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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Self-Defense or Murder?: The George Zimmerman Trial

Aired July 1, 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. Welcome once again to our A.C. 360 special report, "Self-Defense or Murder?: The George Zimmerman trial."

Every night at 10:00 Eastern, all the key moments from court today. Today, day six, jurors heard the defendant's recorded version of what happened the night he killed Trayvon Martin. They also and heard from two police officers, including the lead investigator. The prosecution seeking to highlights inconsistencies in Zimmerman's story and bolster their claim that he profiled Martin from the moment he spotted him. Our legal panel weighs in that and much more tonight, another very full hour ahead.

We begin with Martin Savidge.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sanford Police Officer Doris Singleton was the first to interview Zimmerman the night he shot Trayvon Martin and he said he seemed surprised to learn the teen had died.

DORIS SINGLETON, SANFORD, FLORIDA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes, at some point, I had said that we weren't able to identify the victim. And he said, well, what do you mean you haven't been able to identify him? I said, well, we don't know who he is. And he said, he's dead? And I said to him, I mean, I thought you knew that.

And then he kind of slung his head and just shook it.

SAVIDGE: In a recording that have interview, Zimmerman again repeats the line prosecutors say went to his state of mind.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: There's been a few times where I have seen a suspicious person in the neighborhood. We call the police, a non-emergency line and these guys always get away.

SAVIDGE: The state could be tends Zimmerman instantly profiled Martin that night, pointing to his written statement in which Zimmerman repeatedly described Martin as the suspect. And prosecutors attempted to show how Zimmerman's account changed with each retelling. In his first interview, Zimmerman said Martin attacked him after jumping out of the bushes.

ZIMMERMAN: So I was walking back through to where my car was and he jumped out from the bushes. And he said, what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is the problem, homey?

SAVIDGE: But in the reenactment, Zimmerman makes no mention of Martin jumping out from bushes.

ZIMMERMAN: When I got to right about here, he yelled from behind me, to the side of me. He said, "Yo, you got a problem?"

I turned around and I said, "No, I don't have a problem, man."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where was he at?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was about there, but he was walking towards me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This direction here?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir. I wouldn't -- like I said, I was already past that. So I didn't see exactly where he came from.

SAVIDGE: The state entered into evidence another police interview from days later in which investigators challenge Zimmerman's account of events.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your account is that you don't see him at this point. You're at the T. now, right? Here's the pavement directly looking down that way, that passage? Where are you at?

ZIMMERMAN: once he told me not to the follow him, and I wasn't following him. I was just going in the same direction he was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's following.

SAVIDGE: But each time on cross-examination, defense attorney Mark O'Mara always came back to the same point, that both investigators found Zimmerman credible.

MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Were there any questions that you asked him or any changes in his story along the way that caused you concern?

SINGLETON: Not significantly, no.

O'MARA: Do you think he was telling the truth?

CHRIS SERINO, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes.

SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, Sanford, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Remember those were prosecution's witnesses.

Let's bring in the legal panel, legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin, also legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin. On defense side tonight, criminal defense attorneys Danny Cevallos and Mark Geragos, co-author of "Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works, and Sometimes Doesn't."

Mark, you think today was a big win for the defense?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, clearly. I don't think there's anybody who can see it or objectively look at what happened today and not understand that this was about as good a day as the defense is going to have. It also was the police's way of paying back the prosecution. You know, he was not arrested.

COOPER: You really think that's true?

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: Yes, I think this was police payback. This was their way to kind of stick it to the prosecution because if you remember originally, the state's attorney did throw the police under the bus on this case. And so the police I think today paid them back.

COOPER: Jeff, do you think that's possible?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I do think it's possible.

The answers were so enthusiastically pro-Zimmerman. These cops could have answered these questions in a more neutral way, but they really did seem to be going out of their way to say that George Zimmerman was a great guy, that he was honest, that they tried all their tricks, that he didn't ask for a lawyer, that he acted like a stand-up guy, that he was truthful. I have never seen cops testify that way about a defendant in...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Really?

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: Well, certainly not about a case -- not about a defendant in the case where they're trying, absolutely not, never.

COOPER: Sunny, you were in the court. Sunny, you did spend a lot of time in the court the last couple days. Did you see any bright spots for the prosecution or do you agree that this was all the defense day?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I will agree with Mark and Jeff that I think there may have been a bit of payback, because remember these officers are the same officers. One, Chris Serino, was demoted and the Sanford Police Department, really, the investigation was taken from them.

I think we saw some payback. But I was in the courtroom today. And I got to tell you I think I saw a lot of positives for the prosecution in terms of pushing their story farther along. We heard testimony from a voice recognition expert that said, you know what? The technology's not there for voice recognition yet, but if a family member or somebody familiar with someone's voice can testify, that's pretty reliable. Check. That's a win for the prosecution.

I think also in terms of all of Zimmerman's statements while consistent in terms of the struggle, we know there was a struggle, OK. But when you talk about what's really important in this case which is who started this fight, who started this struggle, he was all over the place. It was clear that he told Singleton that he was getting out to find out a street name. There were only three street names at this retreat at Twin Lakes. You mean to tell me he didn't know the what the street fame as?

And then really it comes out that he was actually going in the same direction as Trayvon Martin, but not following him. And he was pressed on that. So I think when you talk about the day in totality, yes, the defense did very well, but so did the prosecution.

COOPER: Danny, do you believe that George Zimmerman was all over the place in his statements to police?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: All over? Absolutely not.

Now, think about it. It's human nature. It's almost impossible to tell the same story three, four times exactly the same. None of us can do it. We're not robots I think was even phrase used today. We're just not. So there's always going to be inconsistencies. The question is how big are the inconsistencies and are they something a jury can live with?

I think in this case where you have a person who voluntarily gave a statement, multiple statements, came back again and again, you're always going to have some inconsistencies, but, wow, overall, the broad strokes are there, the story is overall very consistent.

And I think that's very compelling. Remember George Zimmerman got to essentially testify today even though he wasn't actually testifying and not subject to be cross-examination.

COOPER: And, Mark, we heard again -- I want to play us a little bit more what we heard from one of the police officers on the stand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'MARA: Did you have evidence that he was angry with Trayvon Martin?

SINGLETON: No.

O'MARA: That he had hatred for him?

SINGLETON: No.

O'MARA: Spite or ill will?

SINGLETON: No.

O'MARA: That he had anything that would suggest to you some type of bad attitude towards Trayvon Martin?

SINGLETON: No.

O'MARA: Rather, he seemed to be affected by the fact that he realized that Trayvon Martin had passed?

SINGLETON: He seemed affected by that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Mark, all of that goes to kind of intent, doesn't it?

GERAGOS: What this does is, when you have a dead body and Trayvon was killed and the prosecution is trying to prove a murder, they need to prove malice. Malice is exactly what Mark O'Mara just went through, the ill will, the bad attitude, the trying to encapsulate what is malice.

That police officer just gave them the closing argument and the closing argument is going to be, if there are two reasonable interpretations, one that points toward innocence, one towards guilt, you must find the defendant not guilty. And that police officer just gave you one reasonable interpretation. There was no malice. As of today, that second-degree murder, I don't think they can sustain a second-degree murder conviction in this case.

I think there is no malice if the jury follows the instructions. And I know some people will be angry about this, but you have to understand, this is where the evidence leaves you. You have got the officer who met and assessed him on the scene. That officer gave those answers and I will tell you, Mark O'Mara, I give him props for not only the cross, but having the huevos or cojones to ask the questions because that's a fearless kind of a -- you have to know that that cop is going to give you those answers to ask those kinds of questions, because God forbid you get the answer that is, no, I thought he wasn't credible or, no, I thought he was lying.

This was -- there's no way to overstate how important today was for the defense.

COOPER: Jeff, I was going to ask you if you agree Mark O'Mara has both huevos and cojones?

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: I thought you were Armenian. What is all this Spanish?

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But, Jeff, what Mark said, which is it's pretty devastating that they do not have the evidence for second-degree murder. Do you agree with that so far?

TOOBIN: I don't know. I think the jury could find circumstantially that it's some sort of rage. But frankly I think it's a long shot at that point.

The other thing that the officer did is he said -- he was actually asked about the contradictions in Zimmerman's statements and he said, oh, people don't tell things the same way twice. It's impossible. That was the cop saying that. There was no reason for him to go to bat for Zimmerman that way.

COOPER: There was an inconsistently that Singleton talked about, about Zimmerman holstering his gun. I want to play what she said on the stand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Mr. Zimmerman elaborate as to why he would holster his gun back if he thought the victim was alive?

SINGLETON: He didn't put those two terms together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That wasn't significant to you?

SINGLETON: I don't know if that's significant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, tell me, how many times have you gone out to a scene where you were trying to apprehend a suspect, right, a person that you believe is committing a crime and you don't believe the person is a -- or you think the person is a threat. Do you holster your gun if the person is still at large and moving around?

SINGLETON: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you do?

SINGLETON: I wait until it's safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right? You keep the gun on the person until he's either dead or he's apprehended. Correct?

SINGLETON: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It's interesting though there to see the prosecution arguing with police officers here.

CEVALLOS: I genuinely forget during this trial whose witness is whose witness, because too often the roles seem reversed.

(CROSSTALK)

CEVALLOS: There is a subtext of sympathy by the everyone in law enforcement with George Zimmerman. It's not overt. But you have to admit just watching Bernie de la Rionda, he's asking questions like he's on cross-examination. And this is his witness.

And obviously it's not overt. It is his witness. But there is something there. COOPER: Sunny, to that point, do you think it was a mistake for prosecutors to go for second-degree murder, not manslaughter?

HOSTIN: Well, you know, the case is far from over. And so for us to say that they can't sustain a second-degree murder charge at this point the beginning of the second week is ludicrous.

But not withstanding there, there are two schools of thought I think when it comes to prosecutors. Some up-charge a bit. Some think, OK, I have just enough evidence to perhaps get second-degree murder. But if the jury gets instructed instead on a lesser included, I shot for the stars but if I land on the moon with my conviction, at least I get a conviction.

And then there are other prosecutors that will just charge something like manslaughter, thinking I know I have enough evidence for manslaughter and I may have enough for second-degree and so I'm going to going to go for second-degree. Obviously this state prosecution thought they had enough for second-degree, because if not they wasn't have brought it.

And again, everyone, we're still in the -- I'm not going to say the beginning of the case but this is the beginning of the second week of the case.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: I think Sunny's clearly right.

(CROSSTALK)

HOSTIN: Thank you, Jeff.

TOOBIN: Sunny is clearly right that you can't make up your mind about this before all the evidence is in, but I think we are a lot closer to the end of the prosecution's case than the beginning.

GERAGOS: Of course you are.

TOOBIN: There is not a lot more evidence to come in. You just think of it. This is not the world's -- it's a terrible crime but it's not the world's most complicated crime. Who are the witnesses we haven't heard from yet?

COOPER: Mark, you agree with that? Do you think we're close to the end of the prosecution's case?

GERAGOS: Look, this case was estimated at the beginning when they were going to have the voice recognition experts and there was going to four to be three weeks. We're now in week two.

They have cut off a week with the elimination of those. By all accounts, they should be done but for the Fourth of July holiday. This case is close to being over. And Sunny is aptly named, because she is Pollyanna if she can put a sunny face on this prosecution because this prosecution is dead in the water. (CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

HOSTIN: Of course you can.

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: It's dead in the water.

(CROSSTALK)

HOSTIN: We haven't heard any forensics here. We haven't heard from the medical examiner, Mark. We haven't heard from anybody identifying Trayvon Martin's voice. We have got a long way to go.

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: The problem you have got is, they have now put on the videotape of Zimmerman, which I'm sure Mark O'Mara is there thanking the lord. He will never have to put his client on. He got to testify, as Danny said, without cross-examination. The cops have come in and essentially eviscerated the prosecutor and you're at a point -- you know, the emperor has no clothes.

(CROSSTALK)

HOSTIN: Let's just save the tape.

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: This case is dead. The case is dead.

HOSTIN: Save the tape.

COOPER: We have got to take a break. We have got to take a break. We will get to more of that coming up.

Mark just mentioned it. We will play a fuller portion of George Zimmerman's taped interview with police that jurors heard today. So, you can decide yourself what to make of it. We will also talk more about the notion that some elements of the prosecution's case so far seem almost like gifts to the defense. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: George Zimmerman may never take the stand in his own defense, probably almost certainly he will not, but today his words clearly did. He spoke to police several times after the shooting. And the prosecution wants to try to expose inconsistencies in what he told them.

Today, prosecutors played a video of police questioning Zimmerman three days after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Here's some of what the jurors heard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SINGLETON: Did you at that time ever say to him, I'm neighborhood watch?

ZIMMERMAN: No.

SINGLETON: Did it not occur to you?

ZIMMERMAN: No, I don't have a problem and I started backing away from him.

SINGLETON: But you clearly did have a problem. That's why you were following him, right? You had a concern with him?

ZIMMERMAN: I was scared.

(CROSSTALK)

SINGLETON: You were scared to tell him you were (INAUDIBLE) that you were neighborhood watch? You were afraid to tell him that?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, ma'am.

SINGLETON: Look, I'm not trying to put you on the spot. But these are the questions they're going to ask you.

ZIMMERMAN: No, I understand.

(CROSSTALK)

SINGLETON: It seemed like the perfect opportunity to say, look, I'm neighborhood watch. I don't recognize you. Are you staying here?

ZIMMERMAN: Like I said, he came up out of nowhere. I didn't see him. I was walking back to my car thinking I was going to meet a police officer there. So when he popped up, he just caught me off guard. I didn't think I...

(CROSSTALK)

SINGLETON: But can you see how that would maybe frighten him? You had been following him now (INAUDIBLE)

ZIMMERMAN: What do you mean?

(CROSSTALK)

SINGLETON: Yes, you were watching him, OK?

ZIMMERMAN: I didn't.

(CROSSTALK)

SINGLETON: He'd been making it clear to you, I recognize you're following me.

ZIMMERMAN: I didn't know if he was doing that or he was doubling back, what he was doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And the prosecution entered that into evidence. But some are saying the totality of his answers work just as well for the defense.

Back with, Sunny Hostin, Jeffrey Toobin, Danny Cevallos and Mark Geragos.

Sunny, what about that? He could have identified himself as neighborhood watch. To you, does that raise suspicions the fact that he didn't?

HOSTIN: It does. He could have identified himself as the neighborhood watch. He could have listened to the dispatcher and not gotten out of his car to follow Trayvon Martin.

There were other inconsistencies. Like, he initially said that Trayvon just kind of sucker-punched him, came out of hiding from some bushes. When you look at his reenactment, there are no bushes. He doesn't talk about bushes. Instead, he talks about Trayvon coming up on him on the path. And so I think really when you look at all of these statements...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Also his hands, right?

HOSTIN: And his hands. He says that Trayvon Martin, that he placed his hands -- I guess sort of stretched out.

But when the police officers came on to the scene, they found Trayvon Martin's hands underneath him. So, when you look at all those inconsistencies, while he may have been consistent about the fact that there was a struggle, we all know that. But I think when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, who started the pursuit, who followed, how did this altercation end, I still think his statements are all over the place and really help the prosecution.

COOPER: Danny, the problem for the prosecution is nobody actually saw how the altercation really began. George Zimmerman is the only one. And now jurors have gotten his testimony without him being cross-examined.

CEVALLOS: Here's the problem.

Let's go back to the law. Who was following who? At the end of the day, the prosecution must prove their case in chief, which is a depraved mind. We have said that is ill will, evil intent. And those words are relative. We can't really define them, but the courts have. And they have said such things like you can't form that kind of evil ill will in an instant. Usually, these are people who know each other, who have formulated this evil intent, this hatred.

And it just isn't there. Forget -- even if you don't believe... HOSTIN: Really?

(CROSSTALK)

CEVALLOS: ... if you disbelieve the self-defense.

(CROSSTALK)

HOSTIN: How about "These F'ing punks always get away"? How about that?

(CROSSTALK)

CEVALLOS: That's a good point, Sunny. And I'm glad you brought that up.

(CROSSTALK)

HOSTIN: How is that not ill will?

CEVALLOS: Because that kind of ill will is not sufficient. It may sound like ill will to you. But what's important is the law.

And Florida courts have held that the kind of evil hatred is more than just saying, hey, I don't like what's going on in my neighborhood. If you read the case law, it's full of cases with much more nasty language than this and it's pretty clear that they are not as a matter of law going to be able to prove prerequisite malice.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: Again, I don't think that's right.

HOSTIN: I think you're dead wrong.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: I think this is a jury issue. If the jury -- there is evidence here that a jury could find this is a guy, George Zimmerman, who had it in for black people, who didn't like black people in the neighborhood, who got involved in this neighborhood watch because he had these weird suspicions that he called people walking around suspects, and started this confrontation and wound up killing Trayvon Martin.

I think a jury could find that. Based on the evidence that's been put in, I think it's unlikely, but the idea that it is somehow impossible for the jury to find that, I don't buy that.

COOPER: Mark, these tapes were introduced by the prosecution. Is that just because they're out there and they just think it's better to just get them in and move on?

GERAGOS: No, I don't I really don't think so because the defense more than likely would not have been able to get these tapes in, absent putting him on the stand. So the prosecution apparently like Sunny believes that this helps them.

And we will see once that jury comes back, because I don't see it. Remember this is -- if the defendant tried to put in his own statement, most judges are not going to allow that because it's a violation of the evidence code. So the only reason the prosecution would put you this into evidence is because they think it helps their case.

And I just, from sitting here and watching it, I can't imagine how they think in the totality of this, especially coming on the heels of their own officers saying that there weren't material inconsistencies -- and, mind you, they're also going to get a jury instruction that says that everybody can make -- or has inconsistencies in their testimony and that, unless it's material, you don't get bothered by it, and the officer, basically, echoed that as well.

So I don't know what everybody else is drinking down there in Florida, but I'm telling you, if you're watching this case and if you have ever been in a criminal courtroom for more than five minutes, you would understand this case is over.

COOPER: It does seem like at the end of each day...

HOSTIN: You're wrong.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: It does seem like at the end of each day, when we talk and analyze what went on that day, everybody on the panel sort of agrees, well, today was a pretty good day for the defense.

I have yet to hear -- does anybody here on this panel think the prosecution has had a day where they knocked it out of the park?

HOSTIN: No.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Wow, the silence.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: That was a lot of silence, especially for this group.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Yes.

So that bad, Jeff?

TOOBIN: Well, I think, look, you don't add up trials based on which day is a good day.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: This is cable TV. That's exactly what you do.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: Some evidence is more important than others.

Look, the 911 call where Zimmerman calls the operator and the operator says stay away, don't confront him, that's an extremely damaging piece of evidence I think. It could be that the jury has that in their heads, and all the rest of it, they're not so interested in. And, remember, only one of these two people had a gun. And it was George Zimmerman.

And the idea that the guy with the gun is the one who's afraid has a certain implausibility, I think. So, yes, the evidence has not gone in very well for the prosecution, but the idea that this case is over, as Mark says, that the prosecution is dead, I just don't think that's true.

CEVALLOS: I respectfully disagree with that. Here's why.

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: How do you expect them to recover? What are they going to do at this point to recover? Who are they going to put on?

(CROSSTALK)

HOSTIN: They don't need to recover.

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: They have a burden. They have a burden of proof. Understand something.

(CROSSTALK)

HOSTIN: But recovering implies...

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: I agree with you. This is not a fight. This is not a fight. This is, they have got a burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That's how the legal system works in America, which means the defense doesn't have to do anything. Right? Defense doesn't have to do a thing. You don't even have to cross-examine if you don't want to.

How in the world are you going to say that beyond reasonable doubt the prosecution has proved this case?

HOSTIN: Well, the case isn't over yet. The case isn't over yet.

GERAGOS: What are they going to put on?

(CROSSTALK) CEVALLOS: But what evidence could we possibly be hearing at this point? Go back to the law. And the law will set you free. If you go back to their burden, and their burden is not only to prove that depraved mind, which is a very high standard.

They must additionally disprove the self-defense. So, even if the jury says we don't buy self-defense, the prosecution still has to meet that burden. And who in the world can possibly be left? What do we have so far? We have George Zimmerman's own statements now to the jury which have not been cross-examined and then we have a number of police officers where Mark O'Mara brilliantly laid out almost word for word the defense of the absence of depraved mind.

COOPER: Let's take a look at more of George Zimmerman's reenactment of what when on from events from February 27. This was the day after the shootings. Let's listen to some of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZIMMERMAN: I tried to squirm so that I could get - because he only had a small portion of my head on the concrete. So I tried to squirm off the concrete.

And when I did that, somebody here opened the door and I said "help me, help me." And they said, "I will call 911." I said, "No, help me. I need help." And I don't know what they did, but that's when my jacket moved up and I had my firearm on my right side hip. My jacket moved up and he saw - I feel like he saw it and looked at it and he said, "you're going to die tonight (EXPLETIVE DELETED)." And he reached for it. And he reached -- I feel like - I felt his arm going down to my side. And I grabbed it and I just grabbed my firearm and I shot him one time.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Jeff, in order for him not to be found not guilty, the jury has to believe he is credible. And you now have two police officers on the stand today essentially saying, he's credible.

TOOBIN: That's correct. And that's a big problem.

But the jury doesn't have to -- the jury can make up their own minds about credibility. And that's an important fact to remember that the jury can say I believe this witness, this witness, but not that one and that one. It is an unusual situation where the lead police officers vouch for the credibility of the defendant.

I mean, as I say, I had never seen that before, but that doesn't mean that the jury has to believe the defendant and those cops.

COOPER: All right, let's take another quick break.

We have got a lot more to talk about in just a moment, including testimony from the lead investigator in the case who wanted to pursue a lesser charge than second-degree murder. I will ask the panel why that was and whether the decision to aim higher was a good one. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Some key testimony today came from Chris Serino, the lead investigator in Trayvon Martin's shooting. Now, early on he wanted to pursue manslaughter charges against George Zimmerman. That never happened. He was expected to be a strong witness for the prosecution, but on cross-examination, as we talked about, he actually appeared to help the defense at times. Here's just one example.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Tell me what concerns you had with what Mr. Zimmerman told you that night that did not comport to the evidence that you were now aware.

CHRIS SERINO, FORMER LEAD DETECTIVE ON CASE: I had none at that time.

O'MARA: OK. Did he seem to be cagey in his answering to you? Did he seem to be side-stepping your answers in any form or way to get around answering your direct questions?

SERINO: No, sir.

O'MARA: Did he seem to do anything that, based upon your training and experience, evidenced to you that he was being less than straightforward with you?

SERINO: No, he was -- he was being straightforward, in my opinion.

O'MARA: Is there anything else in this case where you got the insight that he might be a pathological liar?

SERINO: No.

O'MARA: Matter of fact, everything he had told you to date had been corroborated by other evidence you were already aware of in the investigation that he was unaware of?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: OK. So if we were to take pathological liar off the table as a possibility just for the purpose of this next question, do you think he was telling the truth?

SERINO: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Our legal panel is back with me: Sunny Hostin, Jeffrey Toobin, Danny Cevallos and Mark Geragos.

Jeff, you're shaking your head.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, whoever heard of a prosecution witness talking about a defendant like that? It was like a character witness.

DANNY CEVALLOS, ATTORNEY: It's unbelievable.

COOPER: Let me ask you, Jeff, as a prosecutor, I mean, when you're putting the person on the stand, do you know he's going to be that friendly to the defense, just from what he said?

TOOBIN: You should. I mean, the whole point of preparing a witness is to know what this witness thinks and to know what the witness will say.

Now, as Mark's conspiracy theory, which may be true, may be that the relationship between the prosecutors and the -- and the cops here is so poisonous that there was just nothing that the prosecution could do. But I have never heard a -- the lead investigator in a case talk about a defendant like that.

COOPER: Sunny, not everything worked to George's benefit here. Mark O'Mara asked the investigator, Serino, about concerns he had with Zimmerman. I want to play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'MARA: Then there was this question about why he didn't simply acknowledge to Trayvon Martin who he was or what he was doing, correct?

SERINO: Yes.

O'MARA: And you questioned him a couple different ways on that, as well.

SERINO: Yes.

O'MARA: Did his answer to you satisfy you?

SERINO: Not necessarily.

O'MARA: Tell me what your concern was.

SERINO: He hadn't made reference to mentoring children, specifically African-American children. Why it didn't occur to him to go ahead and try to say something to somebody he was following.

O'MARA: Sure. In hindsight...

SERINO: Of course.

O'MARA: ... that might have resolved things?

SERINO: Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So Sunny, that's obviously something the prosecution would like to continue to hammer on, that it could have all been avoided.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure. I mean, he threw -- Serino threw the prosecution a bone there, but for the most part, his testimony was really remarkable.

But I do agree that that's part of the prosecution's theme. Had he not gotten out of the car, had he done what he'd been instructed to do by the Neighborhood Watch folks, by the dispatcher, once he got out and the dispatcher said, "We don't need you to follow him." Had all of that not occurred, we wouldn't be talking about this case. And I'm quite sure that that's something that the prosecutor -- prosecutor is going to follow up on.

COOPER: Mark, were there opportunities that you saw that you think the prosecution missed with this investigator?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, they never should have put him on the stand. Simple as that.

COOPER: Really?

GERAGOS: There is absolutely no reason in the world, if this prosecution really wanted to win this case, that they would put this guy on the stand. This -- it's mind-boggling.

I can't emphasize enough Jeff's point. The idea that you've got the lead investigator up there, as Jeff said, actually vouching. It's character testimony for the defendant in a murder case. 30 years, I've never ever seen anything in the same universe like this.

HOSTIN: Remarkable.

GERAGOS: And that's -- it is remarkable. And the amazing thing about it is, unfortunately, people are going to think, this is how the criminal justice system operates every day. And they're -- you can't cite me to a case that is this unbelievable in terms of what is happening to the prosecution.

COOPER: I want to play another part of Serino's testimony today about concerns he had with Zimmerman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERINO: He appeared to be lacking, in my opinion, as far as what was going on, what he was in the middle of. It just seemed that something was going on with him.

O'MARA: Would you call that, sort of in generic terms, a real flat affect as to what was happening?

SERINO: Generic terms, yes.

O'MARA: OK. Did that cause you concern that he had, in fact gone through a traumatic event and his response was a flat affect about it?

SERINO: I'm sure at some point, yes, it did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Do you make anything of that, Danny? Or -- I mean, people react in different ways to stress and to being in the middle of, I guess, a shooting hike this.

CEVALLOS: I think that was terrific cross-examination because it brings out that, yes, indeed he did have a flat affect, but we all respond to traumatic events differently. And what it does is it develops the idea that a flat affect or maybe some other behavior is acceptable after an event like this. Overall, it's just -- it's just compellingly good evidence for the defense.

COOPER: I want to play one other piece of cross-examination by Mark O'Mara today. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'MARA: And in a situation like this where you have what you believe Mr. Zimmerman went through both parts of that trauma, and multiple interviews of him, would you expect that there were going to be some differences?

SERINO: Absolutely.

O'MARA: And why is that?

SERINO: Because we're not robots as people. I mean, not knowing him personally, I don't think I've heard of somebody remembering step by step exactly how stuff occurred that they were involved in, unless they're looking from the outside looking in.

O'MARA: Matter of fact, if someone were to come to you and have the exact same story down fact for fact and word for word sentence for sentence each time you talked to them, what would you think about that person's honesty or veracity?

SERINO: Either they're being completely honest or completely false to the extreme.

O'MARA: So in your interviews continuing as they were with Mr. Zimmerman, you would expect that things were going to change over time, correct?

SERINO: Potentially, yes.

O'MARA: You would -- and if they were to change in significant ways, if he were to add in some brand-new fact or truly change direction, you would note that, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Mark O'Mara did a great job there. TOOBIN: This was a brilliant cross-examination. And by the way, it also shows that you don't have to yell and scream and pound the table to do a good cross-examination.

But think about the answers he was giving there. The whole prosecution's case is based on the idea that the contradictions in Zimmerman's testimony prove that he's a liar. Here you have the lead investigators saying, "Well, I didn't think these contradictions were any big deal. And, you know, people don't always tell things the same way."

COOPER: In fact, it would be unusual if he -- if there weren't contradictions.

TOOBIN: Exactly.

COOPER: Stunning stuff. Everyone, stick around. There's a lot more to talk about. Just ahead Trayvon Martin's mom is expected to take the stand possibly tomorrow. We'll look at why her prosecution is now so important for the prosecution, what she told me in an interview just a month after Trayvon Martin was killed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Trayvon Martin's mom, Sybrina Fulton, is expected to take the stand, possibly tomorrow, to testify for the prosecution about a key piece of evidence, that wrenching 911 call where you can hear someone screaming for help. Jurors heard it last week during the testimony of the witness who made the call. Here it is again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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 MALE: Tell them to come now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're sending.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help!

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your...

(GUNSHOT)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's gunshots.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, the prosecution had some people who were described as audio experts lined up to testify that the voice on that recording was not George Zimmerman's, but the judge ruled they couldn't take the stand because the science they used, the techniques they used to analyze that basically wasn't sound. That's why Sybrina Fulton's testimony has become important. I interviewed her on my talk show a month after Trayvon Martin was killed. Here's what she said about the 911 call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The eyewitnesses have said they believe -- that some of them believe it was your son calling out for help. No one saw him directly doing it. Or saw -- could say 100 percent for sure.

You've heard the 911 call where you hear somebody calling out "help." Do you believe that is your son's voice?

FULTON: Yes, I do. I believe that's Trayvon Martin. That's my baby's voice. Every mother knows their child. And that's his voice.

COOPER: And the fact that, if that's true and he called out for help, what does that tell you?

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON'S FATHER: He was afraid for his life. He saw his death coming. He saw his death coming. The screams got more frantical (ph), and at that second that we heard the shot, the screams just completely stopped. He saw his death. He was pleading for his life.

COOPER: So you're saying if it was Zimmerman who was screaming for help, that might have continued after the shot, but the fact that after the shot there was no more screaming for help?

MARTIN: No more screaming whatsoever. It went completely silent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Now, the defense can just as easily put one of George Zimmerman's relatives on the stand to testify that it's George Zimmerman's voice. Want to bring back our legal experts again: Sunny Hostin, Jeffrey Toobin, Danny Cevallos, and Mark Geragos.

Sunny, ultimately, it's obviously going to be up to the injury to decide who they're hearing on that tape. How effective do you think Trayvon Martin's mother could be in trying to convince them that it's her son yelling for help?

HOSTIN: I think she could be very effective. I mean, we've all seen her. She's very elegant. She's very reserved. She's been in the courtroom every single day. The jury has seen her every single day.

And let's remember there are six women on the jury. Five of them are mothers. I'm a mother. I know the sound of my child's voice from across a football field if he or he is in distress. And I would imagine every single mother on that witness stand is going to connect with her if she gets on the stand and says, "I know the sound of my child's voice," because every mother does know the sound of their child's voice.

COOPER: George Zimmerman's family maintains that it's their son on that tape. This is his father, Robert, from a hearing back in June of last year. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you able to identify whose voice it was screaming for help?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE'S FATHER: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And whose was it?

R. ZIMMERMAN: It was absolutely George's.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So Mark, I mean, would this just be a wash if you have, you know, Sybrina Fulton on, saying it's Trayvon Martin; you have Robert Zimmerman, you know, saying that it's his son?

GERAGOS: I don't know. I think, when you see the testimony when it was given by Zimmerman's father, it's nowhere near as emotional, and I know that the interview that you played was you on your daytime television show, so maybe that's a little bit more dramatic.

But my guess is, is that to some degree Sunny is right that, when you have the mother who's there every day, and she does carry herself extremely well and she is elegant -- I think that's a perfect word for her -- I think that, that will have an effect. And I think a lot of those mothers will understand that. Whether that's going to be enough to overcome what has so far been a disaster for the prosecution, I just don't think it is.

COOPER: Well, it's also interesting, Danny, because Trayvon Martin's parents have been in the courtroom, as Sunny said, every single day. Sometimes they've had to get up and go out when the testimony was too graphic. So in a sense the jury has sort of developed a relationship or some sort of impression of them, which they haven't done for George Zimmerman's family, because his parents are not in the room because they may be called to testify.

CEVALLOS: This is a fascinating piece of strategy, Anderson. I'll tell you why. Because the prosecution originally wanted to introduce science that someone could recognize scientifically these voices. When that was excluded, it did not meet the Frey standard, it wasn't reliable, they fall back to another, I think this is a great piece of improv by the prosecution.

They say, OK, in that case, we'll match-up George Zimmerman's family, I mean George Zimmerman's family will identify his voice. We'll let Trayvon's family identify his voice. We'll take our chances with probably Trayvon Martin's mother for exactly these reasons. In that sense, I agree with Sunny; I agree with Mark. It's probably the strongest element of their case when Trayvon Martin's mom or some member of the family will go up there and clearly identify Trayvon Martin's voice.

COOPER: Tomorrow, Sunny, I think you're going to be in court again. The investigator, Serino, is going to be back on the stand tomorrow. Do we will know what we expect then?

HOSTIN: We don't know what to expect, actually. And I will be in the courtroom tomorrow. Except that we know that he's going to be back. Mark O'Mara made it very clear that he was done just for today but would be back tomorrow. So I suspect we'll see perhaps some more of those fireworks that we saw today.

I hadn't heard that Sybrina Fulton was going to testify. But of course, we don't have a witness list. We don't know who's coming next, but definitely Serino will be on the witness stand.

COOPER: Jeff, I assume if you were the defense you would try to keep that investigator on the stand as long as you could?

TOOBIN: You know, keep a good thing going. He's doing nothing but helping the defense. I assume there's more to bring out. I think O'Mara could have another hour or two with him with no problem.

COOPER: Mark, at this point, how much of a defense does O'Mara have to actually put on?

GERAGOS: I don't think he has to put on any defense. He may just back fill on a couple of points, put the father on to testify that he thinks it was Zimmerman's voice. Maybe potentially put on an expert, although I'm not so sure that he's going to do that, as well. I think at this point, my guess is that there's not much for him to do other than get this thing to the jury and get his closing argument done.

TOOBIN: We often when we cover these trials, you know, the prosecution is on for three weeks or three days. And or the prosecutor -- the point I'm trying to make in my way is the prosecution's case is always a lot longer than the defense. And we shouldn't be surprised if the defense case is just a day or two. That's often the case. And given the way the evidence has gone in here, I think it's very likely that there will be a very short defense case.

COOPER: Danny, do you agree with that?

CEVALLOS: I do. In fact, I think it's Mark Geragos in his book who describes the example as the prosecution is sort of a show, a standup comedian, and the defense is improv. Their job is to peck away at the prosecution. Their job -- they don't need to put on the same show they the prosecutor does. They've got a much higher burden. That's why their show is much longer.

TOOBIN: The title of the book is "Mistrial," isn't it, Mark? Is that what it is?

GERAGOS: That's exactly what it is. Thank you, Jeff. I appreciate that.

TOOBIN: Oh, man.

GERAGOS: Available on Amazon. Thank you.

COOPER: All right. Listen, fascinating discussion, as always. Sunny Hostin, Jeff Toobin, Danny Cevallos, Mark Geragos. Thanks very much.

Just ahead, Arizona is mourning the death of 19 firefighters. This is just a horrific story. An elite squad of men trapped in an inferno. What led to this tragedy in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks is here with a "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, the governor of Arizona calls the loss of 19 firefighters unbearable. The men were part of an elite squad battling a giant wildfire northwest of Phoenix when they were killed on Sunday. They were trapped by flames which were fanned by shifting winds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE WOYJECK, FALLEN FIREFIGHTER'S FATHER: Oh, my goodness. He wanted to be a firefighter like his dad, like me. I come from a family of firefighters, and you know, we go to work. We know there's a risk. And you know, you spend your whole life protecting your children. And then, you know, knowingly letting him go into harm's way, I can only imagine how my parents felt when I became a firefighter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDRICKS: That was heartbreaking, the father of one of the fallen speaking earlier to Anderson. The fire, still raging out of control, is now considered the deadliest in Arizona state history.

NSA leaker Edward Snowden is not backing down. In a new statement Snowden blasts the Obama administration for trying to block his efforts to seek asylum, calling it a scare tactic. Snowden says he's unbowed in his convictions. And late tonight WikiLeaks, which is helping Snowden, said it has submitted asylum requests to 19 countries for him.

Egypt's military issues an ultimatum to President Mohamed Morsi: meet the demands of millions protesting across Egypt, or move in and restore order. Protesters are angry of his handling of the depressed economy.

The stock market meanwhile kicked off the beginning of the second half of the year on the upside. The Dow Jones rose 65 points, the NASDAQ and the S&P scored gains, as well.

And you've got to see this workout here. This is Robert Gill, the rookie wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, running on a treadmill at 25 miles per hour. He's apparently in great shape, as you see, but he's not a kid. He's 29 years old, and apparently, that's up there in the NFL. But now let me tell you, he's got bragging rights.

COOPER: That's incredible. And again, please do not try this at home. Susan.

HENDRICKS: Yes. Good advice.

COOPER: Thanks very much. Join us again tomorrow night at 10 p.m. Eastern for our special AC 360 coverage of the George Zimmerman trial.