Defense lawyers representing the three men charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery are calling for a mistrial.
William Bryan, Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael are currently on trial for the slaying of 25-year-old Arbery, who was killed while jogging in Glynn County, Georgia in February 2020.
On Monday, defense attorneys argued that jurors were more likely to vote in favor of the prosecution because Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, cried while in the courtroom, Insider reported.
Arbery’s mother could be heard weeping in the courtroom while a witness gave a testimony about the 2020 tragedy. At that moment, Judge Timothy Walmsley adjourned the case.
The defense attorneys then requested a mistrial right before the judge was going to resume the trial.
Defense lawyer Robert Rubin stated while Arbery’s mom was crying, he noticed several jurors looking in her direction and stated the jurors appeared to be sympathetic towards her.
The defense believes Jones’ display of emotions will make it harder for them to rest their case.
However, Judge Walmsley did not agree with the defense and denied the motion for a mistrial.
“The court is faced with balancing a lot of things going on outside this courtroom,” he said. “So my measured response at this point is to balance all of that out and try to move forward with the trial. I am not granting a mistrial at this point based on these arguments that are being made.”
Kevin Gough, the attorney for William Bryan, also raised a similar argument as last week, when he requested that there be no more Black pastors in the courtroom. This week, he questioned the appearance of Rev. Jesse Jackson.
“At this point, I’m not exactly sure what you’re doing,” Walmsley responded.
“At this point, it’s almost as if you’re just trying to continue this for purposes other than just bringing it to the court’s attention and I find that objectionable from the court’s standpoint,” he added.
The judge stated he was confident that the jury wasn’t being unfairly swayed in one direction or another and that measures are taken to ensure jurors are not influenced by matters other than the facts of the case, NPR reported.
The defendants— the McMichaels and Bryan— have been charged with murder, aggravated assault and false imprisonment. This week marks week two of their criminal trial.