Kevin Gough, a defense attorney for one of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, motioned for a mistrial on Monday because of protesters, whom he described as a “mob,” displaying coffins with the defendants’ names on them. Judge Timothy Walmsley denied the motion.
KEVIN GOUGH: Protesters, whether they were the Black Panther group or some other group, were behind the barriers in front of the courthouse. There was a truck carrying a coffin with the names of the defendants on it. At least one of these groups, I believe it was the Black Panther group, is referenced in the motion filed this morning, that their specific objective was to influence the proceedings in this case.
I don't know whether they intended to scare the defendants. But I have co-counsel with a small child who is scared to death. Large weapons, apparently automatic weapons were seen outside the courthouse. And given everything else that's already transpired in this case, we believe at this point that it's appropriate for us to renew the motion for mistrial.
This court has gone to great lengths to give these defendants a fair trial. But the security precautions that were in place, despite the sheriff's best efforts and your honor's best efforts-- we've now got people who claim to be violent driving around the courthouse with coffins with our client's names on them with semi or fully automatic weapons. I mean, I'm not sure--
This is no longer a figurative mob. This is a literal mob. And inevitably, the proceedings, despite best efforts, are tainted. We would move for a mistrial.
TIMOTHY WALMSLEY: The court's again denying the mistrial. I've indicated previously and mentioned to counsel that I agree with the concern that is out there with regard to the jurors having exposure to anything that may be going on outside. Whatever may be going outside, it has not been brought to my attention on a security level. Again, individuals have a right to be outside the courthouse.
I agree with Mr. Gough that the court needs to keep a very close eye on whether or not whatever may be going on outside the courthouse has any influence upon the jury. And the court has taken steps to ensure that the jury is insulated from anything going on around the courthouse so that they can focus on their business before the court, which would be to consider the evidence presented as well as the arguments of counsel. And I will continue to endeavor to do so.