LAWYERS are fighting to exclude jail recordings of phone calls from the three Georgia men who are suspected of killing Ahmaud Arbery after one of them said "no good deed goes unpunished."
Former cop Gregory McMichael was heard telling his brother in one of the phone calls cited in court that "no good deed goes unpunished," referencing his arrest over Arbery's death in 2020.
Although the context of the conversation was not clear, McMichael's lawyer told the judge during a pre-trial hearing on Thursday that using such calls would mislead the jury.
"It’s not what Mr. McMichael meant," McMichael's lawyer Franklin Hogue argued as one of multiple requests under consideration at the hearing.
"He meant patrolling his neighborhood and trying to capture someone suspected of crimes in the neighborhood as the good deed, and being punished for it was him being charged with murder."
McMichael, 61, and his son Travis, 35, are accused of killing Arbery on February 23, 2020 along with their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, 61.
The trio were trying to carry out a citizen's arrest when they chased and ambushed Arbery while he was jogging on a residential road in Georgia
Travis argued he shot the 25-year-old in self-defense during a struggle with Arbery.
The three men are set to face a trial in the fall.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley didn't immediately rule on Hogue's arguments, who asked to exclude all three suspects' 1,500 recorded jail calls or other motions.
Prosecutors said that inmates are told their phone conversations are recorded before each call and should not expect privacy.
"The Defendants are trying to elevate jail calls, an optional courtesy and convenience offered to incarcerated defendants, into something protected by the Constitution, such as their person, houses, papers, and effects,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
Walmsley will also decide whether to allow Arbery’s criminal record and mental health issues at the trial.
Arbery was on probation at the time of his death.
He pleaded guilty to carrying a firearm onto a high school campus in 2013 and for stealing a TV from a Walmart in 2017.
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