An attorney for the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery apologized Friday ''to anyone who might have inadvertently been offended'' for saying he didn't want ''any more Black pastors'' attending the trial.
Three white Georgia men have pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the death of Arbery, a jogger who was Black. The men say they were attempting a citizen's arrest following a series of area break-ins reportedly committed by a Black man.
Attorney Kevin Gough on Thursday objected to the presence of the Rev. Al Sharpton, a longtime civil rights leader, in court to support the victim's family.
''I will let the court know that if my statements yesterday were overly broad. I will follow up with a more specific motion on Monday putting those concerns in the proper context. And my apologies to anyone who might have inadvertently been offended,'' Gough said Friday, CNN reported.
A day earlier, Gough condemned what he termed ''a precedent ... where we're going to bring high-profile members of the African American community into the courtroom to sit with the family during the trial in the presence of the jury,'' CNN said.
''I believe that's intimidating and it's an attempt to pressure,'' Gough said. The lawyer added that he has ''nothing personally against'' Sharpton.
''We don't want any more Black pastors coming in here or other Jesse Jackson, whoever was in here earlier this week, sitting with the victim's family trying to influence a jury in this case,” Gough said, CNN reported.
Judge Timothy Walmsley told Gough he did not object to Sharpton taking the place of an Arbery family member as long as there were no disruptions.
Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and neighbor William ''Roddie'' Bryan Jr. are accused of chasing Arbery, 25, in vehicles and killing him on Feb. 23, 2020, in Brunswick, Georgia.
Defense lawyers have argued that the men were attempting a citizen's arrest, and that Travis McMichael shot Arbery in self-defense as they wrestled over a shotgun.
If convicted, each man could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Officer Ricky Minshew testified Monday and explained his reasoning for not attending to Arbery while being questioned on the witness stand. Minshew has been criticized for not rendering aid despite being trained in performing CPR.
''Being that I was the only officer on scene, without having any other police units to watch my back, there was no way that I could switch to do anything medical and still be able to watch my surroundings,'' Minshew said.
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