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Three men plead not guilty to hate crimes in Ahmaud Arbery's death

Three Georgia men have all pleaded not guilty to federal hate crimes in the slaying of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery.

Greg McMichael, 65, his son Travis McMichael, 35, and a neighbor William 'Roddie' Bryan, 51, entered their pleas during their arraignment before a federal judge in Brunswick on Tuesday. 

Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was chased and shot while out jogging in Brunswick back in February 2020.  

Greg and his Travis are accused of arming themselves and pursuing Arbery in a pickup truck after he ran past their home on February 23, 2020. 

Bryan allegedly joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis shooting Arbery three times at close range with a shotgun. 

Travis McMichael, 35, his father Greg McMichael, 65, and a neighbor William 'Roddie' Bryan, 51, (left to right) entered their pleas during their arraignment before a federal judge in Brunswick, Georgia on Tuesday

Greg and Travis McMichael are accused of arming themselves and pursuing Arbery in a pickup truck after he ran past their home on February 23, 2020. Bryan, who is a neighbor, allegedly joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis shooting Arbery three times at close range with a shotgun 

Federal prosecutors last month charged both McMichaels and Bryan, who are all white, with violating Arbery's civil rights, as well as attempted kidnapping for using their trucks and guns to try to detain him. 

The McMichaels are also charged with using firearms in the commission of a crime. 

All three are also facing state murder charges in Arbery's slaying. 

The three men will remain in custody following their federal court appearance. 

They have been jailed without bond since their arrests on the state murder charges a year ago. 

They initially remained free for more than two months after Arbery was killed, but were swiftly charged after Bryan's cellphone video became public and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police.  

The federal indictment says all three men illegally used force to 'injure, intimidate and interfere with' the black man 'because of Arbery's race and color.' 

If convicted of interfering with Arbery's rights, they could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.  

Defense attorneys for the McMichaels and Bryan insist they committed no crimes. 

The three men were charged a month after the killing when Bryan's cellphone video of the incident (above) became public. Greg and Travis McMichael are accused of arming themselves and pursuing Arbery in a pickup truck after he ran past their home on February 23, 2020

Bryan, who is a neighbor, allegedly joined the chase and took cellphone video of Travis shooting (above) Arbery three times at close range with a shotgun 

Lawyers for the McMichaels have said they chased Arbery because they suspected he was a burglar who had been recorded on video inside a nearby home under construction. 

They say Travis McMichael shot Arbery fearing for his life as they grappled over a shotgun.  

Prosecutors say Arbery was merely out jogging and there's no evidence Arbery stole anything from the home. 

The men weren't arrested until 10 weeks after Arbery was shot dead when when a cellphone video of the shooting was leaked online and a national outcry erupted. 

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case the day after the video emerged and swiftly arrested the three men.  

In a pretrial court hearing, prosecutors had presented evidence that racism may have played a role in Arbery's death.

Last June, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation testified that Bryan told investigators Travis had uttered a racist slur right after the shooting as he stood over a bleeding Arbery. 

'Mr Bryan said that after the shooting took place before police arrival, while Mr Arbery was on the ground, that he heard Travis McMichael make the statement, 'f***ing n-word,'' GBI agent Richard Dial testified.

Travis McMichael's attorneys have denied that he made the remark.

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