed him. On Thursday, Sharpton instructed TMZ that Gough’s habits is “an arrogant display of insensitivity” and that he would “make it my business to come again.”

“You are going to be sitting there with three men that murdered the mother and father’s child, and the families of those ― three that have been indicted for murder ― and now tell [Arbery’s family] they can’t have the ministers of their choice to sit there and console them while they’re sitting there looking at who murdered their son, and with their families?” Sharpton stated. “So now you not only have taken their son, you want to take those of us that will come and console them.”

“The parents said publicly they invited me to come. … I’ve been with them from the beginning. They have the right to be consoled by anyone,” he added. “We were not being disruptive, as the judge said, but the audacity, the arrogance to say that ‘Not only are you going to have to look at your son’s killers every day and their families, we’re going to choose who can come and console you in the courtroom.’ It’s like pouring salt in the wound.”

Gregory McMichael, his son Travis and Bryan, a neighbor, are on trial for homicide of their pursuit and deadly taking pictures of 25-year-old Arbery final 12 months whereas he was out for a run on Feb. 23, 2020, in Brunswick. Arbery’s demise precipitated nationwide outrage and contributed to the 2020 protests in opposition to racial injustice and police brutality.

The McMichaels don’t contest that they shot Arbery, however they declare self-defense. Prosecutors argue the killing was racially motivated, describing how the boys chased, “trapped” after which killed Arbery.

Lee Merritt, the Arbery household’s legal professional, described to theGrio the racism that has already been occurring within the homicide trial.

“Well, racism played a factor in 11 of the 12 Black candidates to be a part of this jury being struck,” he stated. “So yeah, racism reared its ugly head already in the process.”