A defense attorney for one of the three White men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery drew outrage on Monday over comments she made about the Black man’s physical appearance on the day he was fatally shot.
According to CNN, Laura Hogue, who represents Gregory McMichael, made those comments while delivering her closing arguments in court on Monday. Hogue reportedly made those comments in an attempt to portray Arbery as a lawbreaker. This also wasn’t the first time defense attorneys for Gregory and Travis McMichael have reportedly plied that route.
“Turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim after the choices that he made does not reflect the reality of what brought Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores in his khaki shorts with no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails,” Hogue said in reference to Arbery.
Following Hogue’s comments, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, left the courtroom, saying “I gotta get out of here.” Cooper-Jones later told CNN Hogue’s comments were rude and very disturbing.
“I thought it was very, very rude to talk about his long, dirty toenails and to totally neglect that my son had a huge hole in his chest when he was shot with that shotgun,” she said, adding that what the defense is doing is an attempt to shift focus from the reality that they “don’t have the proper evidence to get a conviction.”
“So they’re actually going to any measure to get it, to get a conviction, which is not there for them,” Cooper-Jones added.
In another interview with CBS Mornings, Cooper-Jones said she did not expect the defense to “to go that low.” “I’ll just say this, regardless of how long and how dirty his toenails were, that’s still my son, and he didn’t deserve to die the way that he died,” she said.
Arbery, 25, was shot and killed on February 23 last year after he was confronted by Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis, while he was jogging outside Brunswick in Georgia. The older McMichael, who is a retired cop, had told officers that they had chased Arbery in a truck after he thought Arbery looked like a suspect who had been connected to a number of burglaries in the Brunswick area.
The third defendant, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., also followed Arbery in a different truck and filmed the fatal encounter. The three White men were later arrested and charged in connection with the killing. The men, who have pleaded not guilty, face a slew of charges including malice and felony murder. They could receive life sentences if they’re convicted.
Jury deliberations started on Tuesday.