Throughout the week, the defense tried to cling onto anything that would have raised suspicions Arbery was fleeing a scene where he had committed a felony. Conversely, state prosecutors sought to show jurors the McMichaels, who were armed, and Bryan, who took the infamous cellphone video, had no reason to believe that Arbery was up to no good.
The highly publicized trial became much more so on Thursday when Kevin Gough, Bryan’s lawyer, complained about civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton sitting in the courtroom with Arbery’s family. Gough said the presence of Sharpton and other Black preachers could influence and intimidate the jury.
Gough looked to Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley and said, “We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here.”
Many following the trial — including the lawyer representing Travis McMichael — swiftly condemned Gough’s request. Walmsley denied it, saying he was not going to issue a blanket order barring any member of the public from the courtroom.