The defense attorney who is representing one of the three white men charged with murder for the death of Ahmaud Arbery has issued an apology for telling the judge that he and his team did not want any more Black pastors in the courtroom during the trial.
On Friday (Nov. 12), Kevin Gough apologized to the court and anyone who was offended by his remarks. “I will let the court know that if my statements yesterday were overly broad, I will follow up with a more specific motion on Monday putting those concerns in the proper context. And my apologies to anyone who might have inadvertently been offended,” he said.
On Thursday (Nov. 11), Gough expressed his frustrations with Rev. Al Sharpton supporting Arbery’s family in the courtroom. He suggested that his appearance — as well as that of any other influential member of the African American community — could affect the decision of the primarily white jury in their favor.
“I’ve got nothing personally against Mr. Sharpton, 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,” Gough said. “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.”
“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,” Gough added.
However, Judge Timothy Walmsley denied the attorney’s request because Sharpton was not “disruptive” and wasn’t a distraction to the jury.
Gough is representing Wiliam “Roddie” Bryan, one of three men charged for Arbery’s death. Last year, Bryan, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael hunted and cornered the 25-year-old as he jogged through a Georgia neighborhood. Arbery was fatally shot by Travis during the altercation. The McMichaels and Bryan are all charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment for his death.