Travis McMichael legal team: ‘We will find the truth’

Attorneys representing Travis McMichael, charged with murder in the Feb. 23 shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, said they are committed to finding the truth in the case and say facts will come out in the courtroom.

“We know that there are strong opinions, we know there is anger, we know there is outrage,” Attorney Jason Sheffield said at an afternoon news conference. “Right now we are starting at the end. We know the ending. What we don’t know is the beginning. In this case the entire nation is investigating. We will find the truth and we will bring that truth out, not here but in the courtroom.”

Sheffield and Robert Rubin, of the firm Peters, Rubin, Sheffield and Roberts, spoke to reporters outside their Decatur office in accordance with social distancing guidelines amid coronavirus concerns. They were retained Monday by Travis McMichael, who is being held without bond in Glynn County Jail.

<< COMPLETE COVERAGE: Ahmaud Arbery shooting

McMichael, 34, and his father, Gregory McMichael, 64, are accused in the shooting death of Arbery in a neighborhood outside Brunswick. Gregory McMichael has hired Macon attorneys Laura and Franklin Hogue.

Rubin said he and Sheffield know the Hogues and are looking forward to working with them. He declined to answer whether he thought the father and son would be tried together.

In a statement late Wednesday to The Telegraph in Macon, Franklin Hogue said the "full story, to be revealed in time, will tell the truth about this case."

“While the death of Ahmaud Arbery is a tragedy, causing deep grief to his family — a tragedy that at first appears to many to fit into a terrible pattern in American life — this case does not fit that pattern,” Hogue said in the statement.

The GBI arrested the McMichaels on murder and aggravated assault charges on Thursday, the day before Arbery would have turned 26. The arrests came days after video of the Feb. 23 deadly shooting began circulating online, previously reported.

Sheffield said the attorneys will seek a hearing to ask a judge to grant bond for Travis McMichael. That hearing has not yet been scheduled, but could take place virtually, Sheffield said.  The attorneys also want to have a preliminary hearing so that a judge may hear additional details about the case and determine whether it should move forward.

When asked questions about the case, Rubin said it was not the time to discuss the specific details.

But he did express concern over what he says has been a rush to convict the McMichaels.

“I am saddened by where we are in this matter,” Rubin said. “People who know better to rush to judgment, people who know better to engage in stereotyping are rushing to judgment and stereotyping. And that that saddens me.”

Those comments drew a response from attorneys S. Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump and L. Chris Stewart, who represent Arbery’s parents.

"We agree with the attorneys for Travis McMichael that the justice system affords all citizens the presumption of innocence and that there shouldn't be a rush to judgment or stereotyping,” the attorneys said in a statement. “We only wish that their client, Travis McMichael, had provided that same presumption of innocence to Ahmaud Arbery before chasing and killing him. The men who ambushed Ahmaud Arbery rushed to judgment on Feb. 23.”

Rubin, a former Fulton County public defender, has been involved in some of the most highly publicized cases of the last decade in metro Atlanta.



He served as co-counsel for energy executive Hemy Neuman, charged with fatally shooting entrepreneur Rusty Sneiderman outside his children’s day care facility. Attention skyrocketed after news broke of an alleged affair between the victim’s widow, Andrea Sneiderman, and Neuman, her ex-boss.

Though he would eventually admit to killing Rusty Sneiderman, Neuman pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. That shifted the burden of proof to the defense, which now had to convince jurors Neuman was mentally ill.

Though he was found guilty, jurors did conclude he was mentally ill. Because of that, Neuman receives treatment for his mental issues while serving out his prison term.

Rubin would later defend two principals in the Atlanta teaching scandal. As with Neuman, the trial received considerable local attention but nowhere near the coverage expected if Travis McMichael is tried in court.