Linda Dunikoski, Cobb County senior assistant district attorney, told CNN’s Jim Acosta that after jurors were selected, her team “realized that we had very, very smart, very intelligent, honest jurors who were going to do their job which is to seek the truth.”
“We felt that putting up our case, it doesn’t matter whether they were Black or White, that putting up our case that this jury would hear the truth, they would see the evidence and that they would do the right thing and come back with the correct verdict which we felt they did today,” Dunikoski said.
“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.
Larissa Ollivierre, Cobb County assistant district attorney, told CNN Wednesday she felt bad for Arbery’s parents after Hogue’s statements.
“I think the comments were unnecessary and they were low, and I just feel bad that Ahmaud’s mom and dad had to sit there and listen to all of those things,” Ollivierre said.
“We don’t want any more Black pastors coming in here … sitting with the victim’s family trying to influence a jury in this case,” he said.
Dunikoski said Gough’s comments about Black pastors — though made without the jury present — were strategic.
“Mr. Gough is a very, very good attorney, and he purposefully and intentionally and strategically, I believe, did what he did in an effort to attempt to insert potentially some error into the case in case he lost the case and it went up on appeal,” she said.
Even though race played a huge role in and outside of the courtroom, Dunikoski said she hoped what people took away from this trial was that parents in a similar situation would trust the process and advocate for their child.
“Wanda Cooper-Jones and Marcus Arbery (Arbery’s mother and father) were advocates for Ahmaud, and they really pushed this one when it first happened,” she said. “And I think the message is that you have to let the criminal justice system work and, in this case, yes, it did work, and to trust, which they did, they trusted us, and they trusted this team to bring justice for them and their family, but to trust the system of the constitution and due process just to let it work.”
CNN’s Christina Maxouris, Travis Caldwell, Eliott C. McLaughlin, Devon M. Sayers, Alta Spells, Steve Almasy, Nicole Chavez and Brandon Tensley contributed to this report.