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Attorney for the Man Who Recorded the Ahmaud Arbery Killing Touts Mostly Pointless Polygraph Test


There have been several key developments in the prosecution of two Georgia men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery: the man who recorded the highly publicized video of the shooting has taken a lie detector test; an attorney for Arbery’s family is criticizing that man and his attorney; and new video has been released of an alarming law enforcement interaction with Arbery in 2017.

The So-Called ‘Lie Detector’ Proves …

In a statement which is mostly legally pointless, an attorney for William “Roddie” Bryan says his client passed a lie detector test. Bryan recorded the video of Gregory and Travis McMichael pulling up to Arbery and ultimately shooting and killing the jogger.

“Contrary to speculation, the polygraph examination confirms that on Feb. 23 2020, the day of the shooting, William ‘Roddie’ Bryan did not have any conversation with either Gregory or Travis McMichael prior to the shooting,” said attorney Kevin Gough. “Nor did William ‘Roddie’ Bryan have any conversation with anyone else that day prior to the shooting about criminal activity in the neighborhood.”

Gough said he shared the results of the polygraph with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The move appears to be a tactic by Gough to prevent his client from being charged as a conspirator or party to a crime — fearing, as it is Gough’s job to do, that perhaps authorities may be attempting to take take the case in that direction. Gough admitted, however, that “lie detector” tests are not admissible in court. The tests, more properly called polygraphs, are not seen as reliable evidence, and the Supreme Court has held that rules of evidence which bar their introduction — even as exculpatory evidence offered by a defendant — are constitutional.

“[T]here is simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas in 1998. “To this day, the scientific community remains extremely polarized about the reliability of polygraph techniques.”

Police reports in the case suggest “Bryan tried to block Arbery,” news reports say, “while Arbery was running down Burford Drive.”

However, “Gough said Bryan was nothing but a witness and not a ‘vigilante,’ a characterization Gough said is being perpetuated by Arbery’s family and their attorneys,” those news reports said further.

Gough said his client was fired from his job and that he and his family have received death threats since the video became public. He directly called upon attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represents Arbery’s family, to “please stop” his public attacks “for the sake of my client’s family, then for the sake of the Arbery family and the cause you fight for.”

Meanwhile, Merritt Wants Bryan In Jail…

Merritt on Tuesday morning tweeted that the words of Bryan’s attorney rang flat and hollow. He said that Arbery didn’t have the luxury of asking anyone to “please stop” attacking him. “We will stop when he’s in jail,” Merritt said of Bryan.

New Video Shows Local Police Tactics

The Guardian released new video on Monday of the Glynn County Police Department approaching Arbery while he was hanging out in a park in 2017.  The confrontation became tense and resulted in officers attempting to use a Taser on Arbery as he stood with his hands up. (The Guardian noted that the officer’s Taser malfunctioned, citing police reports.) Arbery was approached under the vague suspicion of one officer that drug activity sometimes occurred in the park. Arbery appeared to be alone.

“You’re bothering me for nothing,” Arbery told them.

TMZ noted that accused Arbery killer Gregory McMichael was once a member of the same force.

[Featured image via screen grab from ABC News.]

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.