Ahmaud Arbery Trial: Celebrities React To Guilty Verdict – Newsweek

ahmaud-arbery-trial:-celebrities-react-to-guilty-verdict-–-newsweek

Live Updates

  • The jury found all three defendants guilty of felony murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was chased down and fatally shot by three white men while jogging in Georgia
  • Travis McMichael was found guilty on all nine charges, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony.
  • Greg McMichaels was found guilty of eight of nine charges including felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony.
  • William “Roddie” Bryan Jr was found guilty of six of nine charges, including felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal intent to commit a felony.
  • The three men still face federal hate crime charges

Ahmaud Arbery trial verdict: Celebrities react to guilty verdict

A number of celebrities and notable names have weighed in on the guilty verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery trial, mostly expressing their happiness.

Comedian Kathy Griffin, an outspoken liberal activist, tweeted that the decision of the jury was “gratifying,” and added that justice had been served.

It’s so gratifying to see justice being served.

— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) November 24, 2021

CNN host and noted activist, W. Kamau Bell, also expressed his pleasure at the verdict. “These men were only arrested after people shared the video of them murdering Ahmaud Arbery, AND THEN more people demanded that justice be served,” he said. “Once again, ACTIVISM WORKS!”

Former CBS nightly anchor Dan Rather called the verdict “a modicum of justice after a horrific act of violence.”

Additional public figures who voiced support for the verdict included, among others, actresses Viola Davis and Kerry Washington.

Black Lives Matter responds to guilty verdict

The official Black Lives Matter Twitter page has responded to the guilty verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery case, expressing thanks to activists across the country.

“We uplift the Spirit of #AhmaudArbery and send love to his family,” the movement tweeted. “Deep appreciation to all who organized, protested, ran, posted, and prayed.”

“Every effort ushered in as much justice as could be had. May this victory inspire the continued struggle for Black freedom,” the tweet continued.

GUILTY!

We uplift the Spirit of #AhmaudArbery and send love to his family.

Deep appreciation to all who organized, protested, ran, posted, and prayed. Every effort ushered in as much justice as could be had.

May this victory inspire the continued struggle for Black freedom.

— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) November 24, 2021

A separate message later tweeted that the guilty verdict was a minimum standard, but that it represented the worth of Black lives.

“Ahmaud should be alive. We continue to mourn with his family and rejoice with them for this semblance of justice,” Black Lives Matter continued.

The courts can only uphold but a minimum standard, if that, of what it truly means to honor the sacred worth of all Black lives. Ahmaud should be alive. We continue to mourn with his family and rejoice with them for this semblance of justice.#AhmaudArbery #BlackLivesMatter

— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) November 24, 2021

Most Americans expected, hoped for guilty outcome: Poll

A new Economist/YouGov poll revealed that a majority of Americans both expected and hoped for the defendants in the Ahmaud Arbery trial to be found guilty.

Of those polled, 56 percent believed that the three men should be found guilty of murder, while only six percent disagreed with that notion.

Among people who were familiar with the trial, even more people, 87 percent, felt that the men were guilty as charged.

The poll began to split among political lines, with 81 percent of Democrats but only 34 percent of Republicans polled agreeing that the defendants were guilty. Independents were more down the middle at 53 percent.

Harris reacts to Arbery verdict

Vice President Kamala Harris released a statement praising the guilty verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery trial, echoing sentiments from President Joe Biden.

“These verdicts send an important message, but the fact remains that we still have work to do,” Harris said.

The vice president also criticized the strategy of the defense to use the racial undertones of the trial to their advantage.

“The defense counsel chose to set a tone that cast the attendance of ministers at the trial as intimidation and dehumanized a young Black man with racist tropes,” she said. “The jury arrived at its verdicts despite these tactics.”

Despite the verdict, Harris added that “we feel the weight of grief. Ahmaud Arbery should be alive, and nothing can take away the pain that … the entire Arbery family and community feel today.”

Arbery’s mom: ‘First Thanksgiving with justice for Ahmaud’

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, stated that she feels sadness, but is thankful that the guilty verdict in her son’s trial was handed down the day before Thanksgiving.

“This is the second Thanksgiving that we’ll be without Ahmaud,” Cooper-Jones told CNN’s Jim Acosta. “But, at the same time, this is the first Thanksgiving that we’ll have justice for Ahmaud.”

“So I’m taking tomorrow as a very thankful day, and I give all praise to God,” she continued.

Cooper-Jones previously thanked the prosecutors, protestors, and activists that had helped bring her son’s murderers to justice.

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother to @Acosta:

“This is the second Thanksgiving that we’ll be without Ahmaud. But, at the same time, this is the first Thanksgiving that we’ll have justice for Ahmaud.” pic.twitter.com/vtV1Nwc84P

— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) November 24, 2021

Biden reacts to Arbery verdict

President Joe Biden said Ahmaud Arbery’s murder is “a devastating reminder of how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice in this country.”

He said Arbery “should be here today,” celebrating the holidays with his family.

“Nothing can bring Mr. Arbery back to his family and to his community, but the verdict ensures that those who committed this horrible crime will be punished,” he said.

Biden added that while the guilty verdicts “reflect our justice system doing its job, that alone is not enough.”

He called on the country to recommit to “building a future of unity and shared strength, where no one fears violence because of the color of their skin.”

Defense attorneys plan to appeal

The defense attorneys representing Travis McMichaels said they plan to appeal today’s verdict.

The jury found McMichaels guilty on all nine accounts, including malice murder. Attorney Robert Rubin described McMichael as “stoic” when the guilty verdicts were read. He faces life in prison.

Rubin added that they believed the video of the shooting showed their client acted in self-defense but admits they may have “had tunnel vision.”

Attorney Jason Sheffield said he was “disappointed in the verdict and that his client “honestly believed what they were doing was the right thing to do.”

They added that they honor the jury trial system and understand the family of Ahmaud Arbery “feel they’ve gotten justice.”

Greg McMichael’s attorney, Laura Hogue, said she was “floored with a capital ‘F'” when the guilty verdicts were read in court, according to pool reports.

She and Kevin Gough, the attorney for William Bryan, also plan to file for appeals next week.

FULL STORY: Defense Attorneys in Arbery Trial Announce Plans to Appeal

Ahmaud Arbery’s parents react to guilty verdicts

Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said that back in 2020, she “never thought this day would come, but God is good.”

Outside of the courthouse, she thanked the prosecutors, activists and supports for their work and support during this trial, adding that her son can now “rest in peace.”

Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery, shared his gratitude and called on the crowd to keep fighting “to make this place better for all human beings.”

“Love everybody,” he said. “All human beings need to be treated equally.”

He added that “today is a good day.”

Ahmaud Arbery Parents
Ahmaud Arbery’s father Marcus Arbery, center right, and Rev. Al Sharpton hold hands after the jury convicted Travis McMichael in the Glynn County Courthouse, on November 24, 2021 in Brunswick, Georgia
Stephen B. Morton-Pool/Getty Images

WATCH: The moment the guilty verdicts were read

Watch the moment the judge read out the guilty verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial.

Rev. Al Sharpton says Arbery will ‘go down in history’

Reverend Al Sharpton thanked prosecutors and activists while speaking to reporters outside the courthouse following the guilty verdicts.

He said Arbery will “go down in history” as an example that “if you hold on, justice can come.”

Sharpton noted that the almost entirely white jury made a bold statement that Black lives matter in a state with a deep history of segregation and Jim Crow laws.

“Let the word go forth all over the world that a jury of 11 whites and one Black in the Deep South stood up in a courtroom and said that black lives do matter,” he said.

FULL STORY: Al Sharpton Says Almost All-White Jury in Arbery Case Decided ‘Black Lives Do Matter’

Ahmaud Arbery’s parents react to guilty verdict in court

After the first guilty verdict was read, Marcus Arbery Sr, the father of Ahmaud Arbery, made an outburst in the courtroom, CNN reports.

He was asked by Judge Timothy Walmsley to leave the courtroom

“I ask that whoever just made an outburst be removed from the court, please,” Walmsley said. “If you feel like you need to make a comment regarding the verdict, I ask that you step outside the courtroom now.”

According to pool reports, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, mouthed a silent prayer before the verdict was read and sobbed aloud once the first guilty verdict was read.

Crowd outside courthouse cheers following guilty verdict

The crowd outside the Glynn County Courtroom erupts in cheers after the guilty verdict was read inside.

The crowd chats “justice for Ahmaud” and “say his name.”

William ‘Roddie’ Bryan Jr. found guilty of murder

William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. was found guilty of murder.

The jury found him guilty of three counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. The jury acquitted him of the malice murder charge.

Bryan faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Greg McMichael found guilty of felony murder

Greg McMichael was found guilty on eight of nine charges.

The jury found him guilty of four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony. He was acquitted of malice murder.

McMichael now faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Jury finds Travis McMichael guilty on all accounts

The jury finds Travis McMichael guilty on all nine accounts.

McMichael was found on all charges, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony.

McMichael now faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

There was an outburst of cheer in the courtroom and a person was removed from the court.

Verdict has been reached

According to pool reports, the jury has reached its verdict and will deliver it shortly.

Ahmaud Arbery’s family has returned to the courtroom.

Local business owners brace for verdict

Local businesses in Brunswick, Georgia are bracing for the upcoming Ahmaud Arbery case verdict.

One business owner told Fox News that she is monitoring the situation.

“We’re gonna keep a real close eye on things and if things go the way they can go, we’re just going to lock the doors and go home,” she said.

Another shop owner acknowledges people will be “upset” with a not guilty verdict but she doesn’t believe there will be severe property destruction.

“I do not think, personally, something is going to happen,” she told Fox News.

They both said the attention at the courthouse downtown has impacted business, as people do not want to come to the area while the trial continues.

Ben Crump says defense made Arbery seem like ‘a runway slave’

During a press conference outside the courthouse Wednesday, Arbery family attorney Ben Crump said the defense made Arbery seem like a “runaway slave” when they described him as having “long legs and dirty toenails.”

Crump said this case “harkens back to the Jim Crow era-type killing.”

“You have a young Black man who is minding his business jogging and then ordinary white citizens believe he has done something criminal and instead of calling the police, instead of giving him his due process they go out and they take the law into their own hands,” he said.

FULL STORY: Ben Crump Says Defense Attorney Suggested Arbery Was A ‘Runaway Slave’ in Toenail Comment

Jury takes lunch

The jury is about to eat lunch, according to pool reports from the courthouse.

It is unclear whether they will continue deliberations while they eat or resume after lunch.

Per pool: The courthouse staff says the jury is about to eat lunch. There is no confirmation on whether they will deliberate during lunch or wait to eat then continue.

— Hayley Mason (@HayleyMasonTV) November 24, 2021

Attorney Ben Crump says this is an ‘open-and-close case’

Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing Ahmuad Arbery’s father, said this is an “open-and-close case” based on the video evidence of the shooting.

“We don’t have to imagine in Ahmaud Arbery,” he said during a press conference outside the courthouse. “We see it with our own eyes.”

Crump told America, “don’t look away.”

“Is this the America we want to see?” he added. “Or are we going to tell our children we are better than this?”

He said the continued deliberation has “not shaken” his confidence in the verdict and hopes the jury follows the law and the evidence to “come up with a just verdict.”

Al Sharpton joins Arbery family in court

Reverend Al Sharpton joined the Arbery family and their attorneys at the courtroom as the jury began day two of deliberations.

The defense previously asked to remove prominent Black pastors and civil rights leaders from the courtroom, claiming their presence was “intimidating” and “an attempt to pressure or influence the jury.”

Judge Timothy Walmsley said he would not “blanketly exclude members of the public from this courtroom,” as long as no one disrespected the court’s process or became a distraction.

Jury requests to watch video, hear 911 call

The jury requested to see videos and listen to the 911 call from the day of the Ahmaud Arbery shooting.

The request listed the original video of the incident, the enhanced high contrast version of the video and the 911 call Greg McMichaels made on February 23.

Jurors watched the videos three times and listened to the call once in the courtroom before returning to deliberations.

Verdict could come this afternoon

Reports suggest the verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery case could be announced Wednesday before noon.

The verdict is in in the Ahmaud Arbery case and should be announced before noon.

— Karol Markowicz (@karol) November 24, 2021

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