Defense attorneys are trying to prevent jail phone calls from being used as evidence in the murder trial of Greg and Travis McMichael, who are charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery. On Thursday (May 13), the father and son’s attorneys asked a judge to exclude thousands of hours of phone calls, once of which hears Greg calling their pursuit and killing of Arbery a “good deed.”
“Yeah, that’s the shining example right there,” the brother responded.
In another call, Greg also denied that Arbery’s race played a role in his death, calling the allegation “bullshit.”
Defense attorney Franklin Hogue claimed that Greg was referring to his “patrolling” of the neighborhood as the “good deed” and not Arbery’s killing.
“The state believes he is saying the good deed was killing Ahmaud Arbery, but that is not what he meant,” Hogue said. “He meant the good deed was patrolling his neighborhood and the punishment is him now being in jail charged with his death.”
Lawyers also argued that using the phone calls as evidence would violate Greg’s right to due process. However, state prosecutors claimed jail phone calls are a privilege, not a right.
The issue was one of several arguments heard during the trial’s two-day hearing this week. On Wednesday (May 12), attorneys representing the McMichaels also asked the judge if they could use Arbery’s criminal record as evidence in the trial.
The lawyer representing Travis claimed that Arbery’s criminal record, which reportedly included theft crimes, showed his “angry and aggressive” nature.
Prosecutors, on the other hand, argued that “it doesn’t matter what Mr. Arbery’s thoughts were... it doesn’t matter what his actions were [because] he was running away from these men.”
Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper Jones, was also in attendance during the two-day hearing. Her lawyer told reporters on Thursday that it’s been a “difficult” and “draining process for the family.”
Jury selection for the McMichaels’ and co-defendant William Bryan’s trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 18.