Defense Attorney In Ahmaud Arbery Case Tries To Have Jesse Jackson Removed From Courtroom
Defense Attorney Keving Gough wants prominent Black figures removed from attending the murder trial.
November 16, 2021 at 3:23 am
The defense attorney in the Ahmaud Arbery case failed to have civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson removed from the courtroom in Glynn County on Monday.
Kevin Gough, defender of the three white men accused of killing of Arbery, was denied by Judge Timothy Walmsley in the trial to have Jackson withdrawn from the courtroom, USA Today reports.
Gough said he believed Jackson’s civil influence could sway jurors' decision when delivering the verdict, the Independent reports. He even made mention of Jackson’s misuse of wearing his mask, saying, “Your Honour, I would note that the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s mask is down below his nose,” a maskless Gough said, according to the Independent.
“I’m not a big believer in masks, but again, make that part of the record. I’m sure the court can see what I’m talking about,” Gough added.
Gough requested that Jackson be sent to an adjacent room as opposed to the main area where the trial is taking place.
"There is no reason for these prominent icons in the civil rights movement to be here," Gough said, the Los Angeles Times reports. "I would suggest, whether intended or not, that inevitably a juror is going to be influenced by their presence in the courtroom."
NOW: After asking that Rev. Jesse Jackson leave the courtroom, and the judge denied the request, now attorney Kevin Gough is arguing that Jesse Jackson's mask is below his nose. (Note: Several people haven't worn masks at all in the gallery). pic.twitter.com/YbGisj3JK1
— Hayley Mason (@HayleyMasonTV) November 15, 2021
This isn’t Gough’s first time asking public attendees to be removed from the courtroom. Gough took issue with Rev. Al Sharpton's presence, citing the civil rights leader's presence would influence the jurors' decision.
Walmsley said he would not have been aware of Jackson’s presence had Gough not pointed it out.
"At this point, it's almost as if you’re just trying to continue this for purposes other than just bringing it to the court’s attention and I find that objectionable," Walmsley said.
Despite Gough’s public apology, he professed that "high-profile members of the African American community" were "intimidating" the jury and that their governing was not needed in the high-profile case.
Jackson didn’t allow Gough’s antics to dissuade his support for the Arbery family, though. The political activist made media rounds and said he intends to attend the trial as it continues.
“I have a moral obligation to be here,” Jackson said.
Gough may encounter another upheaval, as it's reported that more than 100 Black pastors will make an appearance in support of the Arbery family.
Father and son Gregory and Bryan McMichael, as well as William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., are charged with Arbery’s murder.
Bryan recorded Arbery’s last moments of life. He's charged with attempting to “confine and detain” Arbery with his vehicle, reports the New York Times. But Bryan protested that his role in Arbery’s death was minimal.