Arbery trial defense attorney apologizes to anyone 'inadvertently' offended by 'Black pastors' remark

A defense attorney representing one of the men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery last year apologized on Friday to anyone who was "inadvertently" offended by his comment that he didn't want "Black pastors" to attend the court proceedings. 

Kevin Gough made the apology after sparking backlash on Thursday for objecting to the Rev. Al Sharpton's presence at the court the day before by saying, “We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here."

“There's only so many pastors they can have. If their pastor is Al Sharpton right now, that's fine. But then that's it,” Gough said, in part.

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Addressing the court on Friday, Gough said he would file a motion on Monday putting his concerns in the "proper context” if his comments were “overly broad." 

“I will let the court know that if my statements yesterday were overly broad, I will follow up with a more specific motion on Monday putting those concerns in the proper context,” Gough said. “And my apologies to anyone who might have inadvertently been offended.

Gough represents William “Roddie" Bryan, who is one of three white men charged with felony murder for allegedly killing Arbery while he was jogging in Brunswick, Ga., in February 2020. Also charged in the case are Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael.

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Jason Sheffield, who represents Travis McMichael, told reporters outside the courtroom that Gough’s statement was “totally asinine, ridiculous,” per local news outlet First Coast News.

“I think Kevin has realized that in the heat of what happened in court and having concerns that this jury could be influenced by various things," Sheffield said. “But in no way do we want to exclude anyone from this process. Everyone is welcome. Come one come all.”

On Friday, Sharpton called for clergy across the country to meet with him and the family outside of the courthouse on Thursday for a prayer vigil.

“The arrogant insensitivity of attorney Kevin Gough in asking a judge to bar me or any minister of the family’s choice underscores the disregard for the value of the human life lost and the grieving of a family in need [of] spiritual and community support,” Sharpton said in a statement.