One of the men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery is attempting to throw his two co-defendants under the bus by painting them as anti-Black racists in a desperate attempt to be acquitted in the federal hate crime trial that resulted in three guilty verdicts.
The lawyer for Greg McMichael, whose son, Travis fired the shotgun that killed Arbery in rural Georgia in 2020, filed a motion this week trying to distance himself from his son and William “Roddie” Bryan — who filmed the brazen vigilante shooting — by claiming there is no proof his client racially profiled Arbery, let alone harbored any racist animus. Instead, the motion said, it was Travis McMichael and Bryan who are on record as saying the N-word and associated Black people “with criminality,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The motion was just one of several filed this week from lawyers representing the father and son, who apparently are having a hard time accepting their federal hate crime convictions last month. Each of their lawyers filed separate motions that were aligned in their shared mission: to convince the court that the prosecution failed to prove Arbery was killed on a public road.
“The government’s evidence showed only that the developer offered to dedicate the Satilla Shores neighborhood streets to the county, but the county did not expressly or implicitly accept that offer,” Amy Lee Copeland, who represents Travis McMichael, wrote in her motion. “As a result, sufficient evidence does not support a finding that Glynn County ‘provided [or] administered a public street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood.’”
The McMichaels were convicted of one count of using force and threats of force to intimidate and interfere with Arbery’s right to use a public street because of his race.
But Greg and his attorney filed a separate motion to try to show that he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.
“It also should be noted that the government presented the jury with no evidence that defendant Gregory McMichael uttered the ‘n-word’ or other racial epithets against African Americans, despite presenting copious evidence on this point against the other two defendants,” attorney A.J. Balbo wrote in part of the motion.
The mic-drop moment of Balbo’s motion came when daddy McMichael threw his son and former neighbor directly under the bus. He said prosecutors never proved his client is racist against Black people while pointing out that “the government admitted evidence and testimony demonstrating that defendants Travis McMichael and William Bryan may have.”
Translation: Greg McMichael’s lawyer told the court that Travis and Bryan might be racist, but his client surely is not.
As of Thursday, there had been no motions filed on behalf of Bryan.
Travis McMichael was described in court as a raging racist by the defense’s witnesses as well as the prosecution when the accused murderer’s “best friend” admitted under oath that the two of them “exchanged text messages littered with racist tropes and ugly stereotypes about African-Americans and Asians,” according to a report at the time in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bryan also told investigators that McMichael called Arbery a “fucking nigger” after shooting the jogger three times at close range with a shotgun.
Defense attorneys for the three men admitted their clients used racial slurs in the past but said their words had no bearing over their decision to approach Arbery the day they killed him.
According to prosecutors, Travis McMichael texted a friend that he loved his job because “zero niggers work with me.” They also have a testimony that McMichael said while watching a video of a Black man playing with fireworks, “It’d be cooler if it blew the fucking nigger’s head off.”
Greg McMichael had also been heard using insensitive racial remarks when speaking to a former co-worker. Prosecutors claim Greg said during a conversation about the death of civil rights icon Julian Bond, “Those Blacks are all nothing but trouble.”
Prosecutors also alleged Bryan was upset when he learned that his daughter was dating a Black man and said she “has her nigger now.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the FBI couldn’t access Greg McMichael’s iPhone to verify racist text messages because of the device’s passcode.
The hate crime convictions came one day ahead of the second anniversary of the trio ambushing Arbery while he was out jogging in what’s been widely decried as a modern-day lynching. The guilty verdicts also came less than two months after the three convicted murderers were given life sentences in prison.
On Nov. 24, 2021, the McMichaels and Bryan were found guilty and convicted of felony murder and other charges for the murder of Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020. The 25-year-old Arbery was jogging through a subdivision in the rural Georgia town of Brunswick when the McMichaels racially profiled him, armed themselves and purportedly attempted a citizen’s arrest. Travis McMichael shot and killed Arbery in broad daylight in the middle of a street, claiming self-defense in court.
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