A defense attorney for one of the men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery attempted to have Rev. Al Sharpton and other high-profile Black figures barre from the courtroom on Thursday, arguing that the presence of “these people” would unduly influence a jury. “We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here,” said Kevin Gough, who is representing William “Roddie” Bryan. Gough claimed that “serially… bringing these people in to sit with the victim’s family, one after another,” would “intimidate” and “pressure” jurors. In addition to Sharpton, he referenced Rev. Jesse Jackson, who attended the Brunswick trial earlier this week, as an example, saying: “I think the court can understand my concern about bringing people in who really don’t have any ties to this case other than political interests.”
To buttress his inane argument, Gough then bizarrely referenced the mascot for 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...” He was then cut off by Judge Timothy Walmsley, who refused his request, saying, “I’m not going to start blatantly excluding members of the public from this courtroom.”
In court on Friday, Gough offered an apology before jurors entered the room. “My apologies to anyone who may have inadvertently been offended,” he said.