BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A tense discussion broke out Thursday afternoon during the murder trial of three white men charged in Ahmaud Arbery’s killing when a defense attorney said the presence of “high-profile members of the African American community” may pressure or intimidate the jury.

Kevin Gough is a defense attorney representing William “Roddie”, Bryan. He took issue with Rev. Al Sharpton was present in courtroom that day.

Gough explained that if we were to create a precedent by bringing high-profile African American members into court to be present during trial, it would have to begin yesterday.

Sharpton and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Arbery’s fathe, listened to testimony Wednesday after holding a press conference and prayer vigil outside outside, where Sharpton called Arbery’s killing “a lynching in the 21st century.”

Sharpton claimed he was invited by Arbery’s family to Brunswick. He also expressed concern about how the jury composition did not reflect the Black populationof Glynn County.

Ahmaud Arbery:Greg McMichael did not know whether Arbery owned a firearm, but he said that he didn’t want to take any chance.

Defense attorney Kevin Gough reacts as he speaks at the jury selection in the trial of William "Roddie" Bryan, Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael, charged with the February 2020 death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, at the Gwynn County Superior Court, in Brunswick, Ga., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021.

Gough argued he was worried about “political interests” entering the courtroom.

“Obviously there aren’t enough pastors.Gough added, “We don’t want any Black pastors coming into here or any Jesse Jacksons, or anyone else, earlier in the week.”

Linda Dunikoski, the prosecutor of Sharpton, said that she wasn’t aware and didn’t dispute Sharpton being there. Dunikoski said, “It is a public courtroom.”

Gough responded by referring to the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

“If a bunch of folks came in here dressed like Colonel Sanders with white masks, sitting in the back, I mean that would be —” Gough began to say before the judge cut him off.

Gough stopped short of making a formal motion to bar anyone from the courtroom, and Judge Timothy Walmsley indicated he would not grant one if he did.

“The fact that nobody even noticed that (Sharpton) was in here means that everybody compiled with this court’s rulings,” Walmsley said, adding, “I’m not going to blanketly exclude members of the public.”

Jason Sheffield (defense attorney) represented Travis McMichael and said he knew Sharpton was there but it was not a distraction.

Learn more:Georgian citizen who called Ahmaud Albery’s police station describes the’shocking scene in the street’ after the shooting

Source: USAToday.com

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