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George Zimmerman Trial Continues; Update on Lung Transplant Patient

Aired June 28, 2013 - 15:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Just quickly here, before we take you back, want to introduce you to both Darren Kavinoky, trial attorney, and B.J. Bernstein, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor.

Just quickly, before we go back, impressions?

B.J. BERNSTEIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Transitional afternoon. We had witnesses before who were on the scene and heard what happened. Now we have the first-responders that are going to set up the critical evidence of what the placement of the body was. What will the forensics mean when we hear that next week?


BALDWIN: Darren.

DARREN KAVINOKY, ATTORNEY: Well, presentationally, though, I think they risk putting these jurors to sleep.

And we had a big morning headline of John Good and all of his information. He turned out to be a defense witness disguised as one for the prosecution. And all of what we're hearing now is foundational, to introduce those photographs. Prosecution wants to show lack of injury on George Zimmerman.

BALDWIN: Here we go, back to the trial again.

OK, I'm being told in my ear that they're taking a 15-minute recess. So, on that note, I'm glad you two are here, because we have a lot we can talk about here.


BALDWIN: I think -- let's go back to your point, the fact -- both of you talking about how we have heard from the police officers. This is Officer Smith, one of the first responding officers. He wrote this up. He's the one who put the handcuffs on George Zimmerman.

What are -- they're basically setting the scene for these six jurors as far as what they saw, what they touched, how George Zimmerman appeared. What do you make of how they're testifying so far?

KAVINOKY: Well, just to plant the flag as a place to start on this, so, just to give this some context, Brooke, what we're talking about is we're talking about the moment in time when the altercation happened.


KAVINOKY: And the prosecution's theory is that Zimmerman was not justified when he shot Trayvon. So, Zimmerman's defense obviously that he's using self-defense, he's in fear for his life because he's on the receiving end of those blows from Trayvon, that he had to use deadly force.


KAVINOKY: So, now what they're going to show, through these witnesses, they want to minimize the injuries to Zimmerman. They want to show that he wasn't on the receiving end of anything more than a fistfight. It's got to be either death or serious bodily injury that justifies the use of deadly force.

And what they're trying to show now, showing that Zimmerman was not that beaten up, the injuries weren't that bad, that he understood all the questions, that he behaved normally, that he was responsive, that he's able to stand up. This all goes to the lack of injury and the lack of justification for that deadly force. That's what this is about.

BALDWIN: What do you think?

BERNSTEIN: I agree with that. And then that next transition of this is setting up the groundwork for the experts next week. You know, there's going to be discussion about what the injuries were to Trayvon, what the marks were or lack of marks...


BALDWIN: We're hearing some of the questions so far. Just forgive me for interrupting. But they're just taking him -- pulling up his sweatshirt, seeing the gunshot wound to the chest. They're laying that. But you're seeing the experts will then be able to take that a step further.


And it's going to tie back in to this morning's witnesses who when we had conflict about who was on top, who was on bottom, and this tussle and tuggle. And that's important for each side. They're going to interpret it each way.


BERNSTEIN: The state is going to be clear that it was Trayvon who was defending himself and then, of course, the other side...


BALDWIN: I'm so glad you brought that up, because in this 15-minute recess -- and I know people aren't able to sit there at work or at home and watch this entire thing. Maybe you are, and we're glad you're watching CNN, but watching all these different bits of testimony, different eyewitnesses taking the stand, whether they're an ear witness or an eyewitness. And you bring this point up.

Guys, let's play the sound bite. This is going to be from a couple people ago. There was John Good.


BALDWIN: OK. So, John Good takes the stand this morning. And he's the one who talks to your point about conflicting testimony. And this has to be frustrating for jurors. And I want to get to that.

Let's play the sound bite when he was discussing that he only can see colors when he's looking at these two individuals tussling. I believe tussle was his word. Who was on the top, who was on the bottom? Let's roll that sound bite.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ask you if this is what you said to Chris Serino, OK?

"Yes, I pretty much heard someone yelling outside. I wasn't sure if it was a fight or something going wrong. So, I open my blinds and I see kind of like a person out there. I didn't know if it was a dog attack or something. So I open my door up. There was a black man with a black hoodie on top of the other -- either a white guy. Or now I found out I think it was a Hispanic guy with a red sweatshirt on the ground yelling out help. And then I tried to tell them, you know, get out of here, you know, stop or whatever. And then one guy on top in the black hoodie was pretty much just throwing down blows on the guy kind of MMA-style."

Is that the context in which that happened?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not going to tell the jury here today that you saw fist hit flesh on face if you didn't actually see it, right?

KAVINOKY: I wouldn't tell them that anyways because I didn't see it.


BALDWIN: All right, so that was just one sound bite I wanted to play.

Stand by because let me just play one more just to the point of again the conflicting testimony, because one woman yesterday saying it looked like one individual was top of the scuffle and another was on the bottom. This man, John Good, had a different vantage, according to his testimony today. Here's how he described it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mentioned you -- the second position or change in position, as we call it, they were horizontal. At that point, could you tell there were two individuals, the same people?

GOOD: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And in terms of describing the individuals, are you able to describe their faces or anything or just clothing descriptions?

GOOD: Well, going back to when they were vertical, I could tell the person on the bottom had a lighter-skinned color.




KAVINOKY: So it's so amazing with this witness and compare and contrast his demeanor with what we saw from Rachel, one of the other big witnesses in this case.

BALDWIN: Rachel Jeantel.

KAVINOKY: With Rachel Jeantel.

Now, here we have a witness who is clearly painstaking in his efforts to be precise, who doesn't have a dog in the race. He's just there reporting the facts, appears to be unbiased. And he's called by the prosecution. Yet, what he's supporting in his answers was entirely the defense narrative.

And if you listen to John Good, we have got George Zimmerman on his back. We have got Trayvon raining down blows in this MMA ground-and- pound style.


BALDWIN: Using his words, right.

KAVINOKY: Using his words. And we have got George Zimmerman calling for help. All of this, if I'm the defense and I'm feeling this good in my prosecution case, oh, my goodness.

BALDWIN: So, then why does the state call him?

BERNSTEIN: Well, first of all, because they have to say -- you can't be afraid of the facts. When you're the state, you put everything out there, number one.

Number two, there was -- you're talking about this MMA thing. There's conflict about whether that was in his original statement to the police.


BERNSTEIN: And that is going to be a thing throughout this trial for both sides. What did someone first say, and what did they say in court, and what are the differences and why?

And that is going to be a fight to the very end of this trial. And especially this guy, even he had conflicts, just like Rachel had conflicts yesterday. There almost have been very few witnesses in this case who have duplicated what they said at the beginning. And that's an issue.

BALDWIN: Quick break.

I have so much more to ask you because we have to talk about Jonathan Manalo, who is the person who took the pictures, right, that they're showing in court here of George Zimmerman and also the body of Trayvon Martin and what he saw. We will be right back.


BALDWIN: All right. We are going to get you back to the George Zimmerman trial here as that 15-minute break just has a few more minutes of recess.

Meantime, some other news here on this Friday. Another government leak investigation. This time, though, the one exposing secrets isn't a low-ranking computer tech, but possibly a high-level military leader.

Retired Marine General James Cartwright was once the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He is now the focus of this Department of Justice investigation for allegedly divulging details about Stuxnet to a "New York Times" reporter. This is coming from a source directly familiar with the situation.

If you don't know what Stuxnet is, it's this virus used in 2010 to infect computers connected to Iran's nuclear facilities. Also today, speaking of leaks, NSA leaker Edward Snowden's father is proposing a deal to get him back to the United States. But there are some strict terms that would have to be met. Those terms were included in this letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder.

They ask that Snowden remain free prior to trial, that he not be subject to a gag order, that he be tried in a place of his choosing, and that if any of the above were not followed, the espionage charges be dismissed.

Got that? No word yet on the attorney general's response. Snowden has been in that transit area at the Moscow airport ever since Sunday.

And she is the small-time "Walking Dead" actress who tried to blame her husband for sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But it looks like her alleged act is up. This Texas woman has just now been formally charged in this ricin case, the very crime she accused her husband of. We spoke with the husband.

He said he had no idea that anything was under wraps there in their home at the time. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison.

And we're back with the George Zimmerman trial in moments.


BALDWIN: We're just now learning how touch and go Sarah Murnaghan's life has been since she got that lung transplant a little more than two weeks ago. Remember?

Here she is. This is the first image we are seeing of the 10-year-old girl from Pennsylvania since that operation became national news. Sarah's parents, you know the story, they fought this thing, they went to court so she could get those lungs from an adult donor. It was a move that ended up changing the organ donation rules for all kids under the age of 10.

Her parents have just now revealed they have not just one, but two donor families to be grateful for today.

CNN's national correspondent, Jason Carroll, joins us to explain.

Wow. I have been wondering how she is.


BALDWIN: Tell me everything. And also, this is news to all of us, two lung transplants?

CARROLL: Two lung transplants.


CARROLL: It's really an incredible story. You remember it was back on June 12, we were all out there reporting on this incredible story about Sarah Murnaghan, 10-years-old, suffering from cystic fibrosis.

You remember how she got the lung transplant. It was really touch and go. She had received so much media attention. And now we're just finding out that -- how touch and go it really was, because it turned out that things really took a turn for the worse just days after she had that lung transplant.

You now see the new picture that is up of Sarah Murnaghan. The good news is now -- is now that she is breathing independently on her own from a second pair of lungs that were donated after the first set of lungs failed, this information coming to us from Janet Murnaghan, also from the family spokesperson.

Let me sort of lay out for you what happened here. Once again, it was back on June 12 as you know that Sarah Murnaghan received her first lung transplant. It was really touch and go after that. We're now just receiving a statement. I'm going to read part of it to you, Brooke.

"After we announced the overwhelming joyful news on June 12 that Sarah's lung transplant was a success, things quickly spiraled out of control. Though we had made Sarah's battle very public, we were completely emotionally unprepared for what was to come. That evening, as we waited for Sarah to be transitioned back to her room, an emergency code blue was announced, and Sarah's vital signs had begun to fail."

This was an incredibly difficult time for the family, as you can imagine. Three days later, doctors were telling the family that Sarah was unlikely to survive for more than a week. Again, this is what doctors were telling her, saying that her lung allocation score, this is the score that they give patients in terms of just how serious they are, was an 87, zero to 100, she was at an 87.

Sarah needed to get another transplant. They were able to give her a second transplant, the family keeping this to themselves, keeping it out of public eye because they saw what happened after the first time. They wanted to make sure that Sarah was in the clear and once again, you see the new picture that's up right now. She seems to be breathing on her own from a second pair of donated lungs.

BALDWIN: What an ordeal for this family there in Pennsylvania.

Jason Carroll, thank you so much. I know an incredible amount of people were invested in that story, and this little girl's life. And, of course, we wish her the best with this second pair of lungs. At least you're telling us she's breathing on her own. That is wonderful news here.

We have to take a quick break. We're going to get you back to Sanford, Florida, back to this George Zimmerman trial. Live pictures, There he is, the man who is facing the second-degree murder charge. They are now back in the room, about to call their next witness.

Be right back.


BALDWIN: All right, recess is over. Let's back to the Zimmerman trial.

And what you're looking at, this is videotape from the Sanford Police Department after Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. Officer Tim Smith is still on the stand describing what exactly we're seeing here.

Let's go back.

Since they're just watching it, we have some silence.

B.J. Bernstein, let me bring you back in, because I recognize this. You recognize this. This has been on television after the story first broke. Describe what we're seeing.

BERNSTEIN: This is right when Zimmerman was arrested and he was brought back to the police department. And it made the national news because this was what the defense attorney started saying very early on, look at this carefully. Do a close-up and see that there was injury to Zimmerman.

(CROSSTALK) BALDWIN: Whether or not he was injured. Right.

BERNSTEIN: And that's why we have seen them footage over and over and over before we really knew all the facts of the case.


KAVINOKY: Yes. Well, that's when it's about. And it's interesting because when the story first broke, it was all about the lack of injuries to Zimmerman. And then finally we got to see those close-up photos that showed the blood on the back of his head and the broken nose.


KAVINOKY: And here it is now.

BERNSTEIN: And importantly for state, though, again, he's walking in, he's seeming fine. You're not seeing any debilitating injuries on his part and that he seems cognizant of what's going on which goes to his state of mind, which is what the state is traveling Kim Jong Il there's a big fight on. What was his state of mind in approaching Trayvon and being, according to the state, the provocateur?


KAVINOKY: It's all circumstantial evidence, what his state of mind was at the critical time, which was when he pulled the trigger.

BALDWIN: Mark NeJame, criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst here for this trial, question to you here. As you're hearing our guests describing sort of the purpose of this video, how does the defense team handle this video and this questioning next?

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The issue is, is whether he had a reasonable belief, not whether he was actually in fear of, but whether he had a reasonable belief that he was in fear of death or great bodily harm.

And so I think that they're going to attempt to establish, once they put the case and through some of the cross-examination, that he was the one who was screaming help me, help me, help me repeatedly. He was the one crying for help, which shows that he believes that he was in need of assistance.

And I believe his initial statement indicated that he believed that Trayvon Martin was going for his gun. So, that's where they're going to be developing their case when it comes time and through their cross-examination.

BALDWIN: OK. Officer Tim Smith on the stand. Let's listen.

JOHN GUY, FLORIDA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Appear to have any physical problems of any kind, falling out of the chair, anything like that?

TIM SMITH, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: No, sir. GUY: Did he do anything that caused you concern about his health during that 30- to 40-minute period?

SMITH: No, sir.

GUY: And who it was who arrived to interview the defendant?

SMITH: I believe it was Investigator Singleton.

GUY: Did you participate in the interview?

SMITH: No, sir, I did not.

GUY: And where were you when Detective Singleton was speaking with the defendant?

SMITH: Back on the other side of the one-way glass.

GUY: All right. Could you hear what they were saying?

SMITH: Not enough. You could hear people talking, but it's not enough to make out.

GUY: You can't make out what they were saying?

SMITH: Correct.

GUY: All right, thank you, sir. Judge, that's all I have.



Good afternoon, Officer. How you doing?

SMITH: Good. How are you, sir?

O'MARA: Thanks for being here today.

How long have you been an officer?

SMITH: Since 2005.

O'MARA: OK. What was your training? What did you do to become an officer?

SMITH: I attended the law enforcement academy.

O'MARA: OK. How long a course is that?

SMITH: That's just shy of 700 hours.

O'MARA: In addition, have you taken any other courses like in community college or anything along the way or even before?

SMITH: I have attended Seminole State College, yes. O'MARA: That's just down the street?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: What type of courses did you take?

SMITH: General education courses.

O'MARA: OK. Any focus on criminal justice, your chosen career?

SMITH: Not at Seminole State, no, sir.

O'MARA: OK. How long did you want to be a cop before you became one?

SMITH: Since I was little.

O'MARA: OK. So a life goal for you then?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Why is that?

SMITH: I enjoy helping and educating.


The traditional one, I guess it's not on all police cars, but it's on a lot of them, protect and serve?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Is that sort of a goal of yours then as a police officer?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Do you feel that's a pretty noble goal?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Do you enjoy it?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: You can't enjoy it quite as much when you get a shots fired call, though, can you? It's got to be a little concerning, right?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: So you go on the radio, you testified about the map, and you get a call about a disturbance first. Is that correct?

SMITH: Suspicious person.

O'MARA: That's right. At some point, it got upgraded, did it not?

SMITH: Yes, sir, it did. O'MARA: To shots fired?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: What is -- what do you then do one you have a shots fired event?

SMITH: You tend to wait for a little bit more additional information, but it becomes more of an officer safety issue.

O'MARA: At that point, your officer safety, right?

SMITH: Correct.

O'MARA: OK. So, you came in, did the circle, and actually almost coincidentally, I guess, you were able to shine a light down that entire sort of alleyway toward where this event actually occurred, right?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And noticed at least one person toward the end?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Could you even tell who it was at that point?

SMITH: No, sir.

O'MARA: So you pull up your car, and then get out, and you take out -- how do you equip yourself as you're going out of your car to go to that back alleyway?

SMITH: Due to the lighting, I grabbed a flashlight.

O'MARA: OK. I talked to another officer before you. He said that his gun actually has a flashlight on it. Was that the way yours was set up or...

SMITH: Yes, my gun does have a flashlight on it.

O'MARA: Was that what you used?

SMITH: No, sir, I used an actual standard flashlight.

O'MARA: OK. So when you first came around that corner heading over towards the scene, did you know that was the scene where the shooting occurred?

SMITH: No, sir, I did not.

O'MARA: OK. So when you first came up on the scene, you had your flashlight out?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Had you taken out your service revolver yet?

SMITH: Not at that point, no, sir.

O'MARA: OK. Tell me what you first see when you come on scene.

SMITH: I saw Mr. Zimmerman standing on the sidewalk. There may have been somebody out there with him. And I saw Trayvon laying in the grass.

O'MARA: OK. And when you say sidewalk, there was a walkway that you...

BALDWIN: So, now you're hearing Mark O'Mara, defense counsel, asking questions of one of the first responding officers to the scene last February that evening, again, setting the scene, what did he see, in what position was the body of Trayvon Martin, how did George Zimmerman appear?

Quick break. Back in a moment.