BRUNSWICK, Ga. — It was a day full of calls for mistrials and allegations of jury influencing as the trial in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery continued in south Georgia Monday.
Channel 2′s Tony Thomas has been in Brunswick since the beginning of the trial. Thomas said the judge denied that mistrial Monday and instead put the blame for any extra attention this trial is getting right back on one of the defense attorneys.
In attendance Monday was the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Shortly after he arrived in the courtroom, defense attorney Kevin Gough took exception with him being there, saying there was no reason for civil rights icons to be in the courtroom.
Last week, Gough asked the judge to ban black ministers from court.
“The seats in a courtroom aren’t like courtside seats at a Lakers game,” Gough said.
Later, as prosecutors showed one of Arbery’s former neighbors his picture, Arbery’s mother cried as she sat next to Jackson.
That’s when defense attorneys moved for a mistrial.
“There were several jurors that did look over, their faces changed,” defense attorney Jason Sheffield said.
Attorneys pointed to outside pressure and the appearance of the Rev. Al Sharpton last week and Jackson on Monday.
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- ‘They had enough time to prepare’: Ahmaud Arbery’s mother says motions are slowing trial
- Jurors see video, hear from first officer at scene of Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting
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“This isn’t a mob case. If you testify against a gangster, they might burn your house down. They might burn your business down. They aren’t going to burn your whole city down and that’s the concern the jurors have expressed during the voir dire process,” Gough said.
Roddie Bryan and Greg and Travis McMichael are accused of killing Arbery last year as they chased him through their neighborhood. They claim self-defense. They thought Arbery was a burglar.
The Arbery family said the 25-year-old was killed because he was a Black man out for a jog.
The judge denied a mistrial and gave Gough a tongue lashing.
“Individuals coming into the courtroom, I will say that is directly in response Mr. Gough to statements you made which I find reprehensible,” the judge said.
Jackson said he plans on being here through the week.
“This is a diversion. We have a constitutional right to be in the right courtroom. I’m a citizen, a constitutional right and a moral obligation,” Jackson said.
At least 100 Black ministers plan to converge on Brunswick on Wednesday for a rally and march.
Testimony in the trial continues on Tuesday.
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