Appeals Sought In Ahmaud Arbery Hate Crime Case

Attorneys for the three men convicted in the hate crime case involving Ahmaud Arbery have moved to appeal their convictions. Their appeal was presented to the federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Wednesday as the latest chapter in the legal saga that captured national attention during the Georgia trial.

Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was chased and fatally shot while running through a Georgia subdivision in February 2020. The assailants, Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, were later found guilty of murder and hate crimes.

The case began when the McMichaels, armed and in a pickup truck, pursued Arbery, suspecting him of criminal activities in their neighborhood. Bryan joined the pursuit, recording the harrowing incident that led to Arbery’s death. The defendants were all arrested after the graphic video footage was provided to law enforcement. Authorities determined and argued to the jury that there was no substantial evidence that Arbery had committed a crime at the time of his death.

The defense attorneys argue that the federal hate crime convictions should be overturned, questioning the relevance of their clients’ past racist comments to the incident. They assert that these remarks did not prove an intent to harm Arbery based on his race. Greg McMichael’s lawyer suggested that they acted under the misconception that Arbery was a criminal, influenced by security footage rather than racial bias.

On the other hand, prosecutors have maintained that the defendants were motivated by racial prejudice, as evidenced by their history of racist communications and behavior. The legal team emphasized the defendants’ established disdain toward Black individuals, asserting that it played a crucial role in the events leading to Arbery’s death.

In addition to challenging the hate crime convictions, the defense is contesting the federal charges of attempted kidnapping. They argue that the use of pickup trucks to corner Arbery does not constitute an attempted kidnapping under federal law. This technical legal argument hinges on whether the trucks were used as an “instrumentality of interstate commerce.”

In the event the defendants’ appeal in federal court is granted, they would remain imprisoned for their convictions under Georgia state law. They have also sought a new trial in that part of the case in the state appellate court system.

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