Defense lawyer in Arbery case makes ‘insulting’ remark about black pastors
A defense attorney representing one of the men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery last year became the subject of criticism by saying he didn’t want “black pastors” to attend the court proceedings.
Kevin Gough, attorney for William “Roddie” Bryan, told Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley that he was concerned about Rev. Al Sharpton’s presence in the courtroom the previous day, saying it could’ve been an attempt to intimidate the predominantly white jury.
“Obviously there’s only so many pastors they can have,” Gough said. “And if their pastor’s Al Sharpton right now that’s fine, but then that’s it. We don’t want any more black pastors coming in here … sitting with the victim’s family, trying to influence the jurors in this case.”
Sharpton was sat with the victim’s family in the courtroom at the time of Gough’s comments. Gough told the judge he didn’t realize Sharpton had been there until after the court had adjourned for the day.
“You weren’t even aware of it until later?” Walmsley said. “I’m not sure what we’re doing.”
Sharpton issued a statement, saying Gough’s remarks showed “arrogant insensitivity.”
“I respect the defense attorney doing his job,” Sharpton said, “but this is beyond defending your client, it is insulting the family of the victim.”
Bryan, along with father and son Greg and Travis McMichael, is charged with murder in Arbery’s Feb. 23, 2020, killing. Arbery, 25, was chased and fatally shot after the defendants spotted him running in their neighborhood.