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Attorneys plan to appeal verdict after defendants convicted of Ahmaud Arbery's murder

Here's what two of the defense lawyers had to say.

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — A verdict has been reached in the trial of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. The attorneys of the defendants are speaking out after the three defendants were found guilty by a jury on the majority of the charges they were facing.

On Feb. 23, 2020, Arbery, 25, was jogging in a south Georgia neighborhood near Brunswick in Glynn County, when he was chased, shot and killed. Arbery, a Black man, was pursued by three white men: father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael, and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan.

Kevin Gough, Bryan's attorney, said their legal team plans on appealing Wednesday's verdict and will file for a new trial.

"We have to respect the efforts that were made. This jury spent a lot of time, spent a lot of effort to go through the evidence. The judge invested a lot of effort trying to make sure these defendants had a fair trial," Gough said. "We may disagree as to whether we were successful in getting him that fair trial but we certainly appreciate the efforts that were made. And you’ve seen the efforts made in this case to try and contain the carnival-like atmosphere outside the courthouse... Bottom line is Mr. Bryan sitting in a jail cell instead of being home with his family and I can't pretend that I'm happy about it." 

Credit: AP
William "Roddie" Bryan reacts as he stands next to his attorney Kevin Gough after the jury handed down their verdict in the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Brunswick, Ga. Greg McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, and a neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery were convicted of murder Wednesday in the fatal shooting that became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)

Gough claimed there were a lot of legal issues and arguments raised during the trial concerning the Citizen's arrest law. Gough also said Bryan will have the opportunity to discuss it in his federal trial, which is set for next year.

"We believe the appellate courts will reverse this conviction and Mr. Bryan will get another trial," he said. "It was a complicated trial, it's a complicated case, a lot of issues but we filed the motions that we felt we needed to file and we filed them when we felt we needed to make them and it'll be for the appellate courts to sort out what justice looks like for Roddie Bryan now."

Jason Sheffield, defense attorney for Travis McMichael also spoke out for their legal team. 

"We understand more than you know how valuable it is to have people come together, peacefully assemble, share their voices, share what's in their hearts, what's in their minds," Sheffield said. "This is a very difficult day for Travis McMichael and Greg McMichael. These are two men who honestly believe that what they were doing was the right thing to do. However, the Glynn County jury has spoken they have found them guilty and they will be sentenced." 

Sheffield called the jury's verdict "very disappointing and sad." 

"We also recognize that this is a day of celebration for the Arbery family, we cannot tear our eyes away from the way they feel about this," he said. "We understand that they feel they have gotten justice today. We respect that we honor that because we honor this jury trial system." 

They also plan to appeal the trial's verdict.

"I can tell you honestly these men are sorry for what happened to Ahmaud Arbery. They are sorry that he is dead, they are sorry for the tragedy that happened because of the choices that they made to go out there and try to stop him," Sheffield said.