Judge deems Travis McMichael's confederate license plate admissible in Ahmaud Arbery murder trial

Travis McMichael.
The license plate on Travis McmIchael’s truck that featured a Confederate emblem can be used in the trial, the judge decided.

  • The murder trial of three men charged with shooting Ahmaud Arbery began this week.
  • The judge ruled that a Confederate license plate on one of the defendant’s trucks could be used in the trial.
  • In opening statements, the defense called the shooting “justified” while the prosecution called the killing an “attack.”

As opening arguments for the murder trial of Ahmaud Arbery began, the court deemed that the license plate of one of the defendants, which depicts a Confederate flag, is fair game in the trial.

The vanity plate depicts an outdated version of the Georgia state flag that prominently features the Confederate flag, the Daily Beast reported. It was on defendant Travis McMichael’s truck on the day of Arbery’s death.

The flag was established by the state government in 1956 as the country was desegregating. It was replaced in 2001 amid political pressures, WXIA reported.

The 1956 version of the Georgia state flag.
The official Georgia state flag from 1956 to 2001 featured the Confederate flag.

McMichael’s legal team previously requested that the court prohibit use of photos of his license plate in the trial, Insider’s Taylor Ardrey reported.

Jason Sheffield, one of McMichael’s attorneys, said the plate was seen as a “symbol of racism” during jury selection, the Daily Beast reported. Sheffield did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Lead prosecutor Senior District Attorney Linda Dunikoski argued that McMichael “intentionally and purposefully” chose to display the vanity plate on his truck “for all the world to see,” according to court documents seen by Insider.

Dunikoski added that the plate is “intrinsic evidence” and requested the court to deny the defense’s motion.

“He put this on his truck. He wanted the world to see it,” Dunikoski said, according to ABC News.

Shortly before opening statements began on November 5, Judge Timothy Walmsley denied the motion from the defense.

Travis McMichael is charged alongside his father, Gregory McMichael, 65, and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52 for the February 23, 2020, shooting of Arbery, who was 25 years old. They face felony charges of murder, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment and have all pleaded not guilty.

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