Attorney in Arbery Trial: Sorry for 'Black Pastors' Remark

Defense lawyer Kevin Gough apologizes to those who were 'inadvertently' offended
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2021 1:18 AM CST
Updated Nov 12, 2021 10:55 AM CST
Attorney in Arbery Trial: No More Black Pastors in Courtroom
Defense attorney Kevin Gough speaks during opening statements in the trial of Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, at the Glynn County Courthouse, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga.   (Octavio Jones/Pool Photo via AP)

Update: The defense attorney in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial who told the judge he didn't want to see any more "Black pastors" in the courtroom is now offering a mea culpa. "My apologies to anyone who might have inadvertently been offended," Kevin Gough said, per CNN. "I will let the court know that if my statements ... were overly broad, I will follow up with a more specific motion on Monday putting those concerns in the proper context," he said, per NPR. Our original story from Thursday follows:

The Rev. Al Sharpton attended the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial Wednesday, prompting one of the defense attorneys to say the following day in court, "We don't want any more Black pastors coming in here." Kevin Gough, who represents William "Roddie" Bryan, a neighbor of fellow defendants Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael, said that having "high-profile members of the African American community" in the courtroom is "intimidating, and it's an attempt to pressure—could be consciously or unconsciously—an attempt to pressure the jury," the Hill reports. He also made a reference to "Jesse Jackson, whoever was in here earlier this week sitting with the victim's family trying to influence the jury in this case," but Rev. Jackson has not attended the trial. TMZ suspects he may have meant attorney Ben Crump, who did attend this week.

Gough went on to say that "There's only so many pastors they can have. If their pastor is Al Sharpton right now, that's fine. But then that's it. We don't want any more Black pastors coming in here." USA Today notes the situation in the courtroom got "tense." Gough went on to say, "If a bunch of folks came in here dressed like Colonel Sanders with white masks, sitting in the back, I mean that would be—" but at that point the judge cut him off. Gough did not formally request anyone be barred from the courtroom, and the judge indicated he would not have granted such a request. Sharpton, who was sitting with Arbery's family in the courtroom, tells TMZ, "The arrogant insensitivity of attorney Kevin Gough ... underscores the disregard for the value of the human life lost and the grieving of a family in need spiritual and community support." (Read more Ahmaud Arbery stories.)

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