Judge To Decide if Racist Texts Can Be Shown in Trial For Arbery’s Killers

In Summary

Prosecutors are attempting to use the texts, which are said to include "racially insensitive language," to show the trio had a bias toward African Americans.  

A federal judge will decide if “racially insensitive” texts will be allowed to be evidence in the federal hate crimes trial for the three white men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery.  

According to The Associated Press, U.S. Magistrate Judge Benjamin Cheesbro heard arguments for two hours in a private hearing closed to the public on Friday.  

RELATED: Arbery’s Killers Sentenced to Life in Prison; Federal Trial Begins Feb. 7 

On Nov. 24, 2021, father-and-son duo Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan were found guilty for their involvement in Arbery’s death. Travis and Gregory McMichael were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and 20 years consecutive to the life sentence. Bryan was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.  

Pete Theodocion, a lawyer representing Bryan, asked the judge not to let prosecutors use texts between Bryan and others that included “racially insensitive language” as evidence. The motion did not include what the messages said, but it indicated they were about MLK Day and Bryan’s disapproval of his adopted daughter dating a Black man, The Associated Press reported.  

RELATED: Ahmaud Arbery’s Mother Rejected Plea Deal for Son’s Murderers  

“The evidence Defendant Bryan seeks to exclude is of a highly inflammatory nature and would significantly limit his ability to be fairly tried by an impartial Jury,” Theodocion wrote in his motion. “An African American juror would be particularly and rightfully angered at such language and would naturally be hyper-inclined to make a decision on an improper bias.”  

In a court filing, prosecutors said their sealed motions detail evidence they plan to use against the McMichaels and Bryan, which likely includes Bryan’s statement that Travis McMichael used a racial slur when standing over Arbery’s body.  

The federal trial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 7, 2022, where the group faces hate crime charges. They maintain their innocence and plan to appeal their conviction in state court.   

RELATED: Jury Pool of 1K Sought in Fed Hate Crime Case of Men Who Killed Arbery 

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