Men accused in coastal Georgia shooting hire attorneys

Men accused in coastal Georgia shooting hire attorneys

ATLANTA (AP) – A defense attorney hired by one of two white men in Georgia accused of pursuing and killing a black man in a case that has drawn national attention and an outcry over its handling cautioned against a “rush to judgment.”

Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son, are charged with aggravated assault and felony murder in the Feb. 23 death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. The case drew national attention and outrage after a video of Arbery’s final moments surfaced online last week. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to take over the seemingly stalled investigation and the McMichaels were arrested less than 48 hours later.

Laura and Frank Hogue, a husband and wife criminal defense team based in Macon, said they have been hired to represent 64-year-old Gregory McMichael.

“So often the public accepts a narrative driven by an incomplete set of facts, one that vilifies a good person, based on a rush to judgment, which has happened in this case,” Laura Hogue said in a statement released Thursday.

The Hogues said more of the truth will be revealed at a preliminary hearing that they plan to schedule soon. The statement says they also plan to ask the court to set bail.

Travis McMichael, 34, has hired attorney Bob Rubin, who said in an email that he planned to hold a news conference Thursday afternoon at his office in Decatur, an Atlanta suburb.

The more than two months that passed before the McMichaels were arrested and the fact that it didn’t happen until after the video of the shooting became public caused many to draw parallels to other shootings of black men by white men in recent years.

“While the death of Ahmaud Arbery is a tragedy, causing deep grief to his family – a tragedy that at first appears to many to fit into a terrible pattern in American life – this case does not fit that pattern. The full story, to be revealed in time, will tell the truth about this case,” Frank Hogue said.

According to an incident report by Glynn County police, Gregory McMichael, said he and his son armed themselves and chased Arbery in a pickup truck after seeing him run down their street. Gregory McMichael told police he suspected Arbery was a burglar, and said he attacked Travis McMichael before he was shot in a struggle over the gun.

Separately, lawyers for Arbery’s family said in a statement released Wednesday evening that the family is interested in talking to an anonymous person who they say left a poignant, heartfelt note at the site of Arbery’s death.

“They feel great sympathy for the person who wrote that note and would like to speak with them to determine what they knew or what they saw,” the attorneys wrote. “If that person would like to confidentially come forward and communicate with the family, they can contact the legal team or reach out directly to Mr. Arbery’s family.”

Arbery’s mother said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that she has confidence in the investigation now that the GBI has taken it over from local police and the Cobb County district attorney has been called in as an independent prosecutor to handle it. She said she would like prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

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