Defense attorneys want all news media barred from the courtroom during questioning of potential jurors in the trial of the men accused of murder in the racially charged shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, according to motions filed in Glynn County Superior Court this week.

The motions were filed Wednesday by attorneys representing Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael.

Travis McMichael shot and killed the unarmed Arbery on a street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020. Arbery was Black. The McMichaels and co-defendant William “Roddie” Bryan, are White.

Jury selection will begin Oct. 18.

Defense attorneys, noting the impassioned emotions surrounding the highly publicized case, do not want news media present during the portion of jury selection in which individuals will be questioned about personal beliefs, knowledge of the case or possible connections with those involved.

“The extraordinary amount of public attention, comment, and speculation in this case presents significant challenges to seating a fair and impartial jury,” the motions states.

Georgia law opens jury trials and jury selection to news media and the public. However, judges can prohibit access under certain circumstances.

“It’s an extraordinary case during an extraordinary time,” said Decatur-based attorney Robert Rubin, who is representing Travis McMichael. “The extensive local and national publicity the case will garner during jury selection will make it difficult to talk openly with jurors about sensitive issues. The goal of our motion is to create a safe environment where prospective jurors can speak without fear of retribution.”

The motion includes a detailed questionnaire the defense seeks to present to potential jurors, which questions everything from a person’s knowledge of the case, social media habits and thoughts on race relations.

Eastern Circuit Judge Timothy Walmsley will hold a hearing at 10 a.m Thursday in Glynn County Superior Court to consider jury selection issues, trial scheduling and pretrial motions.

The McMichaels armed themselves and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck as he ran through the neighborhood, a chase that ended with Travis McMichael shooting Arbery at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun as the two struggled for possession of the gun.

Bryan joined the chase in his own pickup truck, videoing the deadly conclusion with his cellphone.

The McMichaels said they suspected Arbery of burglarizing a home in the neighborhood.

Defense attorneys indicated during preliminary hearings in May that they will contend the McMichaels used self defense in the process of making a citizen’s arrest.

The Cobb County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case.

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