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George Zimmerman Released on Bail

Aired April 20, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you from New York City.

Trayvon Martin`s parents come face-to-face with the man who killed their son, and much to their disappointment, George Zimmerman is getting out on bail. Huge developments in this case tonight, including Zimmerman`s surprise apology from the witness stand. We are going to compare his words on the stand today to his 911 call. Did George Zimmerman contradict himself? Find out next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, a judge rules George Zimmerman can go free on $150,000 bond. Did your honor get it right?

Plus today`s bail hearing chock full of surprising twists, turns into a mini trial. The top investigator gets grilled, and Trayvon Martin`s shooter takes the stand. What did Zimmerman say to Trayvon`s parents? We`ve got all of the drama from inside court right here tonight.













GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, CHARGED WITH SECOND-DEGREE MURDER: I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My client`s been charged with second-degree murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you agree that you changed your story as it went along?

ZIMMERMAN: Absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What it boils down to is you shot somebody and that the facts before this court is you have a 17-year-old young man who was minding his own business and was walking home when he was confronted by the defendant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people together will never be defeated. The people together will never be defeated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people together will never be defeated. The people together will never be defeated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people together will never be defeated. The people together will never be defeated.

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON`S MOTHER: I want you guys to stand up for justice and stand up for what`s right. This is not about a black and white thing. This is about a right and wrong thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a serious crime and that he should be held under no bond.

KENNETH LESTER, JUDGE: I am going to grant the motion of said bond in the amount of $150,000.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When he had an opportunity to wait believe he was in on a world court, and to wait until the cameras are there, to wait until all of the media is there watching, there is a time and a place. And I think everyone knows when you give an apology, the time and the place is to do it face-to-face sincerely and you make it meaningful. This is the most unmeaningful apology we`ve seen in our entire life.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight fireworks at the bond hearing for the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin. In a surprise move that provoked gasps, literally, the defendant, George Zimmerman, took to the witness stand. Not only is George Zimmerman getting out on bail, but tonight some are saying Zimmerman`s attorney blindsided the prosecution and basically started the trial today. Was the prosecution forced to let some of their secrets out of the bag?

Zimmerman walked slowly into court wearing a suit with a bulletproof vest underneath. He was shackled with his hands pinned to his side. No one could have guessed what would happen next.

In an extremely rare move, George Zimmerman himself took to the witness stand at his own bond hearing. Listen to what he had to say.


ZIMMERMAN: I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am, and I did not know if he was armed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you wait so long to tell Mr. Martin and the victim`s mother, father and mother? Why did you wait so long to tell them?

ZIMMERMAN: I was told not to communicate with them.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Trayvon`s family not buying that performance at all.

That`s not all. Zimmerman`s attorney, Mark O`Mara, on the mission today, on the attack, some would say. Boy, did he go after the probable cause affidavit word for word and forced a state investigator to admit he never expected to take the witness stand today to show his cards and didn`t even bring his documents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know who started the fight?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any evidence that supports who may have started the fight?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Was the prosecution caught with its pants down? They say no.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all have not heard all the evidence. Please be patient and wait for the trial.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutors wanted no bail, adding, well, if it were granted it should be astronomical, $1 million. The defense suggested quite the opposite, just $15,000 bail. In the end the judge settled on $150,000 bond so Zimmerman could be released in the next day or few days. That news did not sit well with Trayvon`s parents, who were in court today. In fact, they came face-to-face with Zimmerman for the first time since Trayvon`s shooting death.

They are not happy, it would appear, with the way things turned out, letting their attorneys speak for them after today`s hearing.


BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S PARENTS: They are devastated, completely devastated. They pray that his freedom is only temporary, because the pain that he has caused this family is going to be permanent. They`re never getting Trayvon back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So did George Zimmerman`s attorney, Mark O`Mara, do the right thing by allowing his client to take the stand today? Will that risky move come back to bite him? And how is Zimmerman`s release going to go down?

I think we just got a giant glimpse into how this trial is going to play out, and the gloves are off. We can all agree to that.

Straight out to Frank Taaffe, who is a former neighbor of George Zimmerman and one of his, well, few defenders, a very prominent defender. What was your reaction, Frank, when you saw your former neighbor and friend take the witness stand today?

FRANK TAAFFE, FRIEND OF ZIMMERMAN: Thank you for having me back, Jane.

No. 1, George wanted to get his side out. He`s a very sympathetic person. He showed empathy to Trayvon`s parents as he did for me. expressing the loss for my son. He is a very compassionate, sympathetic and sincere person.

And I thought he was very composed in his delivery, no matter how much the prosecutor tried to get him rattled. He was direct to the parents, and he emoted real sympathy for the loss of -- for Trayvon getting shot.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ve got to tell you, a lot of people did not buy the performance. Tania Young Williams, attorney and Huff Po contributor.

Some said everything, from his suit to his snazzy tie to his relatives telling all sorts of incredible anecdotes about how he mentors children from the inner city, et cetera, et cetera, it`s all part of a grand strategy that culminated with him taking the stand to get bond and also a public relations campaign. What say you, Tania?

TANIA YOUNG WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY: I agree with everything that you just said, Jane. I do believe that his attorney told him it was necessary for him to apologize, and it did not, in my opinion, come off very sincere. It came off very staged.

But his mother, this is one thing that bothered me as an African- American, and I am so tired of saying because someone has a friend or helps someone that that is African-American, they`re not a racist. That`s like saying Mel Gibson, because he hired a few Jewish people for his movie, he`s not -- his actions of saying anti-Semitic things doesn`t make him a racist. What you say and what you do can be completely different things.

George Zimmerman put on a show today. Once again, he wants to be in control. I can`t believe that his attorney will allow him to take the stand. And I think it`s going to come back and bite him in the long run. But once again, we see he wants to be in control; he wants to have a say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor. Do you think it was a bad move? Do you think it will come back to bite him?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: He was going get criticized no matter what, and it absolutely benefits Zimmerman to be humanized. Some people won`t see it that bay, but it absolutely strategically benefits him to have a face and a voice and for people to have some degree of awareness that he`s a human being instead of this monstrosity, cartoon image.

You know, I actually think that the most important thing that happened today was the judge granting what was really a $15,000 cash bail. That, to me, is a signal that this prosecutor overdid it. A big signal.

This is the judge saying, "If this were really a murder case, the bail would be gigantic, but I`m reducing the bail by some 70-some-odd percent of what the prosecution was asking for. I mean, 15,000 is a pittance, but what it signals to me is the judge believes the prosecutor overcharged this case. That is not a good thing.

What shocked me the most was when this became a mini trial, and I`ve likened it to an episode of "Perry Mason," people just sort of appearing in the room, as they used to in that old TV show, and trotting up there to the witness stand. One of the lead investigators for the prosecution called to the witness stand and he didn`t expect it.

So according to the defense attorney for George Zimmerman, George`s nose was broken or fractured. Now, listen to this lead investigator admit that he hadn`t even seen George Zimmerman`s medical records until right there in court. Watch this. Astounding.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever had your nose fractured or broken?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know that was an injury that is reported to have sustained?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand that`s what he sustained but I haven`t seen medical records to support that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you asked them for them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have I asked them for them? No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want a copy of them?

I`ll give it to the state, it`s a more appropriate way to do it. If you haven`t had them yet, I don`t want to cross the line.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. That was an embarrassment for the prosecution. Jon Lieberman, investigation reporter, you`ve covered so many of these trials. This guy didn`t expect to be on the witness stand and then he admits he hasn`t even seen the medical records.

That`s all we`ve been talking about for weeks. What were George Zimmerman`s injuries? How is it possible a lead investigator for the prosecution didn`t see the medical records?

Round one went to the defense and they orchestrated this and they knew what they were going to do and, frankly, the prosecution wasn`t ready. They just weren`t prepared for this. They thought this was going to be a pretty cut-and-dry bond hearing.

And I agree with what Wendy said. I mean, the judge even went so far as to say that some of the allegations against Mr. Zimmerman of his criminal past were, quote, minor, and so he didn`t even take those into account when talking about granting bail.

One other thing, Jane, that I think was very important. Mr. Zimmerman`s attorneys said that he`s been in contact several times with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement throughout the past several weeks, even building up what the attorney said was, quote, "trust" between George Zimmerman and the cops. That clearly helped him get out on bail, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell you something. When you`re dealing with a mega case like this, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. You need to expect the unexpected happen.

This is like the O.J. Simpson trial or the Michael Jackson child molestation trial or the Casey Anthony trial. It`s always going to go in a different way, a zig-zag. Why didn`t the prosecution realize they were going to pull this today?

With today`s dramatic bond hearing for George Zimmerman, did he give us a preview of what`s to come? Stay right there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me make sure the record`s clear. You stated exactly what to those detectives?

ZIMMERMAN: I don`t remember exactly verbatim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you`re saying you expressed concern for the loss of Mr. Martin or that Mr. -- you had shot Mr. Martin, that you actually felt sorry for him?

ZIMMERMAN: I felt sorry that they lost their child, yes.



ZIMMERMAN: I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am, and I did not know if he was armed or not.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was one of the huge shockers today. Obviously, the defendant, George Zimmerman, just plopping up on the stand. Nobody expected it. At least the general public, I think, was very shocked. This was part of a grand strategy, perhaps, by the defense to humanize George Zimmerman.

Another huge shocker for, well, the fact that Mark O`Mara seemed to start the trial today. This defense attorney gets the lead investigator on the stand. His lead investigator says I didn`t even think I was going to be testifying today. I didn`t bring my notes and gets him to admit under oath that he has no evidence contradicting Zimmerman`s claim that Zimmerman was walking back to his car and that Trayvon was coming after him. Listen to this carefully and then we`re going to analyze it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any evidence to contradict and that conflicts with his contention given before he knew any of the evidence that would conflict with the fact that he stated I walked back to my car or towards the car?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any evidence that conflicts, any eyewitnesses, anything that conflicts with the contention that Mr. Martin assaulted first?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As to who threw the first blow, no.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: No! Okay, that is a shocker. Jean Casarez, you were in court. What was the reaction to that moment where this lead investigator admits that he really doesn`t have evidence to contradict George Zimmerman`s contentions.

JEAN CASAREZ, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": I think a lot of people were saying what? You don`t? Because people are saying, well, the state held back. They don`t want to show everything they have.

Well, OK, fine and good, but if you answer a question like that under oath by saying no, you don`t have anything to contradict that, I think that`s amazing, and I think a lot of people are surprised.

The state had a burden today. They`re supposed to have the burden. They didn`t put on any witnesses. They relied solely on the probable cause affidavit. And you`re right, the homicide investigator didn`t even bring his notes because he didn`t think he was going to be called to the stand.

CNN legal analyst Mark Nejame, what the heck? I mean, this is a mega case. Expect the unexpected.

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Jane, I`m sorry to say I`m not as nice about some of this that I`m hearing from different commentators and different areas.

This doesn`t have to be a mega case. This is basic stuff in a lot of ways. The reality of it is, it`s the state`s burden without question. They were relying on that affidavit in order to show prove evident. Obviously, the defense wasn`t putting on any witnesses. They had to attack it. There`s no option for them if they wanted to develop that and show that there was something that was impeachable with it. They had to bring it up.

So for them to walk into court and say that they were not expecting this, meaning that they simply didn`t do their job properly. No big deal because this is a big case. It`s basic. It`s what should have been done in any case, let alone a case of this magnitude, let alone when there`s a young man who is dead and another man being looking at murder. They simply dropped their ball and the other nose that was broken was theirs.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go to Sunny Hostin and Mark Nejame, Mark, you heard Sunny say you`ve got to go long. This was not the sort of thing for the prosecution today.

NEJAME: Well, I don`t know what trial or hearing Sunny was watching.

HOSTIN: The same one you marched, Mark.

NEJAME: I completely disagree with Mark. The bottom line is I suspect that this prosecution team knew that the burden was on them, and it was a very, very high burden. We`re talking about beyond a reasonable doubt. So there`s no question that they knew that George Zimmerman was going to get some sort of bond package. The only question was what the bond was going to be, how significant it was going to be, and so I don`t think they dropped the ball at all. I`m not saying that the defense wasn`t very prepared. It was their motion, and they need to be prepared, but the prosecution did just fine today.

We`re going to debate it on the other side. Win, lose or draw and take your calls.


Trayvon Martin for the hour, but here`s a little break. Your video for the week.


Why is everyone protecting George Zimmerman? This whole time has been everybody defending him. Their son is dead.

What fireworks in court and the defense attorney Mark O`Mara blew up a copy of this probable cause affidavit that attacked it line by line. Let`s go to Sunny Hostin and Mark Nejame. You heard sunny say you got it all wrong. This was not a defeat for the prosecution today.

I don`t know what trial or hearing Sunny was watching.

Watching the same one you watched, Mark.

NEJAME: The one I saw was the lead investigator walk into that courtroom and say he wasn`t prepared, and then I heard the prosecutor in closing simply say that I didn`t think this was going to be a trial. I`ve had a million cases over a career with far less publicity in this one where we did exactly that, and I`ll tell you what Mark O`Mara looked like he was initially doing and he was a bit surprised, but he took and ran with it and that was when he called the investigator, he said let me see your file because what often happens, if you remember, he asked it three times. Typically what happens is the investigators walk in with a file and we walk up and say let`s take a look at that and we get an opportunity to look at the file.

HOSTIN: That`s why this detective didn`t have it. This was -- this was a very seasoned prosecution team. Let`s face it. The affidavit for probable cause is a bare bones affidavit intentionally. They always are, Mark. You know that.

On the very second page of this affidavit it clearly says this is not a complete recitation of facts.

The prosecution held its cards very close to the vest intentionally because they knew that he was going to get some sort of bond package. So this was very much the defense doing, I would say, a good job, but a lot of courtroom theatrics. This was a foregone conclusion. I do think the bond set was a little low $150,000. I understand that this is a family of meager means, but this is...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want your take on who won today, mark.

NEJAME: The reality of it is is the prosecution has to act in good faith. They`re not allowed by their ethics to be asking...

HOSTIN: There`s no indication that they acted in bad faith.

NAJAME: That they cannot otherwise in good faith prove. So for you to jump to the conclusion that they knew there was going to be bond and keeping someone else in prison.

HOSTIN: There`s no indication. There`s no indication they acted in bad faith. This is a non-bondable offense, Mark, you know that. This is a second-degree murder charge; it`s a non-bondable offense. The burden on the prosecution is extremely...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. Where`s my gavel!

NEJAME: It is a bondable offense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The defense walks in with a giant version of this probable cause statement. If I were the prosecution I would be like, oh, unless they hit it to the last second. What`s on that big card? I better get prepared for it, do you think that whole thing that they blew up the probable cause affidavit and tore it apart limb from limb, do you think, sunny, that took the prosecution by surprise?

HOSTIN: No. I don`t, and again, we`re talking about an affidavit of probable cause, and I think people are making much ado about nothing. An affidavit for probable cause which, by the way, a judge found there was probable cause based on that affidavit, is not a recitation, a complete recitation of the facts. It`s intentionally bare bones. So, no, they weren`t so surprised.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark -- Mark, last word. Mark, last word.

NEJAME: I want to say, Sunny, the reality of it is because of their unpreparedness...

HOSTIN: They weren`t unprepared.

NEJAME: Please, please. For whatever -- forever more now, memorialize it under oath, their lead investigators say that they have no proof or evidence who initiated the contact, or who was coming from the vehicle.



CROWD: No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you express concern for the loss of Mr. Martin or that you had shot Mr. Martin and you actually felt sorry for him?

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, CHARGED WITH TRAYVON MARTIN`S MURDER: I felt sorry that they lost their child.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zimmerman makes this self-serving apology in court 50 days later. The Real George Zimmerman Web site and you all have reviewed it never once said "I`m sorry". Why today?

MARK O`MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Since my involvement with him he -- he had always wanted to acknowledge what happened that day in the death of Trayvon Martin.

CROWD: Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin.

O`MARA: I`m hoping that those emotions just keep things calm, not trying to antagonize or upset, but these are the facts of the case to the extent that we know them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What it boils down to, he shot somebody.

ZIMMERMAN: I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is it that Mr. Martin would want to confront Mr. Zimmerman. Mr. Martin was on his way home minding his own business. If anything, you could argue that the self-defense is really Mr. Martin trying to defend himself.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: The pain that he has caused this family is going to be permanent. They`re never getting Trayvon back.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: It was a bond hearing that some people thought would be cut and dry, but turned into a mini-trial worthy of an episode of Perry Mason. You have the defendant taking the stand and oh, walking around in shackles and a suit trying to apologize to the family of the young man that he shot dead. They`re having none of it.

The big question, of course, would he get out or not. Let`s listen to the moment that was key; the judge ruling on Zimmerman`s bond.

JUDGE KENNETH LESTER JR., SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA: I`m going to grant the motion and set bond in the amount of $150,000 with the following conditions: electronic monitoring, GPS, I`m going to require the state and the defense to meet with the sheriff`s department to accomplish it. That means that Mr. Zimmerman is not going to be released today but I`m going to make sure that the state and the defense can work out those assurances.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: $150,000 bond. That means Zimmerman`s family will have to post $15,000 to get him out. He has to check in with authorities every three days and wear a GPS tracking device and be home for curfew 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., not allowed to carry a gun, use drugs or alcohol and can`t have any contact with Trayvon`s family, but a lot of people thought, wow, this was unexpected.

I think a lot of people thought that he wasn`t going to get bond at all. We also learned some pretty astounding details about what went on that night. Give us the rundown of some tidbits that we gleaned from this hearing.

JON LEIBERMAN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Yes, there are some tidbits that aren`t going to make headlines but they clearly could become important. One small one -- there`s surveillance video of Trayvon buying the Skittles and the iced tea. Prosecutors say that Trayvon was 70 feet from his back door on the path to the place where he was staying when he was shot and killed. Another one prosecutors pointed out that the 911 operator, as we already know had advised Zimmerman not to pursue, but he continued on.

And I want to now quote the investigator. He was told not to follow him. He continued on for a period of time. I would say less than a minute before he hung up which was prior to the encounter between the two. Obviously, the encounter after that is the most important.

And one other quick thing, prosecutors did foreshadow that they have more evidence. For example, when the prosecuting attorney said is there any evidence that suggests Zimmerman`s original statement to police was not true. The investigator simply replied yes, foreshadowing that they`re going to try to rip apart Zimmerman`s state.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. And also, I have to say this. We learned about these alleged injuries that George Zimmerman suffered. Not one, but two people talked about Zimmerman`s injuries; first George`s father and then the lead investigator for the prosecution. Listen to this.


ROBERT ZIMMERMAN SR., GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S FATHER: His face was swollen quite a bit. He had a protective cover over his nose. His lip was swollen and cut, and there were two vertical gashes on the back of his head.

DALE GILBREATH, INVESTIGATOR: The injuries are consistent with a harder object striking the back of his head and his head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could that be cement?

GILBREATH: Could be.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And then Zimmerman`s attorney says oh, well I`ve got records show that -- medical records showing George Zimmerman`s nose was broken or fractured and the lead investigator for the state said I didn`t see those records and that was a shocker.

Natalie Jackson, we`re delighted to have you with us. You`re the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family and we`ve been debating here whether the prosecution was caught blindsided today and the fact that one of these lead investigators came to the stand and said I didn`t expect to testify. I didn`t bring my documents. I didn`t see the medical records. What do you make of it? Do you think they were blindsided or not?

NATALIE JACKSON, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: I don`t think they were blindsided. I think that this was a bond hearing and it was not a trial. I think that they don`t want to show all of their cards before the trial.

They don`t want to give the defense any more than they have to, and in this case there were two investigators out actually, and one investigator called in saying the other investigator was referenced to by the first investigator on the stand.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go to the phone lines. We have Lynanne who has been waiting so patiently. Lynanne, what is your question or thought?

LYNANNE (via telephone): Hi, Jane. How are you?


LYNANNE: Well, I think the amount was really low considering that an unarmed child was killed, but Mr. Zimmerman brought this all this on himself. He was told to stand down by the dispatcher, he didn`t. He didn`t, you know -- but why should he get out just because he wants his freedom? Well, Trayvon Martin wanted a chance to live his life, but Mr. Zimmerman took that from him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, absolutely. And I think that`s why a lot of people are outraged at the way things progressed today. And we`re also getting hints at what the defense is going to focus on during the trial like challenging the contention of the prosecution that Trayvon was the one heard on a 911 call yelling for help moments before the fatal shot. Listen to this.


O`MARA: Are you aware of any concern over Trayvon Martin`s mother and her ability to identify the voice crying for help as her son`s?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: How important is this going to be? I mean Pat Brown, criminal profiler, part of the problem here is much of the evidence that we`ve heard so far about those crucial moments after he hangs up from the 911 call until the shot is fired is somewhat murky, Pat Brown.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, we have a lot of murkiness and that`s a problem because we`re trying to figure it out before it goes to trial and what we`re seeing in court didn`t look too good today, either, because I`m looking at what the prosecution said. It almost sounded like they`re saying we have no probable cause. That we don`t even have proof that he was acting in self-defense.

So, it`s, like, he wasn`t acting in self-defense, so I was like whoa. If you`re saying that then clearly you have to let this guy out on bond. Because you`re not talking about a guy who was a mass murderer and we saw him shooting everybody down on camera. We know it`s him. We know he called 16 people, can`t let him out.

We`re talking about a guy here where there are questions. Was it self-defense or wasn`t it? And the prosecution isn`t making a very good case in this bond hearing. So, of course, maybe the guy`s not guilty. We don`t know this yet.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s debate this a little bit because I want to bring in Natalie Jackson. But I also want to go to Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney in Miami. She`s been waiting patient to weigh in. I think the biggest shocker after George Zimmerman himself taking the stand was that this lead investigator was asked by the defense attorney for -- Mark O`Mara, the defense attorney for Zimmerman -- do you have any evidence that contradicts George Zimmerman`s claim that he was going away towards his car, that he did not initiate the ultimate confrontation and correct me if I`m wrong, his answer was basically no.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That is exactly what he said. He was completely unprepared and I don`t know why it was so totally predictable. I agree with Mark Nejame -- totally predictable that the state would just proffer the affidavit and that Mark O`Mara would get to cross examine the lead detective. That`s the way it`s done in court in Florida every day. This was no different.

What was surprising to me was that George Zimmerman took the witness stand to apologize. That`s what was surprising to me because it was irrelevant testimony to bond, totally irrelevant. But the judge obviously made a decision based on the facts and the law and we should all applaud that, because that`s the only thing that matters.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Richard Kuritz, another one waiting patiently, former special prosecutor out of Jacksonville -- and you know a lot of the parties involved here. Everybody is disagreeing that whether or not they were caught off guard.

So certain people are saying, no, this is just a bond hearing; nothing to see here, move on. Others are saying, whoa. This lead investigator got on the stand and seemed completely unprepared and made some admissions that now the prosecution may well be locked into. What is your take?

RICHARD KURITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, and I know as you`ve indicated -- I know all of the parties involved as well as far as prosecution team and they were not caught off guard. What it is you heard Mr. dela Rionda, he was trying to get into it with Mr. Zimmerman who was trying to talk to him about his other statements that he made.

There are so many times that I have a client who`s in jail or on death row and he got himself there by making his own inconsistent statements by saying things contradicted with other people. What this was today was a bond hearing, it was not a trial. There was not evidence being put on. Mr. O`Mara was able to cross examine and perhaps score some points.

But the reason -- if anybody says he was surprised or caught off guard, Mr. O`Mara, I can tell you did not have him under subpoena. The testimony from that detective was not anticipated. He had no way of knowing that that was going to happen today because the affidavit stands on its own.

It was not a surprise. The prosecution did fine. What they can`t do is --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa I have to say this, Richard. You seem to be saying two different things.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: He didn`t expect to testify, but it wasn`t a surprise. I don`t think those two can be -- they`re mutually exclusive.

KURITZ: Sure. What I mean by that is the affidavit is going to speak for itself. The additional questions that went into it, I didn`t think he was expecting that he was going to have to testify to that because he was not under subpoena. But the testimony that he was able to testify about, he did, but there are other testimony that was not able to be provided such as the additional statements that Mr. dela Rionda was trying to get into on cross-examination.

That is the additional stuff that can`t come out in the evidence because it`s beyond the scope and is not able to present that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to say this, and we don`t have time, but on the other side of the case, I`m going to ask Natalie Jackson, the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family, they seemed clearly upset and left without commenting on the hearing. And I think they were upset obviously about him being granted bond, but were they also upset about the way things played out?

I`m going to get your take on the other side. We`ll continue this debate.



G. ZIMMERMAN: Yes. Now he`s coming toward me.


G. ZIMMERMAN: He`s got his hands in his waistband.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old would you say he is?

G. ZIMMERMAN: He`s got something on his shirt. Late teens?



G. ZIMMERMAN: I wanted to say I`m sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. And I did not know if he was armed or not.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. It seems that there`s contradiction already, Frank Taaffe, you`re George Zimmerman`s former neighbor and defender. You heard him say he didn`t know how old he was when he was apologizing in court today. But then on the 911 call, he estimates him accurately to be in his late teens.

FRANK TAAFFE, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S FORMER NEIGHBOR: Well, you know, it was dark, you know it was raining out. He didn`t have that (inaudible) visual. And then when Trayvon was walking -- Jane, I want to talk about the pictures that had come out with the back of George`s head. They were just released today and it clearly shows that Trayvon was the aggressor.

How did George sustain all those bloody bruises and cuts on the back of his head?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, Natalie Jackson, I want to get back to my question. You`re the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family. Now the danger of somebody, a defendant taking the stand is that they will say things that then they can be contradicted on. And it would seem that he already contradicted himself because he says I didn`t know how old your son was during the apology. But then on the 911 call he estimates him to be accurately late teens.

JACKSON: He did. And the family saw this immediately. I will tell you Jane, this meeting was asked for yesterday by Mark O`Mara, George Zimmerman`s attorney. The family declined in the media. They said that they did not want a meeting at -- meeting with George Zimmerman at this time. It was not the proper time or the proper place.

This was the first bond hearing. It`s the first time that they hear and they`re sitting face-to-face with their son`s killer. He knew that they did not want an apology at this time. An apology is only sincere if you`re doing it for the right reasons. Here George Zimmerman knew that it was not the proper time and it was not the proper place. He did not care about this family`s feelings. He did not care that they were grieving for their son.

I sat next to Tracy Martin during that hearing and this was the first time that Sybrina had to comfort Tracy. Tracy went through that whole hearing. If George Zimmerman really had any feelings about what he did or about this family he would have waited. This was not the time in front of the cameras.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Additionally we`ve been feeding up a little bit, and I don`t say we, the legal analysts all over the airways have been beating up a little bit on how the prosecution handled this and whether they were prepared or not for a mini trial.

But the prosecution also scored some points today and they actually -- they`ve given a sneak peek of their opening statement. Watch as the prosecutor Bernie dela Rionda lays out the case.


BERNIE DELA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: You also had the fact that it is an unarmed 17-year-old boy. I mean your court has to consider the fact itself. This young man was minding his own business, was not committing a crime, but you had a law enforcement officer who told him to abide by his commands and he disregarded it. What it boils down to, he shot somebody.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy, did the prosecution indeed score some points today?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes, I mean, that`s an important narrative. The back story here is an unarmed kid with Skittles is dead and that just should not have happened.

I have to say a couple of things. Number one, we`re not only sort of not focusing on the right stuff I think when we`re talking too much about apologies. It`s not just what injuries did Zimmerman have, but did Martin have any and thus far as far as we know, he had none. I mean aside from the lethal injury, of course, but that`s an indication that Zimmerman is telling the truth when he`s saying I acted in self-defense.

I think the prosecutor got in trouble when the lead investigators said they didn`t have the medical records of Zimmerman`s injuries and I`ll tell you why. They had an ethical responsibility to gather exculpatory evidence. It is an affirmative duty for which you can get in trouble with the bar. So for the lead investigator to say I`ve never seen those records, wow. Wow. That makes me very nervous.

Final point, you know stand your ground law --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. We`re going to leave your final point for a second on the other side. Response to your claim right there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Trayvon Martin for the hour, but a lot of breaking news. A little laugh break.






O`MARA: Since my involvement with him, he had always wanted to acknowledge what happened that day in the death of Trayvon Martin. And I was hopeful that that could be accomplished in more private ways, and that wasn`t -- we weren`t afforded that opportunity.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Natalie Jackson, what do you make of that explanation for why George Zimmerman took the stand today?

JACKSON: An apology is not for the person who is apologizing. And that is what George Zimmerman made it into today. He made it about himself once again. Here we had a grieving family who for the first time is coming face-to-face with the killer of their son. There is no dispute that George Zimmerman killed their son, their unarmed son. There is no dispute to that. The only dispute is whether or not it was self-defense. At this point the family says --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m sorry. I just want to get in Jayne Weintraub because we have such patient panelists here. Wendy Murphy is saying, oh, my gosh, it would appear that the prosecution was not looking for exculpatory evidence. They could even face censure for that. What do you make of that?

WEINTRAUB: Well, normally I agree with that premise. However, in this particular case I don`t think that`s true because it`s an affirmative defense. If he is saying that his nose was broken, they don`t have an obligation to go look at every doctor -- I mean he wasn`t even treated that night.

This is something we have very liberal discovery laws in Florida that in the course of discovery that O`Mara will provide to the state. That`s the way that this would work.

MURPHY: No, no, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let Wendy respond. Let Wendy respond.

MURPHY: Jayne`s got it wrong. There is an affirmative defense law component to this but the stand your ground law is a legal grant of outright immunity from prosecution. That is a prosecutorial obligation to know that they cannot as a matter of law, prosecute someone who is standing their ground which means do you believe that you might face deadly force or bodily injury or are you experiencing a felony using force? Is somebody forcibly committing a felony against you?

If you have medical records showing his head is split, his nose is broken, it is unethical for the prosecution not to get that because it is illegal --

WEINTRAUB: They don`t know about it, Wendy.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. One at a time. All right, ladies, I`m going to bring Tanya Young Williams -- you`ve been listening to this. What do you make of it? Wendy Murphy saying they didn`t even look at the medical records and that showed they had their blinders on.

TANYA YOUNG WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY: First and foremost, Jane, let me say not every aggressor, nor every bully wins a fight. So just because he has cuts and just because his nose is broken does not at all establish that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor, that`s absolutely ridiculous.

I think in watching what happened today, I listened to Mr. Zimmerman very clearly. What I heard him do was outline that he did, in fact, profile Trayvon Martin. He said, I thought he was older, whether that`s true or not, he thought he was older. He thought he might have had a gun. We know he said he`s an f-ing punk or something else, it wasn`t a compliment.

All those things together made him follow him and continue to follow him when the police said no. So, guess what, he did profile him. He did start this action. He was the aggressor and, therefore, guess what, now Trayvon is dead. He`s going to use stand your ground. And then during hearings that`s where the fireworks will be.

This was just a drop in the bucket. I was part of a big case. No one wins in one day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Richard Kuritz were you, ten seconds, shocked that he got the bail bond that he got?

KURITZ: Absolutely not. I predicted $100,000 to $200,000, seems absolutely normal. Real quick on the exculpatory evidence -- you don`t have to collect evidence that`s exculpatory if the defendant already has it. Shame on the attorney for --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Final thoughts, Richard?

KURITZ: I think it was a good day for everybody. I don`t think there were any winners or losers. I think it all worked out the way it was supposed to. The bond motion was filed. A judge granted it. He set a reasonable bond. It was a good day for everybody involved.

We learned a little bit about the prosecution`s theory. We learned a little about the defense`s theory and we`re moving forward throughout the case as we should, and things happened good for the system today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Final thoughts, Pat Brown?

BROWN: I think the prosecutor came out really bad in this case because I`m concerned about the fact they haven`t seen medical records which is the crux of this. They want to prove that he was assaulted and that he didn`t actually -- that he didn`t bash -- maybe he did bash his own head in. We don`t know if he self-inflicted those wounds. So the prosecution wants to show either he wasn`t attacked or that he it did it himself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to say, by the way, he`s going to get out any day now -- could be this weekend, could be Monday, we`re going to be all over it. It`s a mega case. Expect the unexpected. Both sides, you`re forewarned for the future.