'The writing is on the wall': Legal expert explains why Arbery defendant is reportedly seeking a plea deal
Defense attorney Kevin Gough addresses the court during the trial for Ahmaud Arberys shooting death at the Glynn County Courthouse on Nov. 8, 2021 in Brunswick, Georgia. - Sean Rayford/Getty Images North America/TNS

Reacting to a CBS report that the attorney for William "Roddie" Bryan, the man accused helping box in Ahmaud Arbery and then filmed the encounter as Gregory and Travis McMichael pursued and fatally shot him, asked for a plea deal and was turned down, a former prosecutor and defense attorney both stated on CNN that the defense knows it is playing a losing hand and is seeking an out.

With Bryan attorney Kevin Gough telling reporters on Friday morning that the report is "bullsh*t" and then repeating "deny, deny" repeatedly, CNN's Elie Honig and defense attorney Bernarda Villalona said, if true, it basically an admission of defeat.

Speaking with host Kate Bolduan, Honig confirmed, "So this does happen sometimes -- very rarely. It happened to me a handful of times while a jury was out deliberating: a defense lawyer said 'would you be interested in a plea?' My answer was always a no. As a general rule as a prosecutor, you don't take a plea while the jury is out if you have any confidence in your case."

"The natural inference we draw is there's some concern about this defendant about the strength of the government's case against them," he continued. "Also important, this lawyer represents William Bryan. Of the three defendants in the case, the evidence is the weakest against e William Bryan. He was the guy in the follow-car, the neighbor. So it's interesting that he of the three defendants, if true, was interested in pleading."

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"I actually was, I mean, with my, you know, no legal basis to have this thought, was surprised that this request came from William Bryan," host Bolduan admitted. "What do you think it says about what they think of their case?"

"Absolutely. I'm not surprised that this request came from William Bryan," attorney Villalona contributed. " I am surprised at the timing of the request. I would think he would have made it prior to the trial actually starting, but the writing is on the wall for him. He saw all the evidence that has been presented and it's shown that his client is guilty, so he has a high likelihood of being convicted."

"Now he wants to limit his exposure," she continued. "I'm not surprised at the ask. The question will be what was the exact ask? What number was he looking at."

Watch below:

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