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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Self-Defense or Murder?: The George Zimmerman Trial; Whose Screams Were On 911 Tape?
Aired June 24, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, and welcome to "Self- Defense or Murder?" our in-depth look at the George Zimmerman trial.
Every night all this week at this hour, we are going to be recapping what happened in the Florida courtroom. We will break it down with some of the best legal minds in the country.
In addition, because this is such a controversial and racially charged case, we will bring extended moments from the court proceedings, so you can decide for yourself what really happened that terrible night in Sanford, Florida.
George Zimmerman, as you probably know, is accused of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. He was a neighborhood watch captain when he shot Martin. Now, he doesn't deny pulling the trigger. The case hinges on why he shot the African- American teenager.
Zimmerman says it was self-defense. The jury of six women will decide the case.
And the trial began today in dramatic fashion, with an F-bomb, a knock-knock joke, then an apology for that knock-knock joke. You will hear it all momentarily.
But, first, David Mattingly brings us up to the minute.
911 OPERATOR: 911, police, fire or medical?
CALLER: Police, I just heard a shot right behind my house.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shock, confusion and fear. You can hear it in the voice of every 911 caller in the final moments of Trayvon Martin's young life.
CALLER: The person is dead, lying on the ground.
911 OPERATOR: Just because he's lying on the ground --
CALLER: My God!
MATTINGLY: February 26, 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin buys some Skittles and a bottle of iced tea, walks through a gated- community of townhomes where he is staying with his father. That's when he catches the attention of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. That's Zimmerman's first impression watching Trayvon Martin walking alone.
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something.
MATTINGLY: Less than a minute later, Zimmerman gets out of his car.
911 OPERATOR: Are you following him?
911 OPERATOR: OK, we don't need you to do that.
MATTINGLY: But then, just a few minutes later, there's another call.
911 OPERATOR: 911, do you need police, fire or medical?
CALLER: Maybe both, I'm not sure. There's just someone screaming outside.
MATTINGLY: In the background, listen for the sound of a fight and a panicked voice yelling for help.
911 OPERATOR: Is it a male or female?
CALLER: It sounds like a male.
911 OPERATOR: You don't know why?
CALLER: I don't know why. I think they're yelling help but I don't know.
MATTINGLY: Ten seconds later, the shrieking continues, then a gunshot.
911 OPERATOR: So you think he's yelling help?
911 OPERATOR: All right, what is --
CALLER: There's gunshots.
911 OPERATOR: You just heard gunshots?
911 OPERATOR: How many?
CALLER: Just one.
MATTINGLY: Just one, a shot to the heart, ending the life of Trayvon Martin. A bloodied and bruised George Zimmerman tells police it was self-defense.
ZIMMERMAN: Felt like my body was on the grass and my head was on the cement and he just kept slamming it, slamming it.
MATTINGLY: Zimmerman is not arrested. No charges immediately filed. Florida law allows people to use force in self-defense, the stand your ground law, but before investigators can go to a grand jury, a firestorm descends.
Thousands march through the streets with similar protests around the country. Even the president is disturbed.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.
MATTINGLY: Forty four days after he shoots and kills Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder and he turns himself in. Zimmerman gets out on bail but it doesn't last. When detailing his assets, he didn't tell the court about $130,000 in donations to a defense fund. He goes back to jail, gets out again, this time, on $1 million bond.
(on camera): Since then, Zimmerman's sightings have been few and far between. His attorneys say he lives in fear, venturing out only in disguise and always wearing body armor.
(voice-over): Each time he shows up in court, his weight gain is astonishing. Zimmerman's attorney says he's put on 120 pounds. Prosecutors may try to portray him as a profiler and a killer. Zimmerman's defense is building its own profile of Trayvon Martin.
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not sure if it's recreation or whatever but he's very used to fighting, that he has used some drugs in the past and again, many 17-year-olds have, but that he has as well.
MATTINGLY: Zimmerman's defense has released pictures and text messages suggesting the 17-year-old Martin was no stranger to pot, guns and fighting. Three months before he encountered George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin sends text message about a fight, saying his opponent didn't bleed enough, only his nose.
Less than a week before the fatal encounter, Martin texted I hid my weed, it's wrapped. Important questions persist about what happened that night the two crossed paths, who threw the first punch, who is that on the 911 tapes crying for help? The answers will lead a jury to decide. Was this a case of self-defense or murder?
David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: And there are important developments about those 911 tapes, the audio recordings and analysis of them. We will tell you that coming up. Today, after a weekend ruling in which the trial judge barred expert testimony on those 911 calls, opening statements did begin finally, including this from the defense. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON WEST, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I think the evidence will show that this is a sad case, that there are no monsters here.
Sometimes, you have to keep from crying. So let me -- at considerable risk, let me say I would like to tell you a little joke. I know how that may sound a bit weird in this context, under these circumstances.
But I think you're the perfect audience for it, as long as you, if you don't like it or don't think it is funny or inappropriate, that you don't hold it against Mr. Zimmerman. You can hold it against me, but not Mr. Zimmerman.
I have your assurance you won't. Here is how it goes.
Knock-knock. Who's there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right, good. You're on the jury. Nothing? That's funny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, he did not leave it there, however.
Martin Savidge was actually in the courtroom. He joins us now.
I don't know if I have ever heard of a lawyer using a knock-knock joke in his opening statements in a murder trial. How did the jury react to that? We heard sort of awkward laughter when he sort of pressed it said, what, nothing?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. I didn't see one juror that laughed.
There was one that seemed to smile, but I couldn't tell if they were reacting in a way that they thought that was humor or whether it was out of embarrassment. It clearly just fell flat in the room.
COOPER: Go ahead.
SAVIDGE: I was just going to say, Don West apparently got wind that this didn't work. It went out on the Twittersphere real fast.
And so immediately after lunch, he came back and said, I'm sorry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEST: No more bad jokes. I promise that. I'm convinced it was the delivery, though. I really thought that was funny. I'm sorry if I offended anyone about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean, for him to have also set up the joke so much, I mean, I really just don't quite get what he was thinking and certainly his whole delivery of it.
But that's not the only thing raised eyebrows today. I want to play the very first words, the prosecutor's opening statement. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GUY, FLORIDA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Good morning.
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) punks. These (EXPLETIVE DELETED) they always get away. Those were the words in that grown man's mouth as he followed in the dark a 17-year-old boy who he didn't know.
And excuse my language, but those were his words, not mine.
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) punks. These (EXPLETIVE DELETED) they always get away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Certainly dramatic, Martin. How did that go over in the courtroom?
SAVIDGE: That one had tremendous impact. He just finished saying good morning and then drops the F-bomb.
Everybody was shocked, whether you were a journalist or whether you were on the jury. And that was the interesting thing. You saw them lock eyes with that prosecutor and they never let up. For the entire 30 minutes that he made his presentation, their eyes were really glued on listening to John Guy and -- lay out the whole argument. He captured their attention and held it. Don West, not the same story for the defense.
COOPER: And held it really for about 30-plus minutes, whereas for Don West, he went on for more than three hours.
How did Zimmerman appear today? Because one of the things the defense made a point of mentioning was his huge weight gain while awaiting for this trial. As you said in the piece, he has put on more than 100 pounds.
I mean, you could watch him. And, of course, this trial goes on for hours. And if you watch anybody continuously, you're going to see different changes in demeanor. There were times, especially during the defense's presentation, he almost looked as if he were dozing off. There were other times that he didn't appear to be even listening to the prosecution, for instance, when they made those very dramatic claims and statements.
His attorneys were watching, but he, himself seemed to be looking in a different direction. When the 911 calls were being played, that terrible sound of screaming and gunfire, he didn't really seem to be focused right on that. But, again, this is interpretations you're making looking at him, but the whole gamut, as you watched the day develop, sometimes very interested, sometimes appearing not so.
COOPER: Martin, thanks very much.
We're joined by our own legal team right now, distinguished panelists, legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who also served as a federal prosecutor, over on the defense side, criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, co-author of "Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works, and Sometimes Doesn't." Also joining us is Marcia Clark, former Los Angeles deputy district attorney and author, as well. Her latest thriller is titled "Killer Ambition."
Sunny, you were in the courtroom. That knock-knock joke, we talked about this in the 8:00 hour, but how damaging do you think it was? A defense attorney normally doesn't have to apologize to the jury, especially on the first day.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I looked at the jury because I was so just surprised at this joke.
They seemed offended to me and it was painful for me to listen to, not only as someone covering the trial but as someone who has tried cases and given opening statements. Some of them go better than others, but this was just, just so very painful. And I will tell you, it wasn't just his delivery of the knock-knock joke, which didn't make any sense. It was this rambling presentation.
He seemed, in my view, to break all the rules of opening statement. It wasn't thematic. It was rambling. It just didn't make a lot of sense to me.
COOPER: Mark, I know you think it is kind of much ado about nothing. But what do you make of this three-hour opening statement by the defense, whereas the prosecution had a 30-minute opening statement?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Look, I have to tell you, having tried quite a few cases, that the idea that somehow this knock- knock joke is going to make a difference I think is almost as funny or as unfunny as that joke came across.
It is going to matter not one whit. The fact that it is three hours vs. 30 minutes, and the fact that the prosecutor who got up there was very dramatic in 30 minutes, that's great for TV and it's great to show it, and that he's dropping the F-bomb and everything else. You want to know the truth?
My experience has been, and I have been in situations where I have seen people give kind of a rambling two-hour opening statement, and jurors later on said that that was helpful. So I don't think you can gauge anything or -- make any great statements or conclusions by this. I will tell you that I don't think you're going to see West do the closing.
I think that this was Mark O'Mara saying, OK, you have been working on the case, you do the opening, I will do the close. And ultimately it is not going to matter, because all that matters in this case is, first of all, jury selection, and then what do the witnesses say, and are they going to call George Zimmerman?
COOPER: And, Jeff, I want to play another clip of the prosecutor, John Guy, laying out what he says are George Zimmerman's lies. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUY: You will learn that that's when he began to spin that tangled web of lies.
For example, he told the police that it was just after he hung up with Sean Noffke, the non-emergency dispatcher, that Trayvon Martin approached him, confronted him, said a couple of words to him, and then punched him and knocked him to the ground just moments after that. Ladies and gentlemen, that didn't happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Do you think that's an effective tack to take, trying to say there are systemic lies which we can point to?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Very, because this is a self-defense case and this is not a whodunit.
There are very few issues in dispute here. We know that Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. That is not in dispute. We know how he killed him. We know where and when. The only issue in this case is intent. Did he intend to murder him or was this an act of self-defense?
And if the prosecution can show that Zimmerman lied about what he did, that suggests a guilty conscience. That suggests he knew what he did was wrong. So if the prosecution can really establish that he lied about what he did, I think that's an extremely effective way of negating self-defense. We will see if they can do it, but that's a good theme for the prosecution to emphasize at the beginning.
COOPER: And, Marcia, if it does boil down to intent, as Jeff says, which it certainly does seem to based on the charges, the fact that the prosecutor began the opening statement quoting George Zimmerman, using a lot of offensive language, do you think that's effective? Does that show to the jury intent on George Zimmerman's part, the way he perceived Trayvon Martin?
MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes, it shows -- it certainly is the beginning of it, Anderson.
What they have done by quoting those words, and those are very powerful words, is to show a state of mind that is consistent with someone who will track down, racially profile this young man, track him down and then kill him without justification. They're showing a mind-set which is consistent with their theory of the case that George Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin and overreacted and overacted and became aggressive with him without cause and without need.
And to that extent, the opening statement was a very effective signpost, saying, here, look here, look here. From the very beginning, his mind was in this frame, and they're right to do it. Guy was saying Zimmerman was saying on that tape, he's up to no good, he looks like he's stoned.
What? And how would he even know that? He is wearing a hoodie. He's completely covered up. He's walking, apparently steadily. And the clerk I think at the 7-Eleven made that clear as well. So, it shows that he is willing to jump to conclusions and I think that's very effective. I want to point out one thing, Anderson, that it is the prosecution's burden to prove that the killing was not justified. It is not just that they have to prove that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin with the intent to commit murder, but also they have to prove that it wasn't justified.
So it is more like they have to prove a negative as well. And everything that goes into his intent, and I agree that is a key issue here, is important.
COOPER: Mark, you were saying that sort of the key die that's already been cast is jury selection. How do you think the jury that has been selected, how do you think that plays? Who do you think it favors at this point?
GERAGOS: I think it is clear to me at least, contrary to what I guess the general political chattering class or the legal chattering class believes, that this is a defense jury.
I have said and I will continue to say, it is the defense's case to lose. They have the racial makeup, the demographic makeup that they want in this case. I think that when you get in there and you start talking about the kinds of things that this -- the prosecutor was talking about today, I don't know that that resonates with this jury.
It may resonate with a bunch of trial watchers who are looking for a lot of pizzazz, but, remember, what we're talking about here matters very little. It only matters what the six women in that jury box think. And given what I heard at least and read about the jurors that are in there, I'm just not so sure that the prosecution's tack here is an effective one.
COOPER: And trial watchers looking for pizzazz, I assume you're referring to everyone else on this panel.
GERAGOS: Well, I wasn't going to say that it is 3-1 -- 3-1 ex- prosecutors vs. the lonely defense lawyer here.
COOPER: You know, Mark, we're doing this all week. You're starting off by pissing off everybody on the panel. That's not the way to start off the week, Mark.
GERAGOS: Anderson, I am kind of on the other coast, so it's OK. I am safe from there.
COOPER: All right, listen, we have got to take a quick break. We have got a lot more to dig in over course of this hour.
There's really so much that happened today. It's really fascinating. I want to talk more, as Marcia mentioned, about the undeniable importance of race, both in the trial and surrounding the whole tragedy, the prosecution making it clear they believe George Zimmerman was motivated by Trayvon Martin's skin color. The question, how will that play with the jury?
Later, why the Martin family attorney was told to stay out of court. Ben Crump joins me. We will talk to him live when our coverage continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUY: And we are confident that at the end of this trial, you will know in your head, in your heart, in your stomach that George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to. He shot him for the worst of all reasons, because he wanted to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, central to that argument, something that has really fueled obviously the controversy surrounding this case, right from the beginning, is the question of race.
Prosecutor John Guy laying it out clearly today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUY: And that that defendant at the same time was upright walking around preparing, preparing to tell law enforcement why it was he had just profiled, followed, and murdered an unarmed teenager, somebody who wanted to be a police officer, somebody who had called the police numerous times about crime in his neighborhood, someone who had become the neighborhood watch captain, and someone who believed most importantly that it was his right to rid his neighborhood of anyone that he believed didn't belong.
He profiled him as someone who was about to commit a crime in his neighborhood and then he acted on it, and that's why we're here. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "He profiled him," he said. The shooting happened February 26.
George Zimmerman initially was neither charged nor arrested. He would not be arrested until April, after a national outcry, centered mainly on the racial dimension and the local decision not to charge Zimmerman played out for weeks in marches like this one in New York's Union Square, people wearing hoodies like the one Trayvon Martin wore the night he was killed.
Well, protesters at this marches and others, including a string of them in Sanford, led country civil rights leaders seeking to underscore their view that Trayvon Martin was followed, confronted and killed because of his skin color, something George Zimmerman's family and others have repeatedly denied. The question now, how will the jury see it? That's what it's going to boil down to.
Back with our panel, Sunny Hostin, Jeff Toobin, Mark Geragos, and Marcia Clark.
Sunny, the case, obviously, as we talked about, touched off a debate over race relations in America. How much of that is playing into the trial at this point?
HOSTIN: Well, what was interesting to me in the courtroom, it didn't seem to play a part at all, at least during opening statements. Race was not mentioned once.
We did hear the word profile, which many would say is code for racial profiling, but when John Guy, the prosecutor, discussed this case, he did not mention race. He only mentioned profiling in the sense that he profiled Trayvon Martin as someone who was about to commit a crime in the neighborhood.
And I thought it was fascinating, because I think we can all agree race is sort of the elephant in the room that it appears no one is going to talk about.
COOPER: But that was because the judge, Marcia, was saying you can't talk about -- you can't use the term racial profiling, you can use the word profiling, correct?
CLARK: Exactly. Exactly, Anderson. And everybody knows when you say profiling what comes before it. It is the silent K. in know or whatever. You just -- that's what it is.
And you can pretend it is not there, and you don't have to say the word or ever say the word race, and we're all going to know what it is about. When he says profiling, that's what he means.
COOPER: Do you find it strange, Mark, that a judge is sort of describing what kind of words can be used in an opening statement?
GERAGOS: It is beyond strange. I was laughing with Marcia about this, the idea that somehow you're going to preview your language for your opening statement and somebody is going to be able to sit and act as your editor beforehand, and say you can say this word, you can't say that word
My experience generally is you make your opening statement. If you go over the line, somebody objects, it is argumentative, motion to strike, that's it. So I don't quite understand it. The idea that race is an elephant in the room, I think, as Sunny says, couldn't be more true. And that's why I think this jury selection and demographic tilts towards the defense. I don't --
GERAGOS: -- the prosecution liked this.
COOPER: Go ahead, Jeff.
TOOBIN: But I think the whole -- the racial dimension poses such an interesting issue for the defense. How does the defense deal with it? Does
Zimmerman's lawyer come out and say and call witnesses who say, well, you know, some of his best friends are African-American, which apparently may be true, but does that -- is that too much? Do you wind up offending the jury? I just think the defense is put in a very difficult position, if their client is accused of being a racist.
How do you respond to that? I don't know the answer and I am sure the defense will work its way through that as the trial progresses, but I think that's just a very interesting strategic dilemma for the defense.
COOPER: As a defense attorney, Mark, how would you go about that?
GERAGOS: I think that this thing is going to play out exactly the way O'Mara wants it to play out.
Mark is going to, I don't think, put his client on the stand. It is rare that any defense lawyer, absent the sky falling in, wants to put their client on the stand. I think he's going to try this case within the prosecution's case. If the prosecution wants to go down the race road, he will deal with it within cross-examination.
I don't see him frankly putting somebody on the stand who's going to say some of my best friends or I am a best friend, and I happen to be African-American. I just think that would be a fool's errand. I think what you have to do is say there hasn't been anything here to show that this self-proclaimed Hispanic was out here profiling this guy, other than he thought he was a -- he was somebody who was up to no good at that time of night.
Was he a wannabe cop? I don't think there's anybody who would say that most night -- or these kinds of people that go on neighborhood watch don't have that tendency. The joke always about security guards is, is that they failed the psychiatric test for law enforcement and that's why they're security guards. So, I mean, I think that that's a given, but a lot of people, frankly, they embrace that, they like that kind of stuff.
I mean, if you have got people who have been victimized, they might like the fact that there's somebody out there looking a little extra hard, or with a cynical or jaded eye in their neighborhood. This has almost completely flip-flopped the usual calculations. it's almost like the defense is looking for the usual prosecutorial types.
TOOBIN: Anderson, can I just give Mark's home phone number so any security guards who are listening can call him and explain there that they didn't fail the psychiatric test?
COOPER: I tell you, Mark is -- he's making friends left and right.
CLARK: He's going to get some hate mail now.
GERAGOS: I'm winning -- I'm winning friends tonight.
COOPER: Winning friends and influencing people.
Sunny, Jeff, Mark, Marcia, stick around. We're going to come back to you a little bit later on in the program.
We will let Mark kind of regroup.
Just ahead, Trayvon Martin's family was in the courtroom today. At times, they were reduced to tears. Their attorney, Benjamin Crump, was kicked out of the courtroom because he is a potential witness. We're going to talk to him next.
We will be right back.
COOPER: As we said, the Florida courtroom where George Zimmerman's fate will be decided was packed today, but not everyone was allowed to stay. The Martin family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, had to leave when the judge ruled that he shouldn't stay because he's a potential witness. The defense has indicated it might call him to the stand.
Mr. Crump joins me now live on the program. So Ben, were you surprised they excused you from court today?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY: Somewhat, but we had expected, when they invoked the rule that George Zimmerman's family would be asked because they were on the witness list. And I potentially a witness for -- that the defense may call, may be asked to leave.
So we are dealing with it. My clients would rather that I be there in court with them, Anderson, as I've been before, but we have a good legal team, and so we're not going to do anything to stop them from having their day in court.
COOPER: The defense says that you interjected yourself into the case because you found and interviewed Trayvon Martin's girlfriend last year before law enforcement questioned her. A, did you do that, and if you did, why?
CRUMP: Well, Anderson, you have to remember, we can't operate in a vacuum. The Sanford Police were not going to arrest George Zimmerman. And as far as his family knew, there was nothing that was going to happen to him. So we were doing everything in our power to get evidence and get the story out to try to tell people, "Look at these facts."
And it came out on the phone records. These are the phone records that we have no control over that show she was on the phone a minute before Trayvon was killed. And so that was very telling, and then she told us what she heard on that phone, and that became an important factor.
And so it's going to all come out, and we're here at this trial proceeding where we can get all the evidence out. And we pray that the jury base their verdict on the evidence and the law and nothing more.
COOPER: There's still a possibility that Trayvon Martin's father could be called to the witness stand, correct?
COOPER: And Trayvon's mother spoke before court began today. I just want to play a part of that for our viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON'S MOTHER: I'm here today as Trayvon Martin's mother. As I have been every day, I will be attending this court, and to try to get justice for my son.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: She actually had to leave court at one point today prior to the 911 call being played, and apparently, a lot of the jurors were watching her as she left. There was some talk amongst some of our analysts that the defense might actually object if she -- you know, if she or other family members continue to kind of get up, attracting attention. Are you concerned about that at all?
CRUMP: Well, I wasn't in the courtroom today, Anderson, but I do know that this is awfully emotional for them. This is the death of their child in the most unimaginable way. And to have to painstakingly watch it dissected over and over again, the last moments of his life, is extremely difficult. It's something that is much harder than they ever imagined. They both were visibly disturbed as they came out on the breaks with tears in their eyes and just, you know, heartbroken.
COOPER: Obviously, yes. Obviously, you're not considered opposing counsel in this trial. If a civil wrongful death suit is brought by Trayvon's parents, it's likely you and then Zimmerman's defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, will face off against each other. Correct?
CRUMP: It is possible. But right now, we're very focused on getting justice for Trayvon Martin, because this is so important that the killer of an unarmed child is held accountable for that. This is about equal justice, and that's what Tracy and Sybrina have asked for from day one, Anderson: simple justice, nothing more, nothing less.
COOPER: How long a trial do you think this is going to be?
CRUMP: As I understand it, it's probably going to go about three weeks.
COOPER: All right. Benjamin Crump, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
CRUMP: Thank you.
COOPER: Tomorrow night on this program, we're going to talk to defense attorney Mark O'Mara who's going to join me.
Coming up tonight, though, the jury hears that 911 call from the neighbor. You're going to hear it yourself and the screaming in the background, screams that at least two experts, audio analysts, say is not coming from George Zimmerman, but those experts are not going to be allowed to testify in court. We'll explain why, and we're going to interview one of those analysts next.
COOPER: In court today, George Zimmerman's defense says it was Trayvon Martin who decided to confront Zimmerman and that Zimmerman was forced to act in self-defense to save his own life.
Now, the defense played a 911 call from a neighbor in which you can hear screams in the background. Audio experts who analyzed the call say the screams are not coming from Zimmerman, but the judge, Debra Nelson, ruled that those experts will not be allowed to testify. She says there's no evidence that their techniques are actually generally accepted. There's no, really, validity to them, she's saying. Going to speak with one of those so-called experts in just a moment. You're going to hear from him, and you can determine for yourself how you feel about it.
Here's some of the neighbor's 911 call, played in court today. Trayvon Martin's mother left the courtroom, but you'll see the camera go to his father about halfway through.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Nine-one-one. You need police, fire or medical?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Maybe both. I'm not sure. There's just someone screaming outside.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the address that they're near? Is this the town homes in Sanford?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And is it a male or female?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds like a male.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don't know why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know why. I think they're yelling "help," but I don't know. Just send someone quick, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Does he look hurt to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't see him, I don't want to go out there. I don't know what's going on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're coming.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he still yelling "help"?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you hear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just heard gunshots?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, two audio experts for the state, for the prosecution, were going to testify saying that they had determined through their own techniques that those cries were not George Zimmerman. They could not determine whose cries they were. They weren't saying it was Trayvon Martin. But again, the judge said their testimony would not be allowed.
I spoke with one of those forensic audio experts, Tom Owen.
COOPER: You don't believe that is George Zimmerman yelling for help. What makes you say that? TOM OWEN, FORENSIC AUDIO EXPERT (via phone): That's correct. Well, I conducted a study in 1985 and many -- many since that time about people when they scream. About 40 percent of all 911 calls contain screaming and distressed voices of one form or another. So I'm asked constantly to help, you know, untangle these sort of 911 calls, both acoustically and otherwise. So I developed a system of using pitch transposition to be able to compare a regular voice against higher frequency voice or a screaming voice.
COOPER: When somebody screams, it's a far different voice than they use when they're talking.
OWEN: That's correct. That's correct. But if you say the word "help me," your articulation, whether you're screaming it or not, your articulation is very similar. That's the way you move your mouth and your lips and your tongue and so forth and so on. And so as a result of that, that creates acoustical energy that can be relied upon. It makes it so you can use it as a spectrogram, measure it, make some measurements to compare it to something else.
My analysis, that's what I did. I started with Zimmerman saying, "Help me, help me, I need your help," from the re-enactment, and then I transcoded it up a third, a fourth, a sixth, which is about the same frequency as the screams, and then I added the screams. Then I compared them all.
COOPER: You didn't have Trayvon Martin's voice, which is why you're not saying it was Trayvon Martin's voice. You're simply saying in your opinion you don't believe it's George Zimmerman's voice.
OWEN: That's correct. That was misstated many times in my testimony by various people.
COOPER: The judge, as you know, ruled that you won't be able to testify about this tape. She says that your methods -- she says they're new; they're novel; they're not widely accepted. She said, quote, "There's no evidence to establish that their scientific techniques have been tested and found reliable."
OWEN: Biometric analysis, likelihood ratio, is over ten years old. It's used by the NSA, the CIA, Department of Defense, the entire country of Mexico, and 30 or 40 other countries and states. Just because she doesn't know about it doesn't mean it is not reliable.
COOPER: But it wasn't just the judge questioning the techniques. A senior FBI official testified that it was impossible to identify whose voice is screaming, saying the recording is too short; it doesn't meet the standards to be evaluated.
OWEN: Well, he says that there were -- in his opinion, there were only three seconds of usable audio. There's actually seven seconds and ten words.
COOPER: The judge also said that you had testified that you'd marketed and held a financial stake in the software program you used to evaluate the 911 call. Is that, in fact, the case? OWEN: To a certain extent, yes. I took a piece of software that's manufactured by a Russian company called Speech Technology Center and made it user-friendly or Windows-friendly, I should say, myself and several other individuals, and we all share in the -- if there's any profit, we all share in that.
COOPER: Tom Owen, I appreciate you talking to us. Thank you.
OWEN: All right, thank you.
COOPER: Well, the judge, Debra Nelson, isn't wasting any time setting the tone for what she's going to accept and won't accept in her courtroom. Here's just a couple of exchanges today where she's laying down the law, so to speak.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBRA NELSON, PRESIDING OVER TRIAL: Please don't go off focus here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no.
NELSON: Don't "no, no, no" me either.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. He's badgering the witness. Simple statement, now he's coming up with some fanciful thing of -- obviously Martin didn't think he was going to get the door smashed in his face.
NELSON: OK. Let's stop this right now. I have told counsel before, first of all, no one talks over the other. The court reporter can only take one person down at a time. I will not have any speaking objections in the courtroom. What is your legal objection?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's harassing the witness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: With me now are CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, and former L.A. deputy district attorney Marcia Clark.
Let's talk about this audio analysis. Jeff Toobin, I seem to recall who wrote in "The New Yorker" a really fascinating article a couple of years ago about arson investigations and how the science behind it was actually kind of proved to be junk science. Was that correct? Was that you that wrote that? And also, do you think that applies --
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It was -- it was my colleague David Grand (ph) who wrote it, a fabulous story about someone who was really unjustly executed, Tyrone Willingham in Texas. But I'm happy to take credit for it.
COOPER: Sorry. Thought it was you that wrote it. Do you think this is junk science, this whole audio analysis?
TOOBIN: Absolutely. I think the judge made an excellent decision.
You know, in 1993, the Supreme Court made a decision called Daubert, which said that judges have to serve as gatekeepers for science. Just because someone has a Ph.D., just because someone says, "I did an analysis," that's not good enough. It has to be science that has had testing through double-blind tests and the scientific method.
This sounds like classic junk science.
By the way, the jury can hear this tape for themselves and make a decision: "We think it sounds like one or the other." They don't need an expert. This was exactly the right decision by the judge.
COOPER: Does everybody on this panel agree with that?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. You know, I agree with it, but I think so many people are classifying this, Anderson, as a huge loss to the government, as a huge loss to the state. I don't agree with that. I think now what it set up is for people in Trayvon Martin's family to get on the witness stand and identify the voice as that of their family member. We know Sybrina Fulton is an elegant woman that's going to do quite well.
COOPER: Right. But people in Zimmerman's family are also saying -- but people in Zimmerman's family will also get on the stand and say that was George Zimmerman -- Mark.
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Exactly. Right. That's what his father has already testified to in the pretrial hearings.
This was a blow to the prosecution, because they needed this evidence for the second degree. This was what they were -- their linchpin for the second degree.
But I couldn't agree more with Jeff. This has to be one of the most bogus types of so-called evidence or science that I've seen try to get into a courtroom since that guy who came in and was going to identify human death smells in the Casey Anthony case. I mean, this thing had little or no chance of getting into evidence. I can't even believe that they put something on which they knew the FBI had already said, "We don't put any -- we don't put any stock in this." I mean, it's nonsense.
And the idea that Mexico uses it and, you know, Turkmenistan, and those are the bases upon which we're going to allow it into our American courtrooms is mind-boggling to me.
I'm sure Mr. Owens [SIC] is a very nice father and husband, but as far as getting into a courtroom, he belongs on your sister network, HLN.
COOPER: Just for the record, I don't believe he said Turkmenistan to bolster his argument.
But Marcia, there was a back and forth -- (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: OK. There was a back-and-forth at the beginning -- there was a back and forth at the beginning of the day on whether Zimmerman's parents and Martin's parents could be in the courtroom for the trial, because they're all potential witnesses.
Judge Nelson ruled that Martin's parents could stay, because there's an exemption for immediate family of the victim.
I just want to put part of the prosecution's opening statement, describing how officers attempted to revive Trayvon Martin at the scene, and you can see his father's reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: They hold that, if you are to try to give mouth to mouth to somebody, that you go to your car first and you get a breathing mask to separate your mouth from their mouth. Well, Sergeant Raimondo realized there was no time for that. So he put his lips on Trayvon Martin's lips and tried to breathe life into him. And Officer Ayala put his palms on Trayvon Martin's chest and tried to push life into him. But it was too late. Trayvon Martin had already passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Obviously a very dramatic, moving statement by the prosecutor. The impact of having Trayvon Martin's family sitting there watching is what?
MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Oh, it does have an impact. The jurors know who they are, and they watch and they notice. And they take in a lot of things in the courtroom, but certainly, the reactions of the family are noticed by jurors. They've told me so themselves. They don't miss this.
And how could they not? I don't know that it necessarily bodes for a conviction, but it certainly does humanize the victim, and that's always an important thing for the prosecution to do.
COOPER: Yes. Sunny Hostin, Jeff Toobin, Mark Geragos, Marcia Clark, good to have you all on the program. Thank you very much.
Coming up, where in the world is NSA leaker Edward Snowden? We'll get to that: what we know right now about his search for a safe haven next. Be right back.
COOPER: Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following. Randy Kay has a news update -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, tonight there is no sign of NSA leaker Edward Snowden. He was last seen yesterday in Moscow. It was thought he might fly to Havana, Cuba, today on the way to Ecuador, where he's seeking asylum, but was not on any flight today from Moscow to Havana.
News about the health of Nelson Mandela is not good. Officials say the condition of the former South African president has worsened over the past day. Mandela is in a Pretoria hospital being treated for a lung infection. He is 94.
And James Gandolfini's body has been returned to the U.S. It arrived at Newark Airport on a charter flight from Rome where the 51-year-old actor died of a heart attack last week. A funeral service for Gandolfini will held on Thursday in New York City -- Anderson.
COOPER: Fifty-one, so young. Randi, thank you very much.
That's it for us. Join us again tomorrow night for our special coverage of the George Zimmerman trial at 10 p.m. Eastern, all week long, at 10 p.m. Eastern. Another edition of 360 with all of the day's stories is coming up right after the break.