Judge Timothy Walmsley rejected a defense motion filed to block protesters from gathering outside the courthouse during the murder trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery.

Kevin Gough, the attorney who represents William “Roddie” Bryan, filed the motion, stating that the gatherings make it difficult to guarantee that his client will receive a fair trial. “If there’s any evidence out there that would suggest that there’s been any effort — conscious or unconscious — to tamper with this jury or influence these jurors, whether here on the courthouse steps this morning, or in Black media, the state has an obligation to pursue it,” he said.

However, on Tuesday (Oct. 26), Judge Walmsley said there’s no evidence to support that the demonstrators would interfere with the members of the jury. He also stated that the space around the courthouse was a public area.

“The court does not find that the movement has met its burden to limit the first amendment rights of any individuals that may come to the courthouse grounds, which is a public place,” the judge said, adding that there have not been any issues from the protesters that have been reported to the sheriff’s office.

As REVOLT previously reported, jury selection for the murder trial of Bryan, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael kicked off on Oct. 18. The three men are charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Arbery was followed and gunned down by the McMichaels and their neighbor Bryan, who reportedly blocked the 25-year-old in with his truck.

The men also face federal charges, including attempted kidnapping and one count of interference with rights, which is a hate crime. Additionally, the McMichaels were federally indicted for using a firearm during a crime of violence. A trial for the three men’s federal charges is set to begin next February.