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GA Lawyer Who Wanted to Ban Black Pastors From Arbery Murder Trial Likens Support Rally to ‘Lynching’ of 3 White Defendents

GA Lawyer Who Wanted to Ban Black Pastors From Arbery Murder Trial Likens Support Rally to ‘Lynching’ of 3 White Defendents

The defense attorney who caused an outcry by saying Black pastors should be barred from the murder trial over Ahmaud Arbery’s death declared in court Friday that a courthouse rally supporting the slain Black man’s family was comparable to a “public lynching” of the three white defendants.

“This case has been infected by things that have nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of these defendants,” attorney Kevin Gough told the judge, arguing that civil rights activists are trying to influence the disproportionately white jury.

BRUNSWICK, GA – MAY 08: Demonstrators arrive to protest the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery at the Glynn County Courthouse on May 8, 2020 in Brunswick, Georgia. Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael were arrested the previous night and charged with the murder of Arbery. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

“This is what a public lynching looks like in the 21st century,” Gough told the judge, saying his client’s right to a fair trial was being violated by a “left woke mob.” Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley dismissed the mistrial motion, saying only, “I don’t recall any disruption in the courtroom itself,” the judge said of Thursday’s rally, which coincided with defense testimony.


Gough is the lead attorney for William “Roddie” Bryan, who joined father and son Greg and Travis McMichael in pursuing Arbery in pickup trucks after spotting the 25-year-old man running in their coastal Georgia neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020. Bryan took cellphone video of Travis McMichael shooting Arbery as he threw punches and grabbed for the shotgun.

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Gough renewed a request for a mistrial the day after the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King III joined hundreds of pastors, most of them Black, praying and rallying at the steps of the Glynn County courthouse. The event was organized after Gough last week objected to Sharpton sitting in the back row of the courtroom with Arbery’s parents.

Closing arguments are set for Monday.


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