On day five of the murder trial of Greg and Travis McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan, the three men accused of hunting down and killing Ahmaud Arbery, a white defense attorney lost his whishes-negroes-were-still-cotton-picking mind.
Kevin Gough, the attorney representing Bryan—who must have drawn the short straw in the lottery for competent defense lawyers who know how to put the Klan hood away long enough to make a simple motion—really stood his extra-mayo-on-the-side behind up in court and declared before a judge that “We don’t want any more Black pastors here.”
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“If we’re going to set a precedent from yesterday where we’re going to bring leading members of the African American community into the courtroom to sit with the family during the trial in front of the jury, I believe that’s intimidating, it’s an attempt to pressure…or influence the jury,” Gough said. “The idea that we’re going to be serially bringing these people in series to sit down with the victim’s family one after another…obviously, there’s only a limited number of pastors they can have. If their pastor is Al Sharpton right now that’s fine, but that’s it. We don’t want any more black pastors here…Jesse Jackson, or whoever was in here earlier this week.”
First of all, it’s pretty clear that Gough accidentally left his dog whistle at home and said, “Oh well, I guess this bullhorn will have to do.”
This was a whole Freudian slip n’ slide—not just a slip.
In just a few short, stumbly sentences, Gough pretty much admitted he finds Black people “intimidating,” and then showed he just barely knows one Black leader from another while claiming their mere presence while sitting silently with Arbery’s family will influence the jury.
Oh, and he went out of his way to specify the race of the pastors he doesn’t want to see in the courtroom anymore. This man really stood up in a court of law and requested a judge implement an official negro limit on who can be let inside.
If you happen to be carrying a “tell me you’re a white supremacist without telling me you’re a white supremacist” Bingo card right now, you’re probably ready to turn it in for prizes.
After making this foolish and racist as hell statement, Gough could have just read the damn room and sat his bleached wonder bread behind down, but he just kept on talking and managed to make things even weirder.
“If a bunch of people come in here dressed like Colonel Sanders with white masks sitting in the back …” he said before the judge gracefully cut him off.
Nah, I really wanted him to finish that sentence—because…what?
I’m going to go ahead and give Gough the benefit of the doubt and assume Colonel Sanders didn’t pop in his head as some kind of fried chicken reference directed at the Black community. Of course, it actually might have been worse than that if you consider that Sanders was known to wear all white, and Gough also mentioned white masks, and…
Wait—was Gough about to compare the presence of Black pastors to the presence of the Ku Klux Klan?
Was Gough’s pasty, once-a-year washcloth behind about to compare people who preach in Black churches to people who bombed them and set them on fire?
Nah, he better Gough his bologna-smelling self on somewhere.
Anyway, Judge Timothy Walmsley denied the request, saying, “I am not going to begin to generally exclude members of the public from this courtroom.” After all, it is a public trial and this is not the “white pastors only” Jim Crow south—although I can understand the confusion given the nature of Arbery’s case and this trial.
Still, imagine being a defense attorney and choosing a case like this to go full David Duke.