Attorneys for Gregory and Travis McMichael Request That Ahmaud Arbery Not Be Called a ‘Victim’ in Court

Illustration for article titled Attorneys for Gregory and Travis McMichael Request That Ahmaud Arbery Not Be Called a ‘Victim’ in Court
Photo: Sean Rayford (Getty Images)

Recent motions filed by attorneys for Gregory and Travis McMichael—the father and son accused of chasing down and fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Ga., on February 23, 2020—appear to have one agenda in mind: Remove all indications of Arbery’s very humanity. In the motions filed on Dec. 30 and 31, not only are the McMichaels’ attorneys trying to ban photos that show Arbery pictured with, well, anyone, including family and other loved ones, but they don’t want Arbery referred to as a victim—despite the fact that he so clearly was one.

CBS 46 reports that the defense attorneys don’t want jurors to hear the word “victim” attached to Arbery’s name because “due process requires minimal injection of error or prejudice into these proceedings,” according to the motion.

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“Use of terms such as ‘victim’ allows the focus to shift to the accused rather than remain on the proof of every element of the crimes charged,” the attorneys wrote. The lawyers who may or may not possess souls also wrote that the “burden of the prosecution should not be alleviated, minimized or diminished with the use of loaded words which imply that the prosecution has met its burden of proof that the crimes alleged have actually been committed.”

OK fine: So the lawyers don’t want the VICTIM to be called a VICTIM because the jury shouldn’t be reminded that a VICTIM was VICTIMized without proof of the VICTIMization of the obvious VICTIM having been established. But the ridiculous motions go even further than that.

Attorneys requested in a separate motion that the court limit photos of Arbery to just one during the trial, that Arbery appears by himself in that photo and that a non-related witness identifies Arbery in the photo, not a relative. The lawyers claim these requests are being made in order to “avoid creating cumulative prejudicial error in the trial of this case,” and it’s a good thing they explained that, because otherwise, one might get the impression that they not only don’t want Arbery to be seen as a victim, they don’t want any reminder that he was a human being who had people who loved him.

After all, it’s not like they don’t want any personal information about Arbery presented. According to CBS, among other motions filed last Wednesday and Thursday was one requesting that the court order the prosecution to turn over all records relating to “Arbery’s disciplinary, criminal, and mental health records” along with his telephone records and social media accounts. So don’t call Arbery a victim, but if he happens to be called a criminal during court proceedings, that’s fine because suddenly the defense isn’t so worried about prejudice anymore.

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The request for Arbery’s telephone records is also wild considering that in the same set of motions, attorneys requested that the court “exclude from evidence all recorded jail calls made by the McMichaels while they were held in the Glynn County Detention Center,” CBS reports.

This reminds me to mention the fact that during the McMichaels’ bail hearing—in which they were denied bail—the same attorneys had no problem having several friends and family members of the accused take the stand and testify as to what wonderful people the defendants are.

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So yeah, it appears that the defense certainly wants some people’s humanity recognized at trial, just not the victim’s—or whatever the hell it is they think the VICTIM should be called.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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DISCUSSION

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Foxstar loves Bashcraft

This seems like a low-effort attempt to poison the local pools and make seating a jury hard, if not impossible and setting up an appeal. It’s heartless and completely within character for a criminal defense attorney who knows damned well that even their fellow racists will find these two waste of skins guilty, because they don’t want none of that smoke.

These two are going away for a long time. At this point, their attorneys are trying everything to reduce that time, as I don’t believe the DA is seeking the needle for these two.