Watch Lawyer of Witness Who Taped Ahmaud Arbery’s Killing Repeatedly Shut Down Client in Surreal Interview: ‘He’s a Pawn’
Chris Cuomo scored a key interview with William “Roddie” Bryan, the witness who taped the viral video of unarmed jogger Ahmaud Arbery’s killing, but it soon turned into a surreal experience as Bryan’s lawyer barely let him talk at all.
During Cuomo’s CNN show, Bryan and his new attorney, Kevin Gough, appeared on split screen, straddling Cuomo, even though both men were standing next to each other in real life. This led to several absurd moments where Cuomo asked a question of Bryan, only to have Gough turn his head slightly and advise his client not to answer. In all, the interview ran for nearly 20 minutes, but during that time, Bryan barely spoke for 30 seconds.
The whole interview got off to a bizarre start as Cuomo first question, which sought to confirm that Bryan’s nickname appears in the original police report.
“Ok, hold on, Chris. You’ve been a prosecutor and you can imagine this prosecutor that’s been in this case 24 hours, going to start throwing stuff around her living room if you start doing her job for her. Okay?” Gough said as Cuomo’s eyebrows practically furrowed their way into his viewers’ living rooms. “Because as good as you are, she’d probably rather do it herself. You know what we can talk about without causing problems for anybody. And I know you’re trying. But this man cannot be answering substantive questions about the case.”
Cuomo, then tried asking another pertinent question. “So, Mr. Bryan, how did you come to be in the car videotaping that day?”
At this, Bryan sat quietly, pursing his lips and looking down as Gough, off-screen, through his client’s microphone could be heard saying: “OK, we’re not going there.”
“You don’t want to talk about that either,” Cuomo said. “Alright. Let’s do this. You are afraid of the facts of this case, counselor, why?”
“With all due respect. I’m not afraid of you, I respect you,” Gough said, before not-so-subtly insulting the intelligence of his client and the public school system of Glynn County, Georgia. “You’re a brilliant, a very good prosecutor. And my client is a mechanic with a high school education and if you’ve ever been to the high schools around here, that’s not necessarily saying much. Okay? And I don’t mind if the board of education doesn’t like it. You know, I’m not their friend.”
After more back and forth, Gough essentially dictated the question he would allow Bryan to answer. But even after Cuomo all but parroted that same phrasing back to Bryan, the lawyer still broke in.
“Mr. Bryan, what do you want the audience to know about your role, your feelings, and your sense of responsibility for this situation?” Cuomo asked.
“Is that a multiple question, Chris?”
“Mr. Goff, let him answer it,” a polite but clearly frustrated Cuomo shot back. “I’m sure he’ll do a good job. You can always answer — you can amend after. Mr. Bryan?
“I would just like to say, first of all, I am very sorry to the family. I pray for them every night as well as my own family.”
After that brief statement, Cuomo asked Gough if he considered his client to be “part of the altercation,” to which Gough strenuously denied: “No, sir. No, sir. Not at all.”
“My client has done nothing wrong here. He’s committed no crime, and this is a horrible tragedy,” Gough said. “This young man has lost his life and you’ve seen the video. On a scale of one to ten, that’s just — it’s horrifying to watch. It’s painful to watch. Even for a former prosecutor like yourself. I’m sure you’ve seen lots of grisly incidents. So this is a terrible matter, and some people are going to have to answer for what they did. But my client is not responsible for that. My client was unarmed. My client hasn’t shot anybody. My client hasn’t been in so much as a fistfight since she was in high school. You can take a look at him. He’s 5’6″, 5’7″. This is not a gentleman who’s out there looking for a fight.”
So Bryan had no relationship at all with Gregory and Travis McMichael, the two men accused of murdering Arbery, Cuomo asked in a follow-up.
“Theres no relationship whatsoever between Roddie and the McMichaels,” Gough emphasized. “He’s at his house minding his own business, and I’m trying not to complicate anybody else’s job. He’s at his house minding his own business and things happen and in a matter of minutes, his life has been changed forever and this family, the Arberys, their lives have been changed forever, you know, and it’s sometimes difficult in these situations to see the bigger picture.”
Mother’s Day was not pleasant for Roddie here and it wasn’t pleasant for me. Wasn’t the Mother’s Day I was hoping for. But at the same time, Roddie is going have other Mother’s Days. That is if nobody takes a potshot at him,” Gough said, implying that his client was at risk of violent retribution for taping the killing. The Arberys will never be able to spend another mother’s day with their son. So, you know, for them, this is — it’s hard to imagine anything worse that could have happened.
“Why do you think somebody might take a potshot at your client?” Cuomo pressed.
“Because certain people out there for reasons that are not clear are deliberately putting all kinds of misinformation out there,” Gough then added cryptically. “I can’t speak for the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation], but I’m sure that that however well intentioned, that is hindering and hampering and impeding their investigation.”
“There’s so much distraction. The people out there that are talking about my client being some kind of vigilante, they’re conjuring up conspiracy theories that don’t exist. Saying that my client was armed. Everyone knows he wasn’t armed. That’s never been an issue from day one. And it, you know, why people would continue to put things out like that, to suggest that somehow he’s in cahoots with whatever’s been going on up on the third floor at the courthouse with the [district attorneys].
“He’s a pawn in a much larger game. And he has no say so in that,” Gough said.
Watch the video above, via CNN.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org