Attorneys debate what evidence will be allowed in Arbery death hate crimes trial

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The three convicted killers of Ahmaud Arbery were back in court Friday.

They face a federal hate crimes trial set to begin next month. A judge must first decide what evidence is allowed.

Channel 2′s Tony Thomas went back to Glynn County for Friday’s hearing and talked to Arbery’s family, outside of the closed proceedings.

Much of the day’s arguments were behind closed doors.

The lawyers and the judge did not want anyone to hear the potential evidence until the trial.

“Has it gotten any easier sitting in there looking at them?” Thomas asked Arbery’s aunt, Diane Jackson.

“No it hasn’t. Just got to stay prayed up,” Jackson said.

Arbery’s relatives walked out of yet another hearing about the 25-year-old’s death just as confident in guilty verdicts in the upcoming federal trial as they were in the state murder trial.

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“The victory is already made. God gave us the victory. We won the first round, and we are going to win the second round,” Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, said.

Lawyers spent much of Friday morning in a closed courtroom before a judge, arguing over what evidence can be shown to a jury.

The federal trial will focus on whether Greg and Travis McMichael, along with Roddie Bryan, killed Arbery in February 2020 because Arbery was a Black man.

Thomas was there as U.S. marshals escorted the three convicted killers out of the federal courthouse Friday.

The federal jury will not consider whether Arbery was murdered; that was already decided in a state trial last year.

All three men were convicted and given life sentences.

Lawyers did agree Friday in open court to limit what the federal jury hears about the state case.

Prosecutor Bobbi Bernstein told the judge, “Any indication by the defense that they have been punished enough would be improper.”

Defense attorneys agreed.

“All we want is justice,” Jackson said.

One lawyer told Thomas that the judge didn’t make any rulings on the arguments made Friday in the closed session.

The case will be back in court one more time before the trial is set to begin Feb. 7.

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