Nov 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Defense rests its case in trial of Ahmaud Arbery's killers

A man speaks into a microphone, surrounded by dozens of others in front of a courthouse

Jesse Jackson speaks to the crowd in front of the Glynn County Courthouse on Thursday. Photo: Ryan Vizzions

Defense attorneys for the men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery rested their cases on Thursday.

Why it matters: The trial of the three white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery is in its fourth week in Brunswick, Georgia. While hate crimes charges are not involved in the trial, the racial dynamics of the case have been front and center outside the courthouse.

That same day several hundred people including pastors, rabbis, county officials and lay people gathered as promised in front of the Glynn County courthouse.

Inside the courthouse: Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery in February 2020, took the stand for the first time this week to tell “my side of the story.”

  • Defense attorneys also called several neighbors in the McMichaels’ neighborhood to testify to a string of property-related crimes in the months before Arbery’s slaying, which McMichael has claimed was his rationale for chasing Arbery down.

Outside the courthouse: The group, called together by Al Sharpton, showed up in response to defense attorney Kevin Gough protesting Sharpton’s presence in the courtroom last week, asking that “no more Black pastors” be allowed due to possible jury intimidation.

What he said: Sharpton responded in a speech to the crowd: “I did not come in the courtroom to protest. I came to pray that [the Arbery family] would have the strength to stand up, not to protest.”

  • “Well if you thought one [Black pastor] was enough, look at what you brought now,” he said.

What’s next: Closing statements from attorneys are scheduled for Monday.

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