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Courtroom Gasp After Defense Attorney Suggests Ahmaud Arbery Deserved To Die Because He Didn’t Cover His ‘Long, Dirty Toenails’

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Laura Hogue

On Monday, attorney Laura Hogue, who is representing accused killer Gregory McMichael in the murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery, brought an audible gasp from people in the courtroom —and elicited outrage from his family and legal experts after implying that Arbery is to blame for his own murder because he went into a neighborhood without socks to cover his “long, dirty toenails.”

During closing arguments, the defense attorneys for Gregory and Travis McMichael, who are charged with Arbery’s murder, repeatedly have tried to present Arbery as a criminal. On Monday, however, Hogue went further.

“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 told jurors, leaving them tunned.

After Hogue’s remark, Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-Jones got up and left the courtroom, saying “I gotta get out of here,” according to CNN.

Legal experts also expressed outrage at Hogues’ comment.

Charles Coleman Jr., a civil rights attorney and former prosecutor told CNN that Hogue took the opportunity to portray Arbery as a “runaway slave,” adding that “her word choice was intentional, her descriptions were unnecessary. And the description ultimately is inflammatory.”

civil rights attorney L. Chris Stewart said her comment was “disrespectful and horrific,” and Hogue “should be ashamed of herself, to bring up his feet in the middle of trial.”

Former prosecutor Mark Eiglarsh said Hogue had the pulse of the jury.

“I did find the defense lawyer’s comments, personally, extremely offensive,” Former prosecutor Mark Eiglarsh opined.

The defendants, who also include William “Roddie” Bryan face charges including malice and felony murder in the killing of Arbery after chasing him in a neighborhood near Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23, 2020. They have pleaded not guilty.

See the video of her remarks below: