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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

George Zimmerman Trial Continues; Our Entire Crew was Lost"; Live Coverage of the George Zimmerman Trial

Aired July 1, 2013 - 16:00   ET

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


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon. I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD.

You're watching live continuous coverage of the George Zimmerman murder trial. We're listening to audiotapes of an interview that the police officer in the case, Christopher Serino, did with George Zimmerman. Let's take a listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) back to your car and now you want to pretend -- or not pretend -- you want us to believe that you're concerned about having a flashlight to move back where you just ran?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what I'm saying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You brought a flashlight with you?

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You wanted to be able to see him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in a whole different area right here. OK.

This is where -- this is why I took you out of there, so you could show this, so I can recall your memory and let you see if they say -- you say you walked back too your car (INAUDIBLE) not going to believe anything I have to say.

And that's why I'm saying. Is there anything you need to clarify right now? Did you pursue this kid? Did you want to catch him?

ZIMMERMAN: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. That's not you? That's not what you're about?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you tell (INAUDIBLE)

ZIMMERMAN: I was frustrated that I couldn't think of the street name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you were going to be back in your car from that distance in less than 15 or 20 seconds, so why would they need to call you?

ZIMMERMAN: I felt like I didn't give them an adequate description of where I was (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you know what the impression would be, is that you're just going to continue to look and when you get there, you will just tell them where you're at then.

You see what I'm saying? Well, no, never mind. Just tell them to call me when they get here and I will tell them where I'm at, meaning I might not be at my car, where I just told them I would be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) And if there's anything that needs to be changed, this is it, all right? And we can't do this anymore. (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hear that voice in the background?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not sure. There's (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe both. I'm not sure. There's just someone screaming outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the address?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 1211 (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And is it a male or a female?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you hear yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don't know why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know why. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) Does he look hurt?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't see him. (INAUDIBLE) go up there (INAUDIBLE) what's going on. So...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) yelling help?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's smothered you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At what point did he smother you? Was it right before you shot him?

ZIMMERMAN: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe both. I'm not sure. There's just someone screaming outside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the address?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 1211 (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And is it a male or a female?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don't know why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know why. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) Does he look hurt?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't see him. (INAUDIBLE) go up there (INAUDIBLE) what's going on. So...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) yelling help?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you recall?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prior to you shooting him, he was on you, correct?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you (INAUDIBLE)

You shot him at point-blank range. He was on top of you, right?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And (INAUDIBLE) nobody came out to help you? I can't pinpoint where you were smothered.

That's the problem I'm having. Nobody is saying they saw him smothering you. People are say they saw someone on top of you, but they didn't see the smothering part.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) It sounds like it's continuous. (INAUDIBLE) It's got to stop. We don't hear him stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't hear him at all either. Is he being quiet? Is he whispering to you or something? Is he calm?

ZIMMERMAN: No, he's, like, angry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't hear him, though.

And then when he saw you had a gun at that point, you think he might saw you had a gun when you guys standing before he punched him?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No way, no how?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) He couldn't have gotten a glimpse of it accidentally?

ZIMMERMAN: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And once again, getting back to the ending, what was the provocation from punching you, other than the fact you were following him that you can think of? Why was he so mad at you?

ZIMMERMAN: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigator Serino, in about 52 minutes, when you're playing the recording, you specifically say, are you hearing yourself? And Mr. Zimmerman says, that doesn't even sound like me. You recall that?

CHRIS SERINO, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And during parts of the interview, you showed him some photographs. Do you recall that?

SERINO: Yes, I do, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You showed him a photograph of a cell phone, the victim's cell phone that was on the ground?

SERINO: I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you told him that this might have been videotaped. Were you bluffing to him, lying to him to get him to say something?

SERINO: Yes, sir, I was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You also showed him photographs of the victim; is that correct?

SERINO: Yes, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor, may have I a moment?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE) recess (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need a recess?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Court will be in recess for 15 minutes.

Ladies and gentlemen, put your notepads face down on the chair, follow Deputy Jarvis back into the...

TAPPER: As the court takes a recess, it's been another riveting day of testimony in the George Zimmerman trial.

The trial is entering its second week. Let's take a step back and look at today's testimony so far. We have been in the middle of testimony from Detective Chris Serino of the Sanford, Florida, Police Department. He's the lead investigator. He's the second investigator to take the stand today. Earlier, we heard from Detective Doris Singleton.

She's the police officer who read Zimmerman his rights the night of the shooting and she interviewed him first, the jury today hearing and seeing George Zimmerman describe that night in his own words. Not on the stand, but on an audiotape from the night of the shooting and a videotape reenactment on the day after.

I want to bring in CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and investigative journalist Diane Dimond. She's a syndicated columnist.

Guys, thanks for joining us.

We're going to play parts of the videotape and audiotape and get reaction from you.

Let's pick up the audiotape after the dispatcher told Zimmerman that the police did not need him to follow Martin that need.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZIMMERMAN: 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 your problem, homey? And I got my cell phone out to call 911 this time. And I said, hey, man, I don't have a problem. And he goes, now you have a problem and he punched me in the nose. At that point, I fell down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Jeffrey and Diane, just judging from Zimmerman's own words here, did he start this by following Trayvon Martin or did Martin start it by confronting him on the way back to his truck?

Diane, let's start with you?

DIANE DIMOND, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, I think that's the $64,000 question, Jake.

Who knows because Trayvon Martin isn't here to tell us his side of thing. There were eyewitnesses to the actual fight or the aftermath of the fight. But what exactly happened in the beginning, the best evidence that we have is on that 911 tape or that non-emergency tape of George Zimmerman talking to the police. And he will say, if he took the stand, which I don't think he's going to now that the jury has heard from him on these interviews, he would say once they said we don't need you to follow him, I went back to my car, I started back to my car, and I was accosted by Trayvon Martin.

So that would be his side. And that's the only side left to know.

TAPPER: While the court's in recess, we're going over the events of the day.

Jeffrey Toobin, is there a difference between -- obviously there's a difference between series of the case, but is there a legal difference between Zimmerman following Trayvon Martin and Trayvon Martin confronting Zimmerman for following him? Does that matter at all?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, what ultimately matters is whether the jury accepts Zimmerman's self-defense claim.

That doesn't -- that isn't a minute -- or second-by-second decision, it's an overall decision on the part of the jury. So, yes, it is significant -- all those individual steps are significant, who followed whom and each step in the process. But ultimately the jury is going to have to decide overall was Zimmerman firing his gun in self-defense?

Obviously,a key issue is, did -- who started the fight, the altercation between them? And we're going to have to look at how the prosecution attacks the statement. It is really a two-part process. Today, they're putting in the statement. Later, they will put in evidence that they believe will contradict what Zimmerman told the police.

TAPPER: If you're just joining us, the court is in recess right now. We're going to over the events of the day.

Let's continue Zimmerman's narrative using the reenactment that he taped with police.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZIMMERMAN: I felt like my body was on the grass and my head was on the cement. And he just kept slamming and slamming me. And I just -- I kept yelling, "Help, help, help."

He put his hand on his nose -- on my nose and the other hand on my mouth. He said, shut the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Jeffrey and Diane, we weren't even sure if this reenactment would be admitted. Why is that, Diane?

DIMOND: Well, because some things are just so one-sided that the judge decides that it's not allowed.

I'm struck by the overall tone of today was, in my opinion, that George Zimmerman after what happened, happened was completely compliant with the police. He talked to them. He did not say, I want a lawyer. He said, whatever you need, check out my injuries, take my picture, put me in front of a video camera. He was completely compliant.

Now really in effect George Zimmerman testified in court today without ever having to take the stand, but some jurors might say, might decide, you know what, he was pretty dispassionate. He just killed a man and there he sat for hours and hours writing out the text, that he never once was reported to be cry organize upset. He did not know in the beginning that George Zimmerman was dead.

The first detective, Doris Singleton, told him and he did drop his head, she said, but there was no real emotion and that might count for some of the jurors.

TAPPER: Jeffrey, your take on the admission of this videotape, which I think a lot of people are surprised that it was shown today in court?

TOOBIN: Well, it's very good for the Zimmerman defense because here he is laying out his theory of what happened, his version of what happened and there is effectively no cross-examination.

At that point, just a couple of days after Trayvon Martin's death, no one had assembled all the evidence in a way that might incriminate Zimmerman, so he basically gets to tell his story in a narrative way with no cross-examination, which is essentially the dream of every criminal defendant.

That's a very fortunate turn of events for Zimmerman. It doesn't mean he's going to get acquitted, but certainly his defense -- his lawyers will be happy to see this -- that tape admitted.

TAPPER: He's getting to tell his side of the story without anybody challenging him. We're going to take a very quick break. And coming up on THE LEAD, we will return to the courtroom in Sanford, Florida, for the trial of George Zimmerman as soon as that recess is over.

We're also following some other news, including the tragic deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona. How did this highly skilled, elite squad get trapped? Back in just a brief moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

We're keeping our eyes on the Zimmerman trial in Sanford, Florida. We'll take you back to the courtroom shortly. They're in the middle of a brief recess.

But, first, another major national story. We'll come right back to Zimmerman as soon as the jury has been readmitted after the recess.

Let's talk about what's going on in Arizona right now, specifically, I'm talking about the men called the Hot Shots -- the best of the best, the men who are sent into the hottest hot spots. Yesterday in Arizona, 19 of them went in and not one of them came out. An unthinkable tragedy as crews try to stop an out-of-control wildfire northwest of Phoenix, Arizona.

A ferocious blaze threatening the town of Yarnell, a blaze that exploded overnight, growing 10 times its original size, to more than 8,000 acres. A shift in the winds trapped and killed nearly all of the elite team from Prescott, Arizona. The average age of the men, just 22 men.

It was the deadliest day for firefighters since 9/11 and deadliest wildfire incident in 80 years.

Today, President Obama led the tribute to them from Africa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The news is heartbreaking. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the brave firefighters who go out there. This is one more reminder of the fact that our first responders -- they put their lives on the line every single day. And every time we have a community in crisis, a disaster strikes, we've got people in need. You know, firefighters, law enforcement officers, they run towards the danger.

And so, we are heartbroken about what happened. Obviously, we're prepared to provide any support we can in investigating exactly how this took place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: That's President Obama in Dar es Salam, Tanzania.

Now, we go to Stephanie Elam, who is live in Prescott, Arizona. Stephanie, we heard from the mayor of Prescott a short time ago, didn't we?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we heard from the mayor as well as the governor of Arizona, Jake, about this tragedy. Obviously, this small town, where everyone knows each other's name, where it's kind of a place that -- it's a quaint little town, actually, as you walk around the town, everyone is rocked by this because everybody knew these 19 young men.

We can tell you, too, that they -- this news is shaking everyone to their core, knowing that they also deployed their safety tents to protect themselves -- we did learn that today -- but it wasn't enough because it got too hot. So, as this point, we do know that their bodies have been recovered and taken to the medical examiners as they continue to try to figure out what exactly was the cause to lead to the deaths of all of these men.

TAPPER: And, Stephanie, we're getting new information about one of the firefighters who died. Tell us about him.

ELAM: That's right. This person that we're talking about, his name is Kevin Wojcik (ph), he's the son of the captain of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Joe Wojcik, obviously which it's very devastating for a firefighting family. We are Joe will be on with Anderson Cooper to talk about his son.

But just learning that you have a young man in his 20s out here on the fire line, working to keep this fire safe in an area that wasn't even threatening the town where he is from here in Prescott. It was out in a different town but still out there trying to help out his fellow firemen to keep that line away. So, we're learning more and more about these firefighters, little by little getting confirmation of who these men were.

TAPPER: A devastating loss. Stephanie Elam, thank you so much.

When they realized there was no escape, these firefighters had to literally dig in and use their fire shelters known as shake and bake tents to shield themselves from the flames. They're the absolute last result, protective foil coverings that are just big enough to cover them as hell passes over them.

Tom Foreman has a look at where these firefighters were and the elements they were up against -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The investigation is really just starting now, Jake, into how this thing happened. But almost certainly, what we're going to find is it had something to do with the terrain around Yarnell here. If we move in, you can already see that it's mountainous.

Look at the growth of this fire -- 24 hours ago, it was only about like this. Now, it's spread 12 to 24 hours, and now it's spread even further, more than 8,000 acres over here. So, when we look at this terrain, we have to consider the conditions there that these guys were fighting in. Hot Shots are some of the most fit and prepared firefighters you'll find anywhere in this country. They have to pass all sorts of physical tests to even do this.

But in this kind of terrain, many things can come together that make it very difficult. The elevation: 1,800 to 2,200 feet. That's not way up there, but it's enough to tax you a little bit.

The temperature: 98 degrees. Considering the gear they're carrying, that's correct a lot.

Wind: 17 to 24 miles an hour. That wouldn't be a big issue, but you get into some of these valleys here, Jake, it can really channel the wind and create this sort of storm -- fire storms that move very, very quickly on people.

TAPPER: And, Tom, what were the Hot Shots doing specifically when the disaster struck?

FOREMAN: Our understanding and the investigation is still under way right now -- our understanding is they were digging fire breaks. Firebreaks is where you basically go through and you try to cut something that will separate the fuel from the fire. So, if the fires burning over here, you're trying to keep it from getting into more fuel over here.

Normally, there's a procedure that's done all the time. So how could this fire run up on them?

Back in the 1990s, there was another very big fatal fire on Storm King Mountain in Colorado. And the after action reports there found that one of the problem is actually the terrain. It made it difficult for the firefighters working over here on this line to see the approach of the fire. So, if the fire was moving relatively slowly when they started digging but then a big wind came through and it started advancing quickly, they may not know it until it was on top of them.

What's more, if they happen to be on a ridge line or in a valley, or in draw (ph), or anything that funnels that fire and speeds it up, in the case of Storm King Mountain, the fire ended up advancing about 9.8 seconds, incredibly fast, and that gives them little time to get out of the way. They always have to have an escape plan, they always have to have a shelter area -- little time to even get to those. That's why people pull out these shake and bake tents. It's the last thing they can do, Jake.

And I think as we look at this, we'll find a lot of topography there, speed of the winds and how these men simply ran out of all their options, and it can be very difficult. You go inside a tent like that at 500 degrees, the tent itself starts coming apart around you.

TAPPER: Incredible. Tom Foreman, thank you so much.

We'll go back live to the courtroom in just a minute. Plus, was it George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin yelling for help that night? An FBI voice analysis expert unexpectedly testified today. What did he think?

Back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. You're looking at live pictures from the courtroom in which George Zimmerman is being tried for second degree murder. We're waiting for the jury to come in and be seated.

Diane Dimond, you were talking during the break there about how the two police officers who are testifying today, officer Doris Singleton and, of course, homicide detective, then homicide detective Christopher Serino, that they were almost playing good cop/bad cop.

DIANE DIMOND, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Yes, I was taken by the original interview, the events just have happened, Doris Singleton, the detective, questions George Zimmerman, they have a conversation about God and killing, and if you were really defending yourself, I don't think God would mind. Then comes the supervisor, Chris Serino.

And as you heard at the very top of your show here, Serino really plays the bad cop. I mean, he gets in and he tries to shake the story line with Zimmerman and he says things like, weren't you pursuing that kid? It sounds like he's running to get away from you? Did you pursue him? And Zimmerman gets defensive and says no, no.

So the jury is hearing a little bit of cross-examination of Zimmerman, even though he isn't under oath.

TAPPER: We're waiting for the jury to be seated in the Zimmerman trial, and as soon as they are seated and the trial resumes, we will go back to the courtroom live.

Jeff Toobin, one of the things that's so interesting about this case, of course, is what we know, because we're not on the jury. So, we have a lot more information.

It sounds we're about to go back into the courtroom. Jeff, I'll come back to you after the next break.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The interviews are a little hard to make out. I didn't know --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just so you know that that has come into evidence and you will be able to take it back with you into the jury room and you'll have a way to go ahead and play it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK? That help?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're welcome. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I proceed now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you may.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigator Serino, just to make it clear at about 52 minutes into that interview on the 29th, you were playing the recording from Ms. Lauer (ph), the screams for help. Correct? Do you recall that? The 911 recording?

CHRIS SERINO, WITNESS: Yes, I believe so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in terms of you were asked in terms of who it was when he stated, "That doesn't even sound like me." Do you recall that?

SERINO: Correct, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were also referencing when you interviewed him in terms of there's only three streets. I'm referring to state's exhibit no. 1. In terms of Tree Twin Lakes, there's three streets, is that correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's the street view (ph) circle as it circles all the way around, and there's the main one in terms of Twin Tree Lane, goes all the way from the front entrance to the back entrance, correct?

SERINO: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then there's Long Oak Way, that's the third one right there, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

And finally, sir, in your interview of the defendant, you showed him several photographs, including the photograph of the phone, the photograph of victim, et cetera. Is that correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, our first witness your honor.

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: States exhibit 94, is this one of the photographs you showed the defendant?

SERINO: Yes, sir. I believe so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I may publish that to the jury, your honor?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you may.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I object, Your Honor. Will you see me here or at the bench?

JUDGE: At the bench.