Less than three hours into the first day of the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial in Brunswick, Georgia, the judge said he would not grant a mistrial after a defense attorney complained that a prosecutor inappropriately raised the issue of the time lapse between Arbery’s shooting and the arrest of the defendants in her opening statement.
The discussion happened after the jury had been excused from the room, following lead prosecutor’s Linda Dunikoski opening arguments.
After hearing from both the prosecution and the defense on the matter, Judge Timothy Walmsley said he would not grant a mistrial — although he had previously ruled that any mention of this period should not be made in front of the jury.
Raising a second issue, Laura Hogue, one of Gregory McMichael’s defense asked the court to reconsider an order granting the state’s motion for a three-hour closing argument. According to Hogue, the state spent an hour and 35 minutes presenting opening arguments and the defense didn’t believe there was a reason for the prosecutor to be allowed to speak that long during closing.
Rebutting Hogue’s request, the prosecutor pointed to how much time it took to explain all the evidence she expects to present during the trial. Dunikoski said she would need three hours for a closing argument.
The judge denied Hogue’s requests and said his ruling would stand before calling the jury back in and announcing a one-hour recess for lunch. Travis McMichael’s defense attorneys will begin presenting their opening statements after the break.