Lawyers for Travis McMichael, the Georgia man who shot Ahmaud Arbery, have suggested co-defendant William Bryan, Jr. made up the shocking accusation that McMichael called Arbery a “fucking n--er” as Arbery lay dying on the ground. During a June hearing, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Richard Dial said that Bryan, who recorded the viral video of Arbery’s February death, reported hearing the slur, which was also captured on video. But McMichael’s lawyers Robert Rubin told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “There was a motive for him to bring up race in his fourth interview. Because at that point, he’s looking to cut a deal.”
Rubin and colleague Jason Sheffield said Bryan never mentioned the fact until his fourth interview with investigators. They said they’d reviewed the video and concluded the allegation couldn’t be true. “We see [Bryan] was so far away from that part of the scene,” Sheffield said. “In his truck, windows up. And police were literally on scene within seconds. And so from what we can tell there is nothing to support that Roddie Bryan could ever hear him say anything like that.” The lawyers tried to paint a picture of McMichael as a non-racist community hero who saved six people when he was a teenage lifeguard and member of the U.S. Coast Guard. Attorneys for his father, Gregory, added that their client had saved lives too, including a Black sailor while he was in the U.S. Navy.