JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A hearing in the federal hate crimes case of three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery lasted over two hours Friday, but only about 10 minutes of that was open to the public.
The remainder was held behind closed doors as the defense argued to limit certain evidence. Among that evidence are racist text messages that William “Roddie” Bryan is alleged to have sent and received.
Bryan is charged along with his former neighbors Greg and Travis McMichael with federal hate crimes and kidnapping in the death of Arbery. They were convicted of first degree murder in state court in November.
Before closing the courtroom, the judge granted a motion to prevent either side from using the outcome of the state trial as something jurors should consider. That included the defense suggesting that the men have been punished enough, or prosecutors using their murder convictions to bolster their case. Both sides also agreed not to make mention of any plea negotiations or settlement discussions.
The men are due back in court on the 31st. Jury selection is scheduled to begin February 7. The trial is expected to last three weeks.