Ahmaud Arbery Criminal Record, Mental Health History Accidentally Shared With Juror Pool

The website of Georgia's Glynn County Superior Court accidentally made suppressed evidence and documents accessible to potential jurors in the trial of Travis and Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan, the men accused in the February 2020 killing of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery.

If jury candidates see the suppressed evidence, they may become ineligible to serve on the jury.

The documents include details of Arbery's mental health and past criminal history, both of which a judge had ruled as inadmissible in court, Vice News reported. The documents also include evidence whose admissibility is still under consideration by the court. Such evidence includes how often the McMichaels used their firearms and the Confederate flag vanity plate on Travis' truck.

"We are aware of that [website] issue, and the decision about that will be made by the judge," Glynn County Superior Court Clerk Ronald Adams told the aforementioned publication.

Ahmaud Arbery juror pool suppressed documents
The juror pool for the murder trial of the defendants in Ahmaud Arbery's death has reportedly been given access to suppressed documents that could make jurors ineligible to serve in the case. In this photo, demonstrators gather at the Glynn County courthouse during a court appearance by Gregory and Travis McMichael, two suspects in the fatal shooting of Arbery, on June 4, 2020, in Brunswick, Georgia. Getty/Sean Rayford

Defense lawyers had wanted to include evidence about Arbery's past police interactions to argue that he had planned on committing a crime on the day of his slaying. A judge ruled that doing so would effectively put Arbery on trial rather than his killers.

Defense attorneys had also wanted to include details of Arbery's mental health in order to suggest that his state of mind may have influenced his behavior on the day he died. A judge ruled that the slain man still deserved medical privacy, even after death.

In order to avoid a potential mistrial due to bias, attorneys may have to ask jurors whether they saw suppressed evidence on the court website, a legal expert told Vice News.

Jury selection for the case began on Monday. Attorneys on both sides have worried that potential jurors may have already been influenced by Bryan's video of Arbery's death or by media coverage of the case.

One of the potential jurors questioned by attorneys on Monday asked if she should fear for her personal safety if selected for the jury. Another juror said that he was sick of hearing about the case in the media.

Roughly 600 potential jurors were summoned to appear on Monday, according to the Glynn County Clerk of Superior and Magistrate Court. Another 400 are scheduled to show up next week if a final jury isn't selected by then.

"This is a case that has garnered significant attention in this community as well as around the country," presiding Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy R. Walmsley said on Monday. "I have no doubt that the 1,000 or so individuals that were summoned when they received that summons, reacted in some way to (news of Arbery's killing)."

Newsweek contacted Glynn County for comment.