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Watch Live: Murder Defendants Try to Enter Ahmaud Arbery’s Past Guilty Pleas into Evidence


One day after Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan appeared in federal court and pleaded not guilty to hate crime charges in Ahmaud Arbery’s death, a Georgia judge is hearing the murder defendants’ pre-trial arguments in favor of dredging up Arbery’s past — including guilty pleas — and entering that into evidence.

The defendants, accused of murdering Arbery on February 23, 2020 in a street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, purportedly believed Arbery was a burglary suspect. Video that went public well after the incident showed the McMichaels and their truck in the middle of a road Arbery was running on. Bryan was in a different vehicle and apparently following Arbery. He recorded the moment Arbery was shot and killed.

The defense wants a jury to learn that Arbery had a gun conviction in 2013, an attempted shoplifting conviction in 2017, and that Arbery was on probation at the time he was shot.

The hearing, anticipated to continue into Thursday, is also expected to include a push from the prosecution to enter the defendants’ texts and social media posts into evidence. The prosecution would do this in an effort to point to racial animus as a motivation. For instance, it has been alleged that Travis McMichael called Arbery a “fucking n*****” after the shooting and before the police arrived.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. A trial date has not yet been set. Watch the hearing in the player above.

[Image via News 4 Jax screengrab]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.