The defense attorney for one of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder suspects was unsettled by Al Sharpton’s “intimidating” presence and requested that no other Black pastors be allowed in the courtroom during Arbery’s murder trial.
On Thursday (Nov. 11), as Sharpton offered moral support to Arbery’s family, William Bryan’s attorney Kevin Gough suggested that his appearance, as well as that of any other influential member of the African American community, could sway the decision of the primarily white jury in their favor.
“But if we’re starting a precedent where we’re gonna 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 and it’s an attempt to – consciously or unconsciously – pressure or influence the jury.”
”The idea that we’re gonna 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,” Gough explained. “And if their pastor is Al Sharpton right now, that’s fine, but then that’s it – we don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here… Jesse Jackson, whoever was in here earlier this week sitting with the victim’s family trying to influence the jury in this case.”
Despite expressing his concerns, the judge denied Gough’s request, noting that Sharpton was allowed “as long as things are not disruptive and it’s not a distraction to the jury or anything else going on in the courtroom.”
Gough represents William Bryan, the man who accompanied Travis and Gregory McMichael as they chased Arbery down amid his afternoon jog. The confrontation that ensued escalated into a scuffle that ended with Travis shooting the 25-year-old. All three men are now facing hate charges as well as other charges, including murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment.