Return to Transcripts main page

PIERS MORGAN LIVE

Star Witness Back on Stand

Aired June 27, 2013 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Tonight, drama in the courtroom. Trayvon Martin's friend takes the stand for the second day. A teenage girl who has got a very unique way of making "sir" sound like an insult.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL JEANTEL, WITNESS: He did not tell me that, sir. He just told me he trying to get home, sir, but the man was still following -- following him, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And the last moment of Trayvon Martin's life captured on a chilling 911 call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he's yelling help?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is you --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's gunshots.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: We'll break down on today's testimony plus more on the woman everyone has been watching and talking about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANTEL: Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Who is Rachel Jeantel? Also, one of the 27 NFL players charged with a crime since the Super Bowl.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Despite the fact he has a fiancee and a baby and is a homeowner, he also has a means to flee and a bracelet wouldn't stop him nor would $250,000. Denying the bail. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: But does the NFL have an image problem, or will the fans forgive as they normally do?

I want to begin, though, with the teenage girl that's become the most talked about witness in the George Zimmerman trial so far. Rachel Jeantel took the stand today for a second day and face a heated cross examination from the defense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON WEST, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: If you thought it was just a fight because it was one you knew that Trayvon Martin was planning to start?

JEANTEL: No, sir. He would have told me, sir, and told me to call him back or he'll call me back, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: CNN's Martin Savidge is outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida, with all the latest.

Martin, a rather dramatic change in the way that she conducted herself today.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes, absolutely, Piers. That's the first everybody noticed was, one, she dressed slightly different but in a way that looked she had been advised to maybe be a little demure. And she sounded that way, too, with of course, the "yes, sir." Unfortunately, just as you point out, the more she said "yes, sir," it got a sharper and sharper edge to it.

The defense worked very hard to try to disassemble her account. And they were successful in some ways. Don West was trying to show that she had given testimony prior to getting on the stand that differed -- and in some ways different significantly with what she was saying on the stand. But then just as you played there, that very tense showdown, there were a number of them where they went toe to toe. She's 19 and he's a veteran defense expert, and she held her ground. I mean on these serious issues she stood firm.

The question is, will the jury believe her account?

MORGAN: Let's take a look at her demeanor. We've got a little clip here to play.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEST: And you didn't have any information from the news that this was a racially charged event?

JEANTEL: No, I don't watch the news.

WEST: OK. Are you OK this morning? JEANTEL: Yes.

WEST: You seem so different than yesterday. Just checking. Did someone talk --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that a question?

WEST: Yes. Did someone talk with you last night about your demeanor in court yesterday?

JEANTEL: No, I went to sleep.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: "I went to sleep." I mean, you know, I watched most of it, Martin, live today and I found it quite gripping because they have a 19-year-old, not very well educated young girl, up against a super bright criminal attorney on the attack, and I genuinely felt by the end that she held her own and, although I didn't think that everything she said was likely to be entirely accurate, given her age and experience of dealing with these things, I did find her quite a credible witness.

SAVIDGE: Right, and I think that was part of the problem for the defense because this went on for so long and the longer it went on, the more people began to observe exactly what you were saying, is that here you had a man who was an expert at talking to witnesses. Here you have a young lady who was probably never had to testify in the national spotlight before and she did seem to hold up.

Did she speak the way most people would speak? No, she didn't use the King's English or anything like that, but she did hold firm to what she has maintained, and as I say, that courtroom really was taking sides. Some rooting, some just not believing what they were hearing.

MORGAN: Martin Savidge, another gripping day in court. Thank you very much indeed. I'm sure we'll talk again tomorrow.

I want to bring in now Natalie Jackson. She's an attorney for Trayvon Martin's family.

Natalie, welcome back to the show.

NATALIE JACKSON, MARTIN FAMILY CO-COUNSEL: Thanks for having me, Piers.

MORGAN: A fascinating day and really all about this young lady Rachel. You know her better than I do and better than most people do. Tell me about her. What kind of woman is she?

JACKSON: Well, actually, I've only met her once but I will tell you, this is a person who did not want to testify. She didn't want to talk to Sabrina Fulton about this case and she certainly didn't want to talk to police officers about this case. She was -- I think we have to put her into context, Piers. This is a -- she's 19 years old. She heard her friend die. She heard the last moments of her friend's life. She didn't find out about it until later that he died from that phone conversation.

She -- since then this has become a national spotlight case so everyone in the world has been criticizing her testimony that's been all over the Internet, her interview, the way she speaks, the way they thought she looked because they thought she was someone else. You know, it's not -- it's not easy for a 19-year-old and even today I said Rachel Jeantel had to go through it for a year and a half and she's going to have to keep going through it.

People need to understand. This is not her first time meeting Don West. She's been drilled and deposed by Don West prior to -- her testimony on the stand. She does not like him and he has frankly made his disdain for her.

MORGAN: Right, and I think she's definitely held her own, if not edged it I would argue. I want to play a clip now. This is one of the more contentious moments of today's testimony. Let's play this and I'll come to you for your reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEST: It made you think it was racial?

JEANTEL: Yes.

WEST: And that's because he described him as a creepy ass cracker?

JEANTEL: Yes.

WEST: So it was racial, but it was because Trayvon Martin put race in this?

JEANTEL: No.

WEST: You don't think that's a racial comment?

JEANTEL: No.

WEST: You don't think that creepy ass cracker is a racial comment?

JEANTEL: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: So, Natalie, let's discuss, Natalie, creepy ass cracker because the country that I come from, if you're called a cracker, it means you're exceptionally good looking. And I think it's safe to assume that is not what was intended in this context. So would you use that phrase? I mean, I'm not saying you ever would in polite company, but is it an offensive term?

JACKSON: It's an offensive term. However, I think she cleared it up later because if you listen to her testimony in whole, she also said that Trayvon said this nigger is following me. So they used -- he used nigger and creepy ass cracker interchangeably to describe Zimmerman. So what she explained later is that is slang in the neighborhood that she grows up in.

MORGAN: Right, but what is --

JACKSON: It's a slang word for someone you don't like.

MORGAN: Right. Let's just clear up, what is a creepy ass cracker and what does it actually mean?

JACKSON: Well, I think creepy, you know, speaks for itself. It's someone that is weird, that is just following you, suspicious, and just, you know, gives you the chill -- that makes you afraid. In Florida and I guess other southern states, cracker is -- some people embrace the term, it's just the way that nigger is used among the black community among some people so I -- it's offensive --

MORGAN: But is it -- is it a derogatory --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Is it a derogatory term -- is it a derogatory term used by black people about white people?

JACKSON: It's a derogatory term used by white people about white people and black people about white people, yes.

MORGAN: OK. But as far as you are concerned, from your knowledge of young people and maybe other trials that you've been involved with and so on, it would not be deemed automatically to be a racist slur?

JACKSON: I would deem it a racist slur, so I mean, it's all where you're from, Piers, and that's been the problem with this whole -- you know, this whole case is that people want to categorize and group certain people or certain races and think that they all have the same thoughts, the same way of speech. They don't. We don't. We're not a homogenous group. So among my friends, yes, it's a derogatory term. Around DD's friends it means that dude. So it just --

MORGAN: Right. Yes.

JACKSON: I'm sorry, around Rachel's friends. I'm used to calling her -- but around Rachel's friends, it means that dude.

MORGAN: And tell me --

JACKSON: So it depends on where you're at.

MORGAN: Right. I think that's absolutely right and she clearly is from a different generation to Don West and that led to some quite entertaining exchanges even given the severity of what was going on. And I sort of admired her tenacity in the way she stood up to him. But there was one thing I want to check with you. We seem to in the subject some conjecture. There is a report that she went to Miami Senior High and studied criminal justice for awhile.

Do you know about that? JACKSON: I don't know about that. Like I said, I've only met her once. It was a short period of time. Since that time, I have not had any contact with her.

MORGAN: OK. Let's just move on to Trayvon's family. It's obviously been already very upsetting and distressing in parts for them. How are they dealing with the reality of this trial now?

JACKSON: I think for them once again, they feel like their son is being put on trial as opposed to George Zimmerman. So I think that you can understand that. Here we have a kid who was walking home from the store, talking to a friend on the phone, and people are wondering if he did something wrong because he was shot and through the heart with a hollow point bullet. So I -- I mean, I think you can understand their feelings. It's hard --

MORGAN: No -- absolutely. I mean, it's heartbreaking for any parent to have to go through this yet again the way they've had to for the most of the last year or so.

In terms of the way the legal case is playing out and in particular the evidence of Rachel Jeantel, are you feeling quite confident that you've established now from everything that we've seen and heard in the first few days certainly a clear indication that it looks like George Zimmerman was following Trayvon Martin and that could be significant?

JACKSON: Yes, I think that it's been clear. We've had, you know, witnesses talk about that but we didn't need witnesses for that. We heard George Zimmerman say he was following Trayvon Martin by his own words. So that's been clear. What Rachel Jeantel established was that George Zimmerman started the confrontation. That was the crux of her testimony. She said that she heard George Zimmerman approach Trayvon. She said that she heard Trayvon saying get off. That was the crux.

Her statement on those two things have never changed from beginning to end through all her testimony and all her interviews.

MORGAN: Natalie Jackson -- Natalie Jackson, thank you very much indeed again for joining me.

JACKSON: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: Here now to break down the dramatic day in the courtroom is Vinnie Politan, he's the host of "In Session," defense attorney Jayne Weintraub, and Gloria Allred.

Welcome to all three of you.

Let's start with you, Gloria, as you have the great honor of being -- sitting opposite me and in gleaming orange today. Green yesterday, orange today. It's like a fashion show with you this week.

Let's get serious. This is a riveting case. It is something that is now capturing the attention of the whole of America. And this young lady, Rachel Jeantel, today electrified everybody. I was on Twitter watching the reaction. It was extreme both ways and if you want to, by the way, tweet me at piersmorgan, give me your view about this trial so far, but really very, very, very riveting, fascinating testimony. But from a legal prospective, where are we?

GLORIA ALLRED, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, I think that she did take some punches. I mean, it's difficult to be under cross examination. It's like having invasive heart surgery without anesthesia. Yesterday she seemed to be a very different person than she was today. I don't know if she went to military boot camp overnight and then started sir so much today or someone perhaps, maybe, advised her about appropriate courtroom demeanor.

But whatever, she was much better today. However, I think the creepy ass cracker comment that you asked about, I think that's important because I think that the defense is trying to show that in fact, it was Trayvon Martin who perhaps may have hidden and then jumped out at George Zimmerman and that --

MORGAN: It could be his own form of racial profiling.

ALLRED: Yes --

MORGAN: It's what they were trying to get at.

ALLRED: Because he had maybe some racial animus or hostility or fear toward --

MORGAN: Do you think it's a -- is it a racial slur?

ALLRED: Well, definitely is a racial slur. It is offensive. It means different things in different communities, but even Trayvon Martin's family's attorney just then conceded that it is a racial slur.

MORGAN: Right.

ALLRED: But she says it may mean some dude. But it definitely is going to, I think, be argued by the defense there was a reason that they wanted to keep bringing that out.

MORGAN: Right.

ALLRED: And bringing it home to the jury and repeating it and because it ties into their theory that maybe he was the one who began the assault on George Zimmerman.

MORGAN: Vinnie Politan, what did you make of it? Because clearly, it does, as Natalie Jackson said, it comes down to two key things, I think. One is, was George Zimmerman following Trayvon Martin against the instructions of the authorities? We know from the tape he was told not to do that and did he start the confrontation, the altercation with Trayvon Martin or not? Because if both those things are true and I'll verify it to be true as this trial continues, very hard to see how he can successfully argue self-defense. VINNIE POLITAN, HOST OF IN SESSION AND HLN'S "MAKING IT IN AMERICA": Yes, but here's the problem, OK. You've got two people there at the moment of confrontation, only one survives to tell the story. So George Zimmerman is around and he can tell his version. What the prosecution had, the closest they had to Trayvon Martin in that courtroom was Rachel Jeantel today.

So her credibility, her story, her account of what she heard is so important for the prosecution, and they have the burden, Piers. They've got to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, and to rely on her is going to be difficult, but we'll see what the six women of Seminole County thought of this young woman on the stand.

MORGAN: Right. Absolutely a crucial part of all this. It's all women.

Let's take a short break, come back and get Jayne's verdict on this, and you're a defense attorney. I want to see how you think the defense is doing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEST: So the last thing you heard was some kind of noise like something hitting somebody?

JEANTEL: That Trayvon got hit -- Trayvon got hit.

WEST: You don't know that, do you?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: You don't know that Trayvon got hit.

JEANTEL: He could -- yes.

WEST: You don't know that Trayvon didn't at that moment take his fist and drive it into George Zimmerman's face.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please lower your voice.

WEST: Do you?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: The prosecution's star witness facing intense questioning from the defense but will Rachel Jeantel's testimony be the key to the case and does the jury believe her?

Back with me now, Vinnie Politan, Jayne Weintraub and Gloria Allred.

Let's go to you, Jayne, if I may, straight away from a defense point of view. Very, very hard pushing there by Don West, trying to plant an image in the jury's head of look, Trayvon Martin clearly threw the first punch here or the first blow in this altercation.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it's very difficult road to go down, but as a defense lawyer on cross-examination it's not his job to be nice. She was an absolute gift to the defense. Every time that everybody is talking giving her a pass because she's 19 years old and only a child, we put people in military at 18. So she's not a little child. She's very experienced. These aren't inconsistencies, these are lies.

These aren't about small things. They're about huge things. She did admit to three very important things for the defense today. One, she admitted that he did call George Zimmerman a racial slur. Two, she admitted that he acknowledged that he was getting angrier and angrier as he was being followed or his perception was he was getting damn mad at George Zimmerman so that's revving him up.

And the most important thing that she acknowledged was that Trayvon Martin said to George Zimmerman, why you following me? And that is the initial beginning of the confrontation. Everybody can say what they want. The bottom line, who was on top at what moment and what -- when because in tussling they probably went both rounds. George Zimmerman immediately was bloodied, had a broken nose to show.

The woman from his -- his neighbor didn't even recognize him within five minutes and the back of his head was smashed in on the cement. That did not happen being on top and being the aggressor --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Hang on. Hang on. Hang on one second.

POLITAN: Go ahead, Piers.

MORGAN: I mean, we don't -- Vinnie, you take over.

POLITAN: OK. Here is the thing, though, in Trayvon initiating the conversation, you have to take it in context. She also described how Trayvon was saying, he was behind him. He was following him. Why is George Zimmerman still pursuing him? His -- his direct quote to the investigators the next day at the scene is that, I walked straight back to my car. Well, this confrontation was this way, so he didn't go straight back to the car.

WEINTRAUB: Vinnie, you know better.

POLITAN: He lied to police about that.

WEINTRAUB: Justifiable use of force under the law. It doesn't matter what he should have done. Look, he shouldn't have had a gun.

POLITAN: He is lying, though.

(CROSSTALK)

WEINTRAUB: Nobody should have a gun that gets --

POLITAN: Why is he lying to police?

WEINTRAUB: So was she. That's not what --

(CROSSTALK)

POLITAN: But he's on trial --

MORGAN: Let me bring in -- OK. Let me -- let me bring in Gloria. Gloria?

ALLRED: I was going to say, though, you know, we talked a lot about Stand Your Ground law in this case but I think that she stood her ground and obviously, as she doesn't have perfect testimony, some lies have been pointed out. She had explanations for why she lied about going to the hospital instead of the funeral. She had explanations about why she lied about her age and maybe even about why her mother's name had signed the letter.

WEINTRAUB: Gloria, she's 17.

ALLRED: Having said that, you know, I think that there are people who are going to believe her. There are people who are going to disbelieve her. The problem is she is a prosecution witness, and she really needed to bring it home, and I'm not sure that she did bring it home to every member of the jury.

MORGAN: Well, OK. Well, let's watch a couple of clips here. These are two of the crucial bits of her testimony. The first one -- let's watch this. This is about hiding in the bushes. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEST: So he told you that he could see the man again and the man was behind him, correct?

JEANTEL: Yes, close.

WEST: Sure.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And if he were hiding somewhere and the man walked close to him, they would be close together, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, argumentative.

(CROSSTALK)

WEST: In any event, your sense of it was that they got close together at that point?

JEANTEL: He got close to Trayvon, yes, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And the second clip I want to play straight away, this involves the actual assault on what Rachel said about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEST: You're saying that if Trayvon Martin was getting ready to assault this man that he would have said, hang on a minute, I'll call you back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Same objection, argumentative.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just one second. Overruled.

JEANTEL: No, sir. He would not let me on the phone --

WEST: But you wouldn't --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, sir, he would not --

JEANTEL: Allow me on the phone with him if he was about to have a fight.

WEST: I didn't --

JEANTEL: Sir.

WEST: I didn't understand that. Say that again? What about that he would have told you if he was getting ready to have a fight?

JEANTEL: If he was going to confront the man, he would have told me, I'm about to confront the man and see what he wants. He did not tell me that, sir. He just told me he trying to get home, sir, but the man was still following me -- following him, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: See, Vinnie, Vinnie Politan, see, as I've always thought from the start of this, the bottom line is George Zimmerman didn't have to get out of his car. Didn't have to go after Trayvon Martin. The guy was unarmed, 17-year-old kid with a bag of Skittles. I just don't understand how he can successfully claim complete self-defense when all of the aggressive action until the point of this collision is from him.

He's got out the car. He's defied advice of the authorities on the phone, and as she said there, Rachel, in her testimony, would she have carried on talking to him on the telephone right to that point, if Trayvon was the guy going after Zimmerman?

POLITAN: Right, if you're hiding in the bushes in the darkness waiting to assault someone, why are you on the phone talking to your girlfriend or talking to your friend? That's a problem that the defense absolutely has. The other problem is George Zimmerman's inconsistent versions. You know, we're grilling this 19-year-old. She's not on trial. George Zimmerman is and he's given multiple accounts with slightly different versions of what Trayvon Martin is saying to him and --

WEINTRAUB: Vinnie, but he had a lawful right to be there.

POLITAN: No, no --

WEINTRAUB: And that's what the law --

POLITAN: But you don't have a lawful right to lie to police.

WEINTRAUB: But, Vinnie, you keep going back to that. There were three elements --

POLITAN: Yes.

WEINTRAUB: To get a conviction in this case. The first, to use justifiable force, and the first is was he committing a crime? The answer is no. He was lawfully where he was allowed to be, George Zimmerman. Number two, was he --

POLITAN: Well, was he lawfully -- no, no, if he begins the confrontation, he's not lawfully there.

WEINTRAUB: He is lawfully on the property, was he not? Yes.

POLITAN: OK.

WEINTRAUB: And he was doing nothing inappropriate.

POLITAN: But if he's going up and put his hands on Trayvon Martin and stopping him, that's not lawful anymore.

WEINTRAUB: We don't know who put whose hands on who first. That's the problem.

POLITAN: That's the trial is about.

ALLRED: You know, the question -- the question --

WEINTRAUB: We don't know when --

MORGAN: Gloria? Gloria?

ALLRED: The problem is her testimony has evolved over a period of time and she has been discredited somewhat. So how much is going to be believed? Will they feel that some lies cause them not to believe all of her testimony or just part of her testimony? Did they find her authentic but not truthful but not reliable? These are some of the questions that the jury is going to have to resolve.

MORGAN: OK. Gloria, Jayne, and Vinnie, thank you all very much indeed. I'm sure we'll have you back.

POLITAN: Thank you.

MORGAN: Some riveting case. The country is of course talking about Rachel Jeantel's testimony. What does a jury think? A closer look at the star witness in the George Zimmerman trial. That's coming next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Rachel Jeantel is the star witness. But what does that all- female jury think of her and her testimony?

Joining me now is criminal defense attorney and HLN contributor, Mel Robbins, jury consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, Judge Glenda Hatchett, the host of "Judge Hatchett," and writer, communication strategist Maya Francis.

Welcome to all of you.

Let me start with you, Mel Robbins. You were there in court today. How would you assess the temperature of the jury as all this was going down between Rachel Jeantel and Don West?

MEL ROBBINS, HLN CONTRIBUTOR, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I can tell you exactly what was going on. First of all, I'll walk you down the line, Piers. You've got the woman that is Hispanic sitting in the front, and what was interesting about her today, she did not look at Rachel barely once in the 45 minutes that I was sitting there watching it. She had her eyes focused on the attorneys, Piers. She did not want to be there at all. She didn't like Rachel at all. She didn't look at anything.

Then you had the -- you had the juror next to her, she's the woman that had the concealed weapons permit, also called the police on kids in her neighborhood that were doing graffiti. She was visibly turned off, as well.

The next two jurors were big note takers. They had their heads down and they watched the exchange like this and so it was a ping-pong match, yes, sir, no, sir, yes, sir, no, sir, and then the woman behind them -- this was interesting -- she was also intently leaned forward and there was a moment where she couldn't understand what Rachel was saying and she raised her hand and said, could she repeat that?

And so I would say about half of this jury is engaged. They are taking notes. The other half, the other three women, Piers, are turned off by the disrespect, by the tone, by the demeanor and that's a problem.

MORGAN: OK. Let's go to Jo-Ellan Dimitrius. This is your wheel house. You're a jury consultant and expert. What would you make of that analysis of the -- of the all-female six-woman jury?

JO-ELLAN DIMITRIUS, JURY CONSULTANT: Well, fascinating and it doesn't surprise me at all, Piers, because as I looked at her coming into the courtroom, this is the first witness that anybody has seen in this case and she comes in and I'm sorry, she comes in in jeans and a sweater and a little blouse. It's not exactly creating the image of what I think the prosecution wants to present. It does not have the respect that usually a witness has when they walk into the courtroom, number one. Number two, I think her demeanor in terms of how she responded to the defense yesterday before she was worked with last night certainly did not show again any respect for what happens in the courtroom.

Jurors are painfully aware of a witness coming in. This becomes their home and when they see a witness react the way that Rachel did, that's going to be very disturbing, and we also know, finally, that women are much harder on other women than men are in evaluating a woman.

MORGAN: Well, that is true. Let's go to Maya Francis. I mean, having said all that, as I say, I watched it all live and I did find her not only a compelling witness, but also somebody that overall I tended to believe, even though she was awkward and a bit edgy and confrontational and so on.

MAYA K. FRANCIS, WRITER, COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIST: Well, for me, I thought that, you know, there was a lot of flak that Rachel caught with respect to her demeanor and what people expect of her. And I think that it's important to recognize that she's 19. She's, you know, been a witness to a horrible crime, and she's sitting feet away from someone whose admitted to killing one of her good friends.

I mean, I think that that would, you know, any of us, you know, at 19 be that polished to be able to relive over and over and over again those excruciating details? I thought that the defense after awhile really started to look like a bunch of bullies because they were trying to trip her up and regardless of what you think of her delivery, she was consistent.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBBINS: Yes, but let's be honest --

MORGAN: Judge Glenda Hatchett --

ROBBINS: I think the real problem is --

JUDGE GLENDA HATCHETT, HOST, "JUDGE HATCHET": No, but let me just say this. I think that -- I wouldn't go as far to say that she was consistent, but I would say, Piers, that I thought that she was authentic. Because she could have come in and said all these floury wonderful things and yes, I heard Zimmerman threaten to kill him. I mean, she really wanted to come in and say some things and really be a liar, she could have.

MORGAN: Right.

HATCHETT: But instead, she made the comments about the -- you know what he said, was it distasteful? Yes, it was. But I think there's a generational as well as a cultural gap. That is not to excuse the comment, but I think that between the defense attorney today and this witness, I really think the longer she was on the stand, the more sympathetic that she became. I really do. I think that she left there in much better shape than she came in there. MORGAN: Yes, that's what I thought. And Mel Robbins --

FRANCIS: I also think --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: I have to say, my overview, Mel, was that was pretty much what I felt as a --

ROBBINS: Yes.

MORGAN: As a viewer watching.

ROBBINS: Well, here's the deal.

FRANCIS: Yes, and I think it's important to recognize, too --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Let Mel -- let Mel speak.

ROBBINS: So look, being in the courtroom with her, I believe she came off as credible, but not reliable. And that means that the prosecution didn't win with their star witness because they are not going to meet the burden. I mean, at this point, you know, part of the problem with this witness is that yes, after seven hours on the stand, was she better off at the end than she was --

(CROSSTALK)

DIMITRIUS: You know, the reality is --

ROBBINS: They didn't get where they needed to go.

HATCHETT: But we don't need to rule --

DIMITRIUS: The reality is, though, that --

HATCHETT: The prosecution doesn't have to win --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: OK. Wait, wait, wait, OK. OK. Let's take this one at a time. Want to jump in, Jo-Ellan?

DIMITRIUS: Yes. The reality is she was not consistent in her statements. She's been giving statements to the police. She's given statements in depositions, and she's not being consistent, and granted, I will give her her age as being an underlying factor, perhaps in some of that, but these are all of the pieces of the puzzle that the jurors are going to be evaluating as this trial goes on, and the fact that you have --

MORGAN: OK, OK.

DIMITRIUS: -- three female jurors who basically weren't listening to me says --

MORGAN: Right.

DIMITRIUS: -- that she was not at all credible.

MORGAN: OK. Glenda, you -- quickly to Glenda, I mean, my view about that was, of course, of course -- of course, you're going to say something different to a grieving mother to her than you are to, say, a criminal attorney or to the police.

HATCHETT: And I have been a witness. As a trained lawyer, and it's not easy being on the stand and I was at a funeral of a friend who was murdered my freshman year in college, and I was devastated. So I can't imagine what this young woman is going through. It's not to excuse all that's happened but there are going to be other inconsistencies with other witnesses and I don't believe that the prosecution's case rests solely with this one witness and I do think that she established the fact that Trayvon was being followed.

I think that she established the fact that he was frightened and he was trying to get away, and I think all of those are positive points for the prosecution.

MORGAN: Yes, I agree. Maya, final word to you.

FRANCIS: I also think, too, it's important -- yes, I just think that it's important to recognize, as well, when she was on the stand that there are a lot of generational and cultural gaps that were on display and I think the fallout that she's received is really indicative of those gaps, not only in the courtroom but in the country, as well.

I mean, if you look at Twitter, you know, it exploded yesterday, you know, and people wanting to know who is this girl and why doesn't she look like me? Why isn't she doing what I need her to do? And I think it's important to realize that you don't have to understand something in order to respect it, and so I hope that that's something that the jury walks away with.

HATCHETT: And English is --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Yes. We got to -- we got to leave it there.

HATCHETT: The bottom line is.

MORGAN: Ladies, I'm sorry.

HATCHETT: English is not her first --

MORGAN: You could go at this all night long. I actually like this panel. Come back again, maybe even as early as tomorrow. I really like this. But we've got to leave it there. One thing's for sure, I've got three teenage sons, they will definitely be calling me a creepy ass cracker by tomorrow morning. That is what happens in these trials when you have Twitter involved but thank you all very much indeed.

Still ahead, what's coming up in court tomorrow and next the other high-profile murder case unfolding tonight. An ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez charged with murder and now under suspicion in another double-murder homicide.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez is charged with murder in the death last week of a friend but now police are investigating whether he's involved in another crime, a double homicide in Boston last year.

He's just the latest NFL star to be charged with a crime but does the league have an image problem, or fans forgive and forget?

Well, joining me now is CNN's Rachel Nichols and ESPN.com columnist Rick Reilly.

Rachel, I have Bob Costas on recently, talking about this gun culture that pervades the NFL but what was also clear to me was despite all these incidents, Jovan Belcher and now this and so on, no real evidence it has any direct damaging effect on the NFL as an institution as far as the fans' reaction.

RACHEL NICHOLS, ANCHOR, CNN SPORTS: Yes, I mean, people aren't watching to see whether the Patriots or the Jets are better citizens. They're watching to see them beat on each other. So I think people in general expect the NFL players to play. They are not as interested in their off court -- in their off-field lives but it's when it reaches a tipping point that it becomes a problem and a few years ago the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, decided that it was getting close to that tipping point.

He instituted a tougher set of rules. He can suspend players earlier for off-field incidents, he can do it before they're even convicted. They don't really get any kind of trial. He's judge and jury. So they're making an effort to clean things up for fans but honestly, it doesn't seem like the fans care very much. You're seeing ratings go up and up and up and up.

MORGAN: Right.

NICHOLS: The NFL wins the night all the time.

MORGAN: Right. Rick Reilly, I mean, that is an undeniable fact. The NFL is so strict now with rules. Even the player's socks have to be measured to make sure they hit the right height. What is not being measured are their gun cabinets. Is this a sign of a problem endemic to the NFL or is it a wider issue about American culture and America's relationship with guns, and the fact that actually crime rate in the NFL and the players is probably not dissimilar to the crime rate outside the NFL?

RICK REILLY, ESPN.COM COLUMNIST: Well, exactly. I mean, they're worrying about the mice and the elephants are running over the sport. I mean, this is now the 27th player arrested since the Super Bowl. That's half of one team. There is a drug -- gun culture in the NFL, and it's a lethal mix because players, young players with suddenly all this money, they are also taught to be very ferocious and violent on the field and then somehow be a good citizen off it.

And they don't know how to do that. There's not a single psychiatrist on any NFL team. In fact there's only one psychiatrist that works full time for any pro-sports team and that's the Dallas Mavericks. And there should be. There should be somebody with these guys on the road, at home, anonymously so they can come into their office, their hotel room and talk about problems because whatever they are doing now is not enough.

There should be -- if you're caught with a gun violation, you should get a two-year ban from the league. They --

(CROSSTALK)

NICHOLS: And guys --

REILLY: They can ride into -- into the collective bargaining agreement.

MORGAN: Rachel -- yes, Rachel.

REILLY: If they're caught --

MORGAN: I mean --

REILLY: In a nightclub after 1:00 you're out for a year.

NICHOLS: I don't disagree with Rick at all.

MORGAN: Right. Rachel -- Rachel, what do you think of that.

NICHOLS: Well, I don't disagree with Rick at all that it might not be enough, but I do want to say very respectfully that there are psychologists on a lot of these teams. The Dallas Cowboys have somebody, the Kansas City Chiefs, director of player development is a psychologist. She has a masters in psychology. So there are several teams that do employ psychologists. In fact, the NFL has now instituted --

REILLY: But Rachel --

NICHOLS: -- a mandatory eight-session mental health and sort of off- field issue sessions for rookies. They're getting some things. Are they getting enough is the question and what are they doing to take advantage of it --

REILLY: But Rachel --

NICHOLS: -- is the other question, too.

REILLY: It's naive. The league is naive. They're not going to go to the psychiatrist that reports to the owner and the coach because he's going to -- on the mavericks, he does not report to Mark Cuban. He is anonymous. You know, it's like that ride program they have in the NFL. Yes, call us if you're drunk, except they're going to tell the coach and the general manager immediately that you were drunk.

They need to make it -- what they are doing now isn't working. They've got to make it work for the players, so they don't think they're going to be ratted out as soon as they go for any kind of help because right now players don't like to use it.

NICHOLS: If you look at --

MORGAN: I mean, Rachel, Rachel, Rachel, let me ask you a question. Rachel, let me ask you a question.

What strikes me as amazing about this particular case, here's a guy who's just signed a $40 million contract.

NICHOLS: Yes.

MORGAN: And yet he has the arrogance or whatever it may be to take out allegedly a friend of his to a random location and effectively execute him. What does that tell you about the mindset of some of these players?

NICHOLS: Well, it tells me about the mindset of Aaron Hernandez if, in fact, this is true. I think we have to be a little careful about painting every player in the NFL with this broader brush. There are 1700 players in the NFL. If you took the number that Rick quoted, 27, 29 players arrested since the Super Bowl. That's less than 2 percent.

If the look at what the FBI statistics are for the general population, arrests for people in the U.S., their arrest percentage is around 4, 4.5 percent. So we are talking about a problem. These are role models for kids. We want to see these players behave better. We want to see them get help, as Rick points out, some of them need more help from us, from the NFL but let's not pretend that every guy in the NFL is running around shooting people. That's just not what's happening.

MORGAN: OK. Rachel Nichols, got to leave it there. Interesting debate. Thank you both very much indeed.

Coming up, a look ahead to tomorrow's witnesses in the trial of George Zimmerman.

First, NSA leaker Edward Snowden is still on the run. I'll talk to the man who knows more than most about American surveillance programs, that coming next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker. I continue to be concerned about the other documents that he may have. That's part of the reason why we would like to have Mr. Snowden in custody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Even in Africa, President Obama facing questions about the NSA leaker. As far as we know, Edward Snowden still somewhere in the Moscow airport. A wanted man but one that continues to frustrate Washington.

And joining me now is Mike Mukasey, he's the attorney general under George W. Bush, who says Snowden has done real damage.

Mike, welcome back to the show. I want to start with a different story and then come to Edward Snowden. There's a report tonight that the former second highest ranking officer in the U.S. military, Marine General James Hoff Cartwright, is now the target of a Justice Department investigation into an alleged leak of classified information about a covert U.S. cyber attack on Iran's nuclear program. We've now confirmed this at CNN.

What is your reaction to this?

MIKE MUKASEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, my reaction is regret, number one. General Cartwright is a very capable soldier and a terrific -- made terrific contributions to the intelligence capability of this country. And I -- if he is, in fact, the source of the information, it's hard for me to believe that it was done without approval.

MORGAN: Right. So approval from whom, would you surmise?

MUKASEY: Well, the White House is a very small place.

MORGAN: So your suggestion, obviously, very well-informed suggestion from your background, is the White House would have directed him to do this?

MUKASEY: It's not well-informed. It's -- look, his lawyer is -- his lawyer is a former White House counsel. The nature of the information that was released was such that somebody of his stature I don't think would have released it without at least a wink and a nod from somebody in authority.

MORGAN: And that would be from the White House?

MUKASEY: Yes. That's my initial reaction.

MORGAN: Right. I say extraordinary development and we'll see what happens.

MUKASEY: And -- you will also be interested to know who leaked the story about the investigation.

MORGAN: Right. Absolutely. Yes. Probably also from the White House.

Let's just turn to Edward Snowden. And "The Guardian" newspaper in Britain reported that you were serving as attorney general of George W. Bush at the time that you and Defense Secretary Bob Gates signed a document that OK'd the collection of mining of Americans' e-mail metadata in a program called Stellar Wind.

First of all, is that true?

MUKASEY: I can't really discuss that program, which as far as I know is still classified. I can tell you that, in general, this has been reported, the United States has the -- the FISA court has directed various information providers to give the government metadata that they can use to construct a plan of how -- or to plot how it is that terrorists talk to one another, and they can consult that metadata only when there's a reasonable showing that it's related to an investigation.

MORGAN: Do you believe overall, from Edward Snowden story to date, do you believe that President Obama and his administration have acted entirely properly?

MUKASEY: Properly in what sense?

MORGAN: I suppose first legally and second ethically.

MUKASEY: As far -- in collection of information?

MORGAN: Yes.

MUKASEY: Absolutely.

MORGAN: All the stuff that Snowden has revealed.

MUKASEY: Absolutely. Absolutely. Snowden is what is called within the trade of communicator, which doesn't really mean that he communicates anything, he seems to be -- he simply sets up communications or did when he was working within the system. He's the sort of guy who 30 years ago would have worn a tool belt to work.

He obviously made off with information he should not have made off with information. But so far as collecting the information, I don't have a problem with that.

MORGAN: Michael Mukasey, it's always good to talk to you. Thank you very much for joining me.

MUKASEY: Good to be here.

MORGAN: And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper's CNN special "Self-Defense or Murder: The George Zimmerman Trial" starts right now.