“And you took that as a green light.” Ahmaud Arbery case and Kevin Gough

Blog 11/12/21

At the end of the trial day yesterday, defense counsel Kevin Gough expressed his usual consternation on finding out that Al Sharpton had been sitting in the courtroom in the Ahmaud Arbery trial.

Gough, in typical fashion he has displayed throughout the trial, popped off and tried to make an enormous issue out of nothing.  Gough maintained that the judge should bar Sharpton and other high profile black preachers from the courtroom.  Gough specifically said that the presence of Sharpton was “intimidating.”

“We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here,” Gough spouted, making a fool out of himself yet again.  Various web sites posted photographs of his co-counsel putting her head in her hands as he spoke.

Gough, not having said enough had to use the phrase “these people” referring to exactly whom we don’t know.

Gough talked about Rev. Jesse Jackson as well and then finished up by saying that “If a bunch of folks came in here dressed like Col. Sanders with white masks sitting in the back…” people would protest. I am not at all sure what Col. Sanders has to do with anything, but that’s Kevin Gough.

It breaks my heart to know that Gough was the Glynn county Public Defender for years.  He is such a disastrously bad lawyer I cannot imagine how many poor people are in prison because of his incompetence.  Every person who went to prison after being defended by this man should have a new trial.  It is just one more instance of total incompetence and corruption by the Glynn County government.

Gough, after other defense attorneys went to the mics to denounce his statement, apologized today just in case he had inadvertently insulted anybody.

And on he went as he has been going for decades.

After a particularly long and inane cross examination of the GBI investigator who took over the Arbery case today, it occurred to me that one of Gough’s strategies was to be so confusing that the witness appears confused.  He then hopes that the witness will look more confused to the jury than he does.  In this particular case, he is hoping that the young black female prosecutor will object to his confusion and therefore look like a bitch.

I just cannot imagine that this man has gotten away with this incompetence for decades.  But, as one of the commentators after today’s performance pointed out, it could be that Gough is a person the jury identifies with. The commentator was pointing out that the GBI agent came off as smooth and professional.  The commentator posited that the jury might well identify with the shambling, stumbling Gough rather than the outsider, the smooth, polished, intelligent GBI agent.  I don’t know. I find it hard to believe that anybody could watch Kevin Gough, who has questioned whether Joe Biden is president in court, and think he is anything but a disaster.

Gough is like a bad actor who loves to act and has no idea that he is bad, really bad.  I have seen hundreds of them.  Now that I think about it, the entire “Gong Show” was based on such people.

Gough depends on making a lot of noise, but rarely has any legitimate legal point, and also seems completely disorganized.  Today, he seemed unable to fix on any one theory of his case.  He just kept throwing out option after option – Bryan was an idiot, Bryan had learning disabilities, Bryan was trapped by the GBI agent into saying things he didn’t mean, Bryan couldn’t remember what happened on the day of the killing and the GBI agent had taken advantage of him in some way, Bryan was only a witness, the GBI didn’t immediately arrest Bryan, throw it against the wall….

It did occur to me, however, that Gough had rather cleverly set up one of his defenses in advance.  When Bryan went to the GBI to be questioned, Gough asked the GBI agent to come out of the room so he (Gough) could explain what a hard time Bryan had following and explaining what happened in narrative form.  Gough essentially told the GBI agent that he had to talk down to Bryan, explain everything to him directly.

So, the GBI goes back in the interrogation room and explains things to Bryan as if he were a child, directly and simply.  And then Gough gets up in court and accuses the GBI agent of putting words in Bryan’s mouth by directly explaining things to him.  Gough set that one up, deliberately, methodically, and ahead of time.

But, I think Gough had not counted on the steely nature of this GBI agent.  Gough started down a path of condemning the GBI agent for setting up a reenactment where the GBI agent drove the truck and asked Bryan to tell him what happened.  Gough had made a point of telling the agent that Bryan was basically slow and he had to break down things to him and that Bryan had difficulty explaining things in a narrative fashion.  Then, when the GBI agent set up the reenactment with himself driving, and Bryan telling him what to do, Gough attacks the agent for not having Bryan drive the truck.

Gough berated the agent saying, you just had to have this reenactment  didn’t you, implying that the agent had forced the poor ignorant Bryan into doing this reenactment.  The agent calmly fired back, you were the one who demanded the reenactment because you said Bryan couldn’t talk through this in a narrative form.  Gough, didn’t skip a beat.  And you took that as a “green light” he fired back.  That’s my favorite quote of the day, perhaps of the week.

“You did this.”

“You told me to do it.”

“And you took that as a green light.”

Contentious Morning in Ahmaud Arbery Case. Use of Force Expert

A number of motions were taken up this morning in the Ahmaud Arbery case. 

The first was over whether the Defense could call a “use of force” expert to testify about the training supposedly received by Travis and Gregory McMichael.

The state pointed out that none of the people involved in the shotting were law enforcement officers.  While Trais and Gregory McMichael might have received use of force training years ago, they were not acting as law enforcement officers on the day of the shooting.

The State also pointed out that the expert the Defense was proposing to call as a witness had already talked with Travis McMichael.  The State wanted to have the answers Travis gave in this conversation.

The State argued that the testimony of this witness was “irrelevant, confusing and prejudicial.”  The very testimony of this witness gives the actions of the defendants a veneer of law enforcement legitimacy.

The State also noted that a “use of force” expert would testify to training about the “determination of probable cause.”  This is not the role of an expert witness, but the role of the court in a jury charge.

Kevin Gough, attorney for William Bryan, argued that the fact that the state was charging “malice murder” meant that somehow this “use of force” witness would be required to talk about the McMichael’s mental state.  (Note: I don’t understand this argument).

Gough argued that if the State agreed not to challenge the “credibility” of Travis McMichael then there would be no need for the “use of force” expert. 

Gough is the attorney for William Bryan, not for Travis McMichaels.  I am not sure why he is arguing about Travis McMichaels in the first place.  Gough, however, is frequently arguing strange things.  You can almost feel the entire courtroom tense up every time he stands up to speak.  Even the other defense attorneys seem embarrassed by him.

The State informed the court that she had no CV on the proposed expert.  One of Travis McMichael’s attorneys stood up and interrupted her to say that it wasn’t the job of the Defense to provide the State with a CV.

It was an argumentative and sometimes contentious morning.  Gough told the Court that it should be “offended” by the State’s arguments.  Another of the defense attorneys told the Judge that he could either read or listen to arguments (those of the defense attorney) but not do both.

Ahmaud Arbery: Jury Selection

Defense Attorney, Kevin Gough

Blog Ahmaud Arbery 11/1/21

There are several blog posts that need to be written about Kevin Gough, the defense attorney for William Bryan.  Bryan is the man who joined in the chase of Ahmaud Arbery, tried to pin Arbery in with his (Bryan’s) truck, and actually at one point hit Arbery with the truck.  Bryan is also the man who videoed the incident and then through an attorney released the video because he thought it would help his case.

Gough has complained in open court for two weeks about the “protestors” outside the Courthouse in Glynn County, Georgia.  I have been to the courthouse several times in the past two weeks.  The most people I have seen at the courthouse were there for a march the weekend before jury selection.

On that occasion, 16 October, there were approximately 80 people gathered outside the courthouse.  Probably a third of them were media or County personnel.  There have been no loud, unruly demonstrations outside the courthouse.  For the most part, people are sitting in lawn chairs, talking and eating.

But, Gough, last week, seemed to believe that the jury pool was going to be tainted because those people were outside the court, and because an organization put up a banner with John Lewis’ picture on it, asking people to vote. 

When he put this matter before the judge, Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy R. Walmsley, Gough was told that if he wanted to curtail the First Amendment Rights of the people in front of the courthouse, to make a formal motion. 

Gough has also read before the court, statements made by the Arbery family and by the Arbery family attorney.  He is maintaining that these statements could have an effect on the jury. 

Then, Gough complained in court that there weren’t enough “good ole’ boys” or “six pack Joes” in the jury pool, people like his client, William Bryan.  Then, in an interview given to Court TV later, Gough explained the difficulty in defining exactly what the demographics of these “good old boys” or “six-pace Joes” were.  He then concluded the interview by saying that if you couldn’t define exactly who these jurors were, it wasn’t much use.  What?

I sincerely don’t know what Gough is trying to do with these antics.  The other two sets of defense attorneys seem to be trying to win the case using more conventional tactics.  I cannot see how these tactics will benefit Bryan, but I’m open to having it explained to me.