‘Ahmaud is not on trial here’: Both sides in Arbery case argue over what will be admitted in trial

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Ahmaud Arbery’s family was inside a south Georgia courtroom Thursday afternoon as lawyers on both sides tried to hammer out the details of how the quickly approaching trial against the men accused of killing him will run.

Jury selection is less than three months away in the emotionally-charged case.

Channel 2′s Tony Thomas was inside the courtroom Thursday and said some of the comments made during the hearing did not sit well with Arbery’s family.

“Ahmaud is not on trial here, he is not here to tell his side of the story,” Arbery’s aunt Thea Brooks said.

Arbery’s family left the courthouse frustrated after hearing comments by Roddie Bryan’s defense attorney, Kevin Gough, trying to cast doubt on Arbery’s actions.

“Whether he intends to take the vehicle, push Mr. Bryan out or bury him in the woods, we don’t know. But a jury can reasonably infer that Mr. Arbery was trying to commit a felony,” Gough told the court.

“It’s offensive that this has been turned into the victim trying to commit a carjacking,” Cobb County prosecutor Linda Dunikoski said. She is handling the case for the state.

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The exchange came as the judge and lawyers hashed out how the jury will be selected, and what the panel will see and hear once testimony begins.

Greg and Travis McMichael, along with neighbor Roddie Bryan, face murder charges after chasing Arbery down.

Travis McMichael got into a struggle with Arbery and shot him. The men call the shooting self-defense.

A defense motion was filed to close part of jury selection. Lawyers for the McMichaels say some questions may be too touchy to air publicly.

“We are asking questions that are sensitive, that a potential juror may be afraid to reveal in open court,” attorney Laura Hogue argued.

Negotiations on the closing of jury selection continues. Lawyers are now waiting for several important rulings from the judge.

“Justice is heading the right direction for the Arbery family,” Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, told Thomas.

The trial against the McMichaels and Bryan is set to start Oct. 18.

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