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Zimmerman Neighbor Describes Fight; Officials Say Hernandez Linked to Double Murder; T.J. Jackson Testifies in Jackson Trial.
Aired June 28, 2013 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GOOD, WITNESS: It seemed like a tussle. They were vertical to me just like the blinds were. Then at one point, I yelled out, "What's going on?" and "Stop it," I believe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So I want to point out two things. Witnesses tend to contradict themselves from their first statements to the trial. I want to talk about this first. The screaming, that earlier he indicated in a statement that he believed he saw George Zimmerman screaming out for help. He's not saying that today. In fact, he's saying he cannot say with certainty who was screaming.
Secondly, what he saw. He says he saw a lighter person the lighter person was on the bottom, suggesting that Trayvon Martin was on the top, holding him down, as he said, throwing strikes, throwing blows. That's what he said in the statement before. Today, he is saying he cannot say with certainty if the person on the top was throwing strikes or just holding that person down. So that's what you see the prosecution doing, Ashleigh. Just a minute ago, they were certain to make sure that was stated on the record. The prosecution came out -- Bernie de la Rionda said, did you see or hear any of this. Mr. Good said, no, I can't say with certainty.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Let me use more colorful language. In the words of John Good, George, during his deposition that was taken, he said, "I saw a black guy in a black hoodie on a white guy who I now assume to be a Hispanic guy throwing down punches MMA-style."
BANFIELD: That's mixed martial arts for those out there who may not know what MMA is. Such a significant moment in this case. Hold that thought for a second, George, if you would.
I want to play one more piece from John Good, critical testimony. Eye and ear witness, just like yesterday, Rachel Jeantel an ear witness at that very moment. What is significant about this is who he thinks was on top. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: All right. If you could, could you tell at that time in terms of describing who was on top and who was on the bottom?
GOOD: I could only see colors of clothing.
DE LA RIONDA: The color of clothing on top, what could you see?
GOOD: It was dark.
DE LA RIONDA: OK. How about the color of clothing at the bottom?
GOOD: I believe it was a light, white or red color.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: To Mark Nejame, CNN analyst, also well-known trial attorney in the Florida, and, now all around the country because of all the coverage you have been doing on the case and other high profile case.
A big moment. That's the moment where people wondered, why did the prosecution call this man?
MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it was a smart move, Ashleigh, because it was going to come out. If the state didn't call this witness, the defense. The jury will wonder by didn't the prosecutor tell us the entire truth. Also, the prosecutor wants credibility and he wants to do his best to take the wind out of the sail of the defense. The last reason he would have called, as you referenced it earlier, he was able loop back a little bit and show, try to give Jeantel a little bit of credibility showing she wasn't asked all the questions as Mr. Good wasn't asked all the questions and, hence, didn't give all the answers. I think it was a good strategy, knowing this will all come out anyway.
However, with all that a said, in my opinion, it was the state that got grounded and pounded through this statement today from Mr. Good. This is entirely consistent with what the defense has been saying all along through their press conferences and by showing the bloody pictures of George Zimmerman, that, in fact, it was Zimmerman on the ground. He was being beat. His head was bashed in by Mr. Martin. We have to see who else says what. This plays into exactly what the defense has been saying. As I have been saying for the last year, whoever can be proven to be on the bottom, crying for help, they were, in fact, the other person was going to be deemed to be the perpetrator the dominant in force. That is to the benefit of whoever was on the ground screaming for help.
BANFIELD: If I were going up against you in court, I would say this. I've seen plenty of fights that go like this, bang, bang, bang, knockout punch. So it's probably not surprising we are hearing neighbors living just doors from each other giving completely differing accounts of what they saw in the shadowy figures. Significantly, Mark Nejame, and I'll get you to talk about this after the break, and that was the knockout punch the prosecutor made when he said, could you see their mouths moving when you said you thought it was George Zimmerman calling out for help. He answered, no. So there has been a lot of stuff been done today that was done yesterday to two varying accounts. Everybody hold your place for a moment, if you will. What does it all matter when the law, the law states, who was the person actually who started the fight? We will talk about that later, as well as other news making headlines around the country, around the country, around the globe. All of that coming up next.
BANFIELD: Welcome back, everyone. You are not missing a minute in that courtroom in Sanford, Florida. It's remarkable. It's a see-saw. One minute you think one side is winning. The next minute, you wait for the minute after. That's the live eye. I show you that because the great seal of the state of Florida is where the camera goes when the judge says we are didn't for a moment. That's where we are. We are done for a moment in the courtroom. We are watching it the minute they get back and active. We're going back in live.
But it's a great opportunity to tell you the other big stories that are happening. In fact, police were back searching that home of the fired New England Patriot tight end, Aaron Hernandez, this morning. It does not get worse for this young man. They only left a few hours ago. All of this as authorities are now looking into the possibility that he may, in fact, be linked to an unsolved double murder last year. Remember, he is in jail charged with the murder of a friend. We are talking of a whole other set of murders now. Again, they're just investigating that at this point.
Alina Cho is outside Hernandez's home. She joins us now live.
I thought it was a typo, Alina, when I saw that coming across the wire. I thought that can't be right. They must have this confused with another case. They do not have this confused with another case.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. You are absolutely right, Ashleigh. It is an entirely separate case we are talking about. There has been no shortage of developments over the past 24 hours. I should tell you. In fact, we are in front of Aaron Hernandez' home right now. Police, as you mentioned, were here in the overnight hours. They entered the house at around 4:00 in the morning, left at 5:30. It didn't appear they took anything. We believe they took a lot of photos inside. They are investigating and looking for clues in that still unsolved double murder that happened in Boston last year.
As you mentioned, Aaron Hernandez is now being investigated in connection with that double murder. Important to the point out that this is an entirely different case of than the one that we're talking about that we have been talking about over the past couple of weeks. He is already charged with first-degree murder in the death of 27- year-old Odin Lloyd.
What is very interesting, Ashleigh, this morning, the "Boston Globe" reporting that Odin Lloyd may have known about Hernandez' connection to these double murders, and perhaps that speaks to a motive -- Ashleigh?
BANFIELD: Wow. Then there is also somebody else that they put out an APB on. Do we know much about that in?
CHO: That's right. Now, remember, if you go back to this most recent case involving the killing of Odin Lloyd, authorities and prosecutors believe Hernandez was with two other people inside the car when Lloyd was killed. Let me tell you that late last night, authorities put out a bulletin. They are looking for a man named Ernest Wallace, who is being called an accessory after the fact in the killing. He is believed to be in his 40s, heavy build, last seen driving a silver Chrysler 300. We just got word that authorities have actually recovered that car but not Ernest Wallace.
I should mention, Ashleigh, that Wallace is being called armed and dangerous.
And in yet another development, a third man, a man by the name of Carlos Ortiz, was in court today in Connecticut. He is also being investigated in connection with the murder of Odin Lloyd. Not sure what that connection is yet. We do know this. He has been charged with a single weapons violation. And interestingly enough, Ashleigh, for that single weapons violation, he is being held on $1.5 million bail, which says to a lot of people that this is a very, very important person to police.
BANFIELD: Yeah. You don't often see bail that high for a mere weapons violation, but as is often the case, too, you try to squeeze information anyway you can. And we can also see other charges be added later on, too.
Alina, thank you. Great reporting.
She gets stuff right up to the minute. I love that.
Michael Jackson and that case in California, his nephew has now taken the stand and you will not believe the allegations that he is making about how his uncle died, the superstar. We're going to have that for you in just a moment.
BANFIELD: Michael Jackson was murdered -- that is testimony, part of the nephew's testimony that hit the courtroom yesterday. Perhaps not surprising to some. Perhaps jaw-dropping to others. T.J. Jackson was describing the superstar as a doting uncle. Take a look at this video, court evidence, when the kids were younger and super cute. We used to see them this way with the masks. Michael Jackson wanted to shroud them and keep their anonymity. Look at this. This is what they were living like when those masks were off. Oh, they're cute. He called Paris "daddy's little girl." He called Prince "the little assistant." This was T.J., how he referred to these kids. The little assistant on which Michael relied. The home video was played in court during the earlier testimony of Prince Jackson. Have a listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S SON: I'd like to be a movie director and an architect.
MICHAEL JACKSON, SINGER: Architect. Why? Tell me why? First, why a movie director?
PRINCE JACKSON: Because I want to direct movies with my daddy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Adorable. Michael Jackson's body guards told me when they witnessed those kids with their dad, they were oftentimes reading from a massive library that Michael Jackson insisted be kept stocked with tons of books. These kids apparently loved the books. Maybe no surprise that little guy wants to be an architect. Anyway, this was years ago.
I want to introduce Midwin Charles and Danny Cevallos. They're with me now to take a look at the significant of T.J.'s testimony might be.
Midwin, let me start with you.
He goes into what the kids were like with tear dad and all the rest. That was a long time ago. Those pictures were from a long time ago as well. I'm not so sure it has to do with who is responsible for the death of Michael Jackson or is this more about getting sympathy for the family?
MIDWIN CHARLES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, what it is, they are trying to kind of draw out what is called emotional damages. This is a wrongful death claim. It's a civil charge. So, obviously, one of the ways in which they are saying the family was damaged, that is Katherine Jackson and the three children who are the plaintiffs here, is emotionally. Only way to do that is to show what was the emotional connection between the children and Michael and how have their lives been different or altered or impacted since he died and so I think T.J.'s testimony today does that and what he does is he lets the jury understand what the family was like, what the children were like when they were with Michael and when they weren't with Michael and how their lives have changed significantly since he died.
BANFIELD: And, Danny, maybe you can weigh in on the issue that T.J. testified, it was sort of unusual testimony. I'm going to lay it out for you. He suggested that Michael Jackson had told him that he thought he was going to be murdered. And he actually said it happened on a couple of occasions. Once again, it seems hyperbolic. It seems dramatic. Is it germane to the actual case at hand?
DANNY CEVALLOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Good point. Stepping back, you look at the plaintiff's burden. You look at AEG directed the doctor. This is not a particular delay you and I might be familiar with. The paragraph is trying to sew that AEG directed the doctor to do this. We know the death wasn't intentional. It wasn't charged as an intentional killing. Nobody is saying AEG tried to kill Michael Jackson. It is true that Michael Jackson's subjective belief that people were trying to kill him isn't germane or probative of the plaintiff's burden. It certainly is compelling. It certainly will affect. And pull at the heart strings of the jurors. BANFIELD: Yeah, well, it's fascinating to watch. I'll give you that. I keep wondering, what does this have to do with the ultimate question, who employed and paid the doctor?
Thank you. Hold that thought for one moment.
We have been sort of hop scotching from the country, from California to Florida. Live look inside the Zimmerman courtroom. Trained right on the great seal of the state of Florida. Yes, it's the great seal, not the seal of the great state. Great seal of the state of Florida. I have always wondered what it is. Every state has it. It's on that shot because there is a break in the courtroom, are you not missing any of the testimony. You are going to see some of the most critical testimony coming up in just a moment.
BANFIELD: You've seen it as Zimmerman on trial. You've seen it as the Sanford case in Florida. It's about someone else. It's about a young man named Trayvon Martin, seen here in these photos, because this is all we have left of Trayvon Martin. A 17-year-old young man who was getting Skittles and a drink one night in a rainy, dark complex, apartment complex when he came into contact with George Zimmerman. Only one person survived that encounter. Now there's a second-degree murder trial in how that encounter ended up in the death of that young man.
I want to play something for you. All of those neighbors who started to hear the fight begin, or hear it midway through and hear the shot fired and perhaps see who was where, many of them have differing accounts. Some of the accounts say it looked like Trayvon was on the bottom and some gave an account that it was George on the bottom.
Have a listen to this witness who just got off the stand, named John Good, a neighbor who saw and heard a lot.
DE LA RIONDA: In regard to the person who said help, if you can, was it help, help, help, continuous or how would you describe it?
GOOD: I believe it was one or two.
DE LA RIONDA: After that what happened?
GOOD: That's when they moved up on the sidewalk.
DE LA RIONDA: At that point what's happened?
GOOD: That's when I saw them in the straddle position. I saw it getting serious and said I was calling 911.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Critical to this witness. He also said the person on the bottom, who described as George Zimmerman, was the one who was screaming. But here is what he wasn't able to do. He wasn't able to see their mouths moving. That's something this prosecution, Bernie de la Rionda, hammered home in redirect.
I want to bring in our attorneys, Midwin Charles and Danny Cevallos.
You're both defense attorneys. I'm sure the thing if you would at defense table you would have cringed to see and here it play out in court.
Midwin, I'll start with you.
CHARLES: Of course. This prosecutor is skilled. What he is supposed to do is poke holes in what this witness is saying because what he is saying is not helpful to the state's case.
BANFIELD: No. I'm going to argue to you. That's the defense's job. The whole thing flip-flopped.
CHARLES: But he did a good job. He didn't try to berate him like another attorney did yesterday. All he did was focus on the facts and point out what he did or did not see. That's important. If you can't see the lips moving or the mouth moving, how can you be sure it's George Zimmerman? I think he did a good job of extracting that information.
BANFIELD: Danny Cevallos, jump in here. He was able to keep, or the defense attorney, Mark O'Mara -- it's a bit backwards -- he was able to keep this witness on track with the same person, was the person yelling all throughout the fight I saw and the guy on the bottom. At least he was able to say it was consistent.
CEVALLOS: Absolutely. There's some good points for both. Both attorneys are doing terrific jobs. These are textbook cross examinations and redirects.
But I want everyone to hold the burden in their mind as you're listening to this witness and all the other witnesses. Remember, the defense needs to come forward with just the barest evidence of self- defense to merit a jury instruction on self-defense. What we've heard so far, have you heard the barest of evidence of self-defense. It seems to many probably so. That raises the question, think about, will George Zimmerman even have to testify. They probably already earned that instruction on self-defense.
BANFIELD: Yeah. You know what I keep waiting for? Will George Zimmerman mount a case? I know that's weird to say that. Sometimes we get surprised. If that defense team doesn't feel like the prosecutors have met their burden, sometimes it's better not to say anything at all.
Midwin Charles and Danny Cevallos, I want to thank you for your time and analysis today. You guys are brilliant.
(LAUGHTER) That's why we call you. We look forward to having you both back.
I also want to let people know we're continuing to watch this trial for you. They did take this break. You haven't missed anything. We were able to get you caught up on some of the most significant points. Let me tell you this. Don't go away. Every time a new witness takes the stand, something changes in the story.
Thanks so much for watching, everybody. It's nice to have you with us. Happy Friday. Have a lovely weekend. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.
AROUND THE WORLD is after this break.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: More testimony in the George Zimmerman trial. A neighbor describes the fight he saw and heard the night that Trayvon Martin was killed.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama at the moment on his way to South Africa as Nelson Mandela clings to life. Mr. Obama says he will let the family decide about any hospital visits.
MALVEAUX: My exclusive interview with former President Jimmy Carter. He opens up about Edward Snowden, same-sex marriage and the advice he's giving to Paula Deen.
Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.
HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company today.
Well, it's been a fifth day of dramatic testimony.