Post by ck4829 on Feb 17, 2022 3:35:00 GMT -6
Hate Crimes Trial to Proceed After Arbery Killers Withdraw Guilty Pleas
Travis and Gregory McMichael, two of the three men convicted in state court of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, have withdrawn guilty pleas in their federal hate crimes case, clearing the way for a trial that will once again revisit the afternoon two years ago when they chased Mr. Arbery, a Black man, through their South Georgia neighborhood, a chase that ended with three shotgun blasts, and Mr. Arbery dead on the pavement.
On Thursday night, Gregory McMichael’s lawyer, A.J. Balbo, and the Justice Department filed notice with the court stating that his plea agreement had been withdrawn, and announced that the two sides were ready to go to trial.
In a courtroom on Friday morning, Travis McMichael indicated that he, too, wished to go to trial, telling the judge he wanted to withdraw his earlier decision to plead guilty.
Unlike the murder trial, in which prosecutors focused on what they described as the rash and dangerous decisions Mr. Arbery’s pursuers made on the day of his killing, the federal government
plans to put their alleged racist motivations front and center. The McMichaels and their neighbor, William Bryan, 52, each face a count of “interference with rights,” which alleges that they pursued and harmed Mr. Arbery “because of Arbery’s race and color.”
To bolster this argument, prosecutors are expected to introduce explicit evidence that the three men used racist language and harbored racist ideas that many, if not most, Americans will find repugnant