GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — An attorney in the trial for the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery is making headlines for all the wrong reasons, again.
Defense attorney Kevin Gough made some eye-opening remarks Thursday regarding the Rev. Al Sharpton, who was inside the day prior at the Glynn County Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia.
Gough told Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley that he doesn't want "any more Black pastors" in the courtroom. Sharpton sat with Arbery's family.
Gough represents William “Roddie” Bryan, who along with father and son Greg and Travis McMichael is charged with murder and other crimes in Arbery’s Feb. 23, 2020, killing. The 25-year-old Black man was chased and fatally shot after the defendants spotted him running in their neighborhood outside the Georgia port city of Brunswick.
Gough told Judge Walmsley that he was concerned Sharpton’s presence in court Wednesday was an attempt to intimidate the disproportionately white jury hearing the case. The jury was not in the courtroom when he made the remarks.
The state said it didn’t know anything about Sharpton coming, but said it’s a public courtroom. Gough doubled down on his comments, saying, “What if folks came in here dressed as Colonel Sanders dressed in white masks in the back."
This isn't the first time Gough made such questionable statements to the court.
Following jury selection, the defense attorney complained that older White men from the South "euphemistically known as 'Bubba' or 'Joe Six Pack,'" were not represented in the pool of potential jurors.
“White males born in the South, over 40 years of age, without four-year college degrees, sometimes euphemistically known as ‘Bubba’ or ‘Joe Six Pack,’ seem to be significantly underrepresented” in the jury pool. The defense team has “a problem with that,” he said.
The jury consists of 11 White people, one Black person and four alternates who are also White.
Wanda Cooper-Jones, Arbery’s mother, said she found Gough’s statements disturbing.
“It was unreal because the family has really taken a loss, and I would think any support the family can get, they would allow that and it wouldn’t be frowned upon,” she said.
Rev. Sharpton said in a statement that Gough’s remarks showed “arrogant insensitivity.”
“I respect the defense attorney doing his job,” Sharpton said, “but this is beyond defending your client, it is insulting the family of the victim.”
On Friday, Gough offered his apologies in court.
-- The Associated Press and reporters at our sister station, First Coast News, contributed to this report.