Two of the three men who were found guilty on Feb. 22 of federal hate crimes in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery want their convictions overturned.
CNN reports that father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael filed court documents Tuesday (March 8) claiming that federal prosecutors failed to prove their case, including an argument that Arbery’s death didn’t happen on a public street in their Brunswick, Ga., neighborhood.
There’s no record of their co-defendant, neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, filing an appeal within the 14-day deadline after their federal conviction, according to CNN.
In a separate state trial, a jury convicted the three men of murder and sentenced them in January to life in prison. Both McMichaels and Bryan, who are white, chased Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, who was jogging in their neighborhood and cornered him with their pickup trucks on Feb. 23, 2020. The pursuit ended with Travis McMichael fatally shooting an unarmed Arbery.
The federal hate crimes trial centered on their use of hateful racist language toward Black people that the prosecutors showed through testimony, as well as text messages and social media posts, according to the Associated Press.
In his appeal document, Travis McMichael’s attorney argued that the government failed to show that Arbery was jogging on a public street, pointing to federal civil rights laws that prohibit the willful harm or intimidation of people in public spaces based on their race.
The document claims that the "developer offered to dedicate the Satilla Shores neighborhood streets to the county, but the county did not expressly or implicitly accept that offer," according to CNN.
In a separate motion, Gregory McMichael’s lawyer made the same public street argument plus as a claim that the prosecutor failed to prove that he targeted Arbery over his race. The document says no evidence at trial showed that the senior McMichael used the N-word “or other racial epithets against African Americans” or that he “associated African Americans with criminality.”