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Defense attorney Laura Hogue speaks at the Glynn County courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, on November 19.
Defense attorney Laura Hogue speaks at the Glynn County courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, on November 19. (Octavio Jones/Pool/AP)

Laura Hogue, an attorney for defendant Gregory McMichael, on Monday claimed in court that Ahmaud Arbery was a “recurring intruder” who repeatedly trespassed when entering an open construction site in the Satilla Shores neighborhood outside Brunswick, Georgia, where Arbery was shot and killed.

“Turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim after the choices that he made does not reflect the reality of what brought Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores in his khaki shorts with no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails,” Hogue said.

The autopsy report of Arbery noted the condition of his toenails. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, left the courtroom after Hogue’s remark, saying “I gotta get out of here.”

She told reporters on the steps of the courthouse after proceedings, “Regardless of what kind of toenails he had, what size legs he had, that was still my son, and my son actually was running for his life in that description. I thought that was just flat out just rude.”

Race has been a key focus during the trial, with Arbery being Black and the three defendants as well as 11 of the 12 jurors being White. Ben Crump, an attorney for Arbery’s father, suggested race played a role in Arbery’s death.

“They had dozens of other people who visited the home, nobody chased them, nobody said that they burglarized the home, why is that?” said Crump after court Monday, discussing the home under construction which the defendants believed Arbery had entered and robbed.

Cooper-Jones later told CNN’s John Berman that the defense is just trying to deflect from the fact that they “don’t have the proper evidence” to get a conviction.

“So they’re actually going to any measure to get it, to get a conviction, which is not there for them,” she said.


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