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THE VIEW IN REVIEW

Whoopi Blasts Defense Attorney in Ahmaud Arbery Trial: Racists Have Always Said 'We're Dirty'

Attorney Laura Hogue made a remark about Arbery's "long dirty toenails" in her closing argument, prompting gasps from the courtroom.
  • Whoopi Goldberg had choice words for Laura Hogue, a defense attorney for Gregory McMichael, after her closing argument in the Ahmaud Arbery trial. (Photo: ABC)
    Whoopi Goldberg had choice words for Laura Hogue, a defense attorney for Gregory McMichael, after her closing argument in the Ahmaud Arbery trial. (Photo: ABC)

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    Whoopi Goldberg did not hold back in her condemnation of Laura Hogue, a defense attorney for Gregory McMichael, one of three men charged with felony murder for the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Hogue drew gasps from the courtroom yesterday when she made a remark about Arbery's "long dirty toenails" in her closing argument, and on Tuesday, she found herself on the receiving end of an impassioned Whoopi monologue. While Whoopi didn't go so far as to label Hogue a racist, she implied as much, saying, "That's what they used to do when I was a kid, when they were trying to disparage Black people. They would always talk about how we were dirty."

    "I do want to point out that wherever you go in the world, there are men in the streets in shoes without socks. All the time. All the time," continued Whoopi. "That is not a reason to allow for someone shooting someone else!"

    "I would hate to think what my image of you is based on what you said. Because I could make all kinds of assumptions about you, but I won't, because that's not how we do it."

    Whoopi's passionate moment led to a discussion about what Hogue could have possibly been thinking by including this in her closing argument. "Is she trying to make the case that because he has dirty toenails, and long toenails apparently, too, that he's not really a runner?" asked Joy Behar. "So she can raise reasonable doubt that he was not a recreational runner?"

    "That was the only conclusion that I could come to. Because, again, the argument is that he was out jogging, and that he was shot. And he had running shoes on, so wasn't running barefoot," replied Sunny Hostin, the only prosecutor on the panel. "So these three men, who trapped him and shot him, there's no way they knew what his feet looked like, what his toenails looked like."

    Sara Haines then chimed in that she believes Hogue was "trying to dehumanize" Arbery in the eyes of the jury. "That prosecutor was trying to plant imagery of him being less-than, and that's all she has," said Haines, earning a round of nods from the panel.

    "When you're a trial attorney and you're making these closing arguments, what you're doing is trying to put the jury there at the scene," said Hostin. "And so when she described it that way, I was trying to get into her head. Why are you giving this jury that vision? And you're dehumanizing — I think you're right, Sara."

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    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: Whoopi Goldberg, ABC, The View, Ahmaud Arbery, Sara Haines