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Zimmerman Trial Resumes; Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Holds Press Conference Regarding the 19 Firefighters Killed in Wildfire

Aired July 1, 2013 - 13:30   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: She's the officer who interrogated Zimmerman shortly after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Jurors heard a recording of that interrogation. And the detective also read aloud Zimmerman's handwritten statement.

I want to bring back in our legal analysts to talk about what we've seen this morning, former prosecutor, Sunny Hostin, criminal defense attorney, Mark Nejame, in Sanford, Florida.

Zimmerman is testifying without taking the stand. How powerful is that in terms of a strategy here, Sunny?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it can work. We saw it in the Conrad Murray case. He never got on the witness stand. We heard his voice and he was convicted. It's something often times that prosecutors use.

What I think is a bit difficult for the government though is that now they're not forcing George Zimmerman onto the witness stand. He doesn't have to testify. Often times, I think it's better to have a witness live and in color and then cross examine, because most prosecutors are well trained in cross-examination and you're going against someone who isn't trained.


MALVEAUX: Sunny, sorry to interrupt. They've gone back into session.

Let's listen in.

The lawyers are at the bench.

I want to bring in Mark.

Mark, the fact that you do not have Trayvon Martin here to tell the kind of details and lay out what happened here but you have so much information coming from Zimmerman. How does that impact what the jurors believe in terms how this played out?

MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's a great advantage to the defense and a disadvantage to the state. I think you have a bulldog of a prosecutor. He's shown himself to be tenacious and basically a pit bull. And I think he would have a field day if he gets George Zimmerman, who has proved less than credible with his statements on TV or in court. And I think the prosecutor would love to reexamine here. Zimmerman has a break, now they're being played in the prosecutor's case in chief. So now there's not going to be -- even though the jurors are never supposed to pay attention if a defendant doesn't take the stand, we all know at times some of them do. Here the beauty for the defense is they've got a real live, real-time George Zimmerman, thinner, leaner, acting calm, no attorney present, and giving his version. What the state is forced to do is lay all of Zimmerman's prior statements each atop of one another and try to point out the inconsistencies to show that he's not credible and his story shouldn't be believed. But that's a difficult road for them to travel because they don't have the ability to trip him up on the stand. I think this shows one reason why the defense did not have a Stand-Your-Ground hearing. They knew they would have to put George Zimmerman on the stand, and they opted not to. There was no way to consider winning that. It would have been a hard road if Zimmerman didn't take the stand. I think we're seeing some of this play out.

MALVEAUX: All right.

Let's listen back in.


BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: You interviewed the defendant for about five or so minutes.

DET. DORIS SINGLETON, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: I learned that later but, at the time, I didn't know that.

DE LA RIONDA: You didn't participate in that at all?


DE LA RIONDA: We asked you about or I asked you about that you observed some injuries on defendant, and I want to show you, with the court's permission -- thank you, Your Honor -- state's exhibit 47. Do you recall in terms of -- when you first came in contact, he had a bit of blood underneath his nose, is that correct?

SINGLETON: Yes, underneath his nose, coming out of one of the ears. I believe it was the left ear.


SINGLETON: And in his -- one of the side corners or his mouth.

DE LA RIONDA: He was dressed in this attire, is that correct?

SINGLETON: Yes. Yes, he was wearing that.

DE LA RIONDA: In terms of possible injuries did you observe he had abrasion or scratch or something to his nose right here?


DE LA RIONDA: Did you also observe something right here on the side of his nose and some right here that I'm pointing to?


DE LA RIONDA: State's exhibit 66 -- the last one, for the record, was 64. State's exhibit 68, is that what you were talking about, the back of his head, or the side of his head right here?

SINGLETON: Yes, there was more than one on the back of his head.

DE LA RIONDA: He had two on the back of his head too, is that correct?

SINGLETON: I believe I could see it bleeding from two different areas.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. Did you on the 27th of February, the next day end upcoming into contact with him. Were you present when the DNA sample was taken from the defendant?

SINGLETON: Yes, I was in the same room.

DE LA RIONDA: For the purpose of the record I've introduced state's exhibit number -- I think it's going to be -- may I approach Madame Clerk?


DE LA RIONDA: I believe it should be 207. Is that the next number available? Yes, this is stipulated too. 207. Oh. I'm sorry.

There's a video that shows the DNA sample being taken using the swab. Were you present for that?

SINGLETON: Yes, I was present when that was taken.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, judge it's 208. 207 was medical records.

DE LA RIONDA: So it's 208?


DE LA RIONDA: Thank you.

May I publish that to the jury, Your Honor?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. Take your glasses off, sir. Try not to. (INAUDIBLE)


(END LIVE FEED) MALVEAUX: Prescott, Arizona, a press conference under way now. This is regarding the 19 firefighters who perished in that fire. Let's listen in.


MARLIN KUYKENDALL, MAYOR OF PRESCOTT, ARIZONA: -- to the world what Prescott is made of to have this turn out. And ladies and gentlemen of the press and the media, thank you for being here.

I represent the city of Prescott. And to show the strength of the city, this city, we have our entire city council and our entire management team.

Raise your hands, guys and gals.

You'll get a lot of information a little bit later.

But just a few things I would like to express on behalf of the city. Number one, we have to recognize that there's still a fire going on. And there's still men and women on the fire line doing their job as they always do and they still got, they still have work to do. Also, we have 19 young men that lost their lives yesterday afternoon and we're here to honor them. But even as much we're here to honor the families of those 19 individuals that still have years of their life left and work to be done. We thank them.

Everybody was together down at one of our schools. All of the families that were able to be there and it was an experience. But it was also, at the end of the day, a joy to see these young people still able to do the things that they have to do and we're very proud of them. The entire community is very proud of these people.

This morning, we've had calls from lots of places. Early on, we had a telephone call from the White House to express the concern and the appreciation for what these young men did, coming from the president of the United States. We appreciate that.

Senator McCain called from overseas. I didn't ask what country he was in. He offered his condolence and said he could be here within 24 hours if we needed him. And we respect that, and we appreciate it.

Congressman Gosar had scheduled a meeting this afternoon with some of his constituents from Washington to talk about some of the problems that going on in our capital and they changed the purpose of that meeting to an event to honor the young men this we're here to honor today.

The community has been wonderful by bringing more food than probably this whole group could eat in two or three days. Helping the families at least take break from the events that they would normally have had last night.

That said, I have the great honor to introduce a lady that we've been friends for a while. She was in Los Angeles this morning. Made a flight to Phoenix and another flight to be here today and insisted she wanted to be here to speak to you and to express her thanks for what you're doing and what our community is doing.

So with great pleasure, your governor, Jan Brewer.




BREWER: Well, thank you all, each and every one of you, for joining us here this morning. I'm so sorry that we come together today under these very tragic circumstances.

Yesterday, not far from where we're standing, the Yarnell Fire exploded into a fire storm that overran the local Granite Mountain Hot Shots. 19 lives were lost, brave men who gave their life in defense of friends, neighbors and perfect strangers.

The Yarnell Fire is the deadliest wildfire in Arizona state history and our nation's deadliest in 80 years.

To the friends, family of those lost yesterday, I know we can never fully repay the sacrifices made by your loved ones. But we can honor their service with our gratitude and prayers and through our steadfast dedication to do whatever is necessary to bring this fire under control before it causes anymore heartache. As governor of Arizona, that's my commitment to each and every one of you.

This morning, I signed a declaration to make available for additional state resources to fight this fire. My team and I are in close contact with local officials and we'll look to them for what they need. We're all coordinating with federal officials. The state had received a grant through which the federal government covers most of the costs fighting this fire. The firefighters lost yesterday. I want to be mindful of the hundreds remaining in harms way as they continue to battle this Yarnell Fire. Our prayers are with them.

In this tragedy there remains many unanswered questions and there will be times to find the answers that I know each and every up with of us seek.

I said last night my heart is breaking. I can't even imagine how the family and friends that knew these individuals feel. It just is unbearable -- I don't know for many of you -- but it's also unbearable for me. We know the pain that everybody is trying to overcome and deal with today. So for now, we mourn.

Consider this. The Yarnell Fire claimed the lives of more first responders than any single disaster since 9/11. Just as we honor the memory of the firefighters lost that day as they charged into the burning towers, we will remember the brave men of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots. Let's all remember them and their families and they prayers. Let's remember the firefighters that are out on the line continuing to battle the raging flames that are there. And let us all ask God to bless their families and ask God to protect Prescott, Arizona, and ask God to protect the great state of Arizona. Thank you.



MALVEAUX: You're listening to Governor Jan Brewer emotional touched by the loss, saying the pain and loss was unbearable to her and the community, and stating the obviously that, of course, you could never repay the families of those 19 that lost their lives and sacrificed their lives battling that fire. But there would be more aid, emergency declaration aid to try to help to continue to battle the fire that's still burning now. We'll have more on that story.

And also after this break, we'll go back to George Zimmerman's trial. That's moments away.


MALVEAUX: We'll go back to the Zimmerman trial. Let's listen in.


MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Or if you have permission from their lawyer, would you rather talk to them again?

SINGLETON: That's right.

O'MARA: That never happened in this case, correct?

SINGLETON: No, he never refused to speak with us.

O'MARA: Sure. He never refused to speak with you that night either the first or second or the break in between.

SINGLETON: He never refused to speak to us anytime we asked.

O'MARA: And you testified concerning the investigator's interview where you Mirandized again and, of course, he acknowledged these rights then, did he not?


O'MARA: And waived them again?


O'MARA: And never did he reassert any right to remain silent?

SINGLETON: No, he never did.

O'MARA: You're familiar with the re-enactment video where he actually went out to the scene and walked through what had happened that turned out to be the night before, correct?

SINGLETON: Yes, I was there. O'MARA: And, of course, that was done voluntarily, correct?

SINGLETON: Yes, it was.

O'MARA: That could not be forced upon him will, could it?

SINGLETON: No, it could not be.

O'MARA: And it wasn't in this case?

SINGLETON: It wasn't.

O'MARA: So every time that George Zimmerman spoke with you, it was voluntary?


O'MARA: And he was given full notice he had the right to stop at any point?

SINGLETON: Each time, yes.

O'MARA: Let's talk about the initial interview. And I want to set the stage for the jury to understand what you knew, and maybe what George Zimmerman knew about what had gone on before the interview. So let me ask you, did you know anything about this case other than it was a shoot being and you were talking to the person who had shot the other person?

SINGLETON: That's about as much as I knew.

O'MARA: Basically, you were brought in. There was a lot going on at Twin Lakes, and they had to get him talked to away from the scene, and you were the person to do it?


O'MARA: OK. Now, we had heard one sort of interaction between you and law enforcement during the interview process, which is where I believe Sergeant Santiago talked to you about looking into the videotaping question, correct?


O'MARA: All right. Was there any other times during the initial interview with George Zimmerman where he was advised what information existed at the scene?

SINGLETON: No. He could not have. I didn't know.

O'MARA: OK. For example, you know, correct, now, that there was an eyewitness to a part of the event, correct?

SINGLETON: I knew after that interview, yes.

O'MARA: No, I mean, today, you know that. SINGLETON: Today, I know that.

DE LA RIONDA: Objection.

NELSON: Overruled.

O'MARA: You know today that there was an eyewitness report partially of the event, correct?


O'MARA: You know today that there was a 911 call that has screams on it?


O'MARA: And, of course, you know today that there were a number of other ear witnesses that heard things and some of them saw other things at some point in this time line of the shooting. You're aware of that now, right?

SINGLETON: Yes, and I spoke with most of them.

O'MARA: OK. From the questions and answers that Mr. Zimmerman gave you, did he evidence an awareness that he was aware that there was a 911 tape that documented at least somebody screaming that night?

SINGLETON: The only thing he indicated is the person on the patio that saw him.

O'MARA: Yes, he -- sorry.

SINGLETON: He said that he was going to call 911. That person told him that.

O'MARA: But Mr. Zimmerman never evidenced to you that he knew that there would be a call that actually documented his screamings, did he?

DE LA RIONDA: Objection. Calls for facts that are not in evidence that he was the one screaming.

NELSON: Sustained.

O'MARA: I'll rephrase it.

Did -- as to that, I'm sorry, I'll rephrase it.

Did Mr. Zimmerman ever evidence to you that he knew there was a 911 call that would document somebody screaming for help?

SINGLETON: No. During the interview, I suggested to him that possibly someone heard something, overheard by 911, and he agreed that maybe they had.

O'MARA: But he had told you even before that part of the conversation that it was he who was screaming for help? SINGLETON: Yes. Yes.

O'MARA: And you've become aware in this investigation that Officer Tim Smith --

DE LA RIONDA: Objection as to hearsay.

NELSON: Let me hear the rest of the question.

O'MARA: You've become aware during the involvement in the investigation that Officer Tim Smith was told by Mr. Zimmerman that he was screaming for help?

DE LA RIONDA: Same objection, Your Honor.

NELSON: Overruled.

SINGLETON: Ask again, please, sir?

O'MARA: You became involved during your involvement with the investigation that Officer Tim Smith, the first officer on the scene, was told by George Zimmerman within moments after Officer Smith's arrival that George Zimmerman was screaming for help?

SINGLETON: Yes, I've learned that.

O'MARA: And that, of course, was well before any suggestion that you may have said to him that a 911 call might actually document the screaming for help?

SINGLETON: I never suggested that to him ever.

O'MARA: He had also told you that during the altercation, and I'm going to use names. Obviously, you didn't know Trayvon Martin's name during the interview, correct?

SINGLETON: I did not use the victim's name.

O'MARA: I'll use his name as I question, if I might, as though you knew it. Obviously --


O'MARA: -- you found out later, but just so we can keep the names separate and identified. OK?


O'MARA: When Mr. Zimmerman stated that Trayvon Martin was hitting his head on concrete, had you given Mr. Zimmerman any evidence that a witness existed to document that?

DE LA RIONDA: Objection.

SINGLETON: No, I wouldn't have --

DE LA RIONDA: Mr. O'Mara testifies to what someone else said, and this witness had no knowledge of it.

NELSON: Sustained.

O'MARA: I might rephrase it then, Your Honor.

Did you have any information from any source that you related it on Mr. Zimmerman that there was an eyewitness who had documented the smashing of the head on concrete?

DE LA RIONDA: Same objection as to Mr. O'Mara testifying as to what somebody else possibly said. Unless this witness was told --


NELSON: There is a speaking objection. But you need to lay a foundation.


NELSON: Before you ask that question.

O'MARA: You've become aware over the time of the investigation that there is an eyewitness that documented that Trayvon Martin was smashing George Zimmerman's head on concrete, correct?

DE LA RIONDA: Your Honor, may we approach?

NELSON: Yes, you may approach.

DE LA RIONDA: I apologize.


MALVEAUX: You've been listening to Detective Doris Singleton. She's the one who interviewed George Zimmerman right after he was detained.

Sunny, are you hearing anything that strikes you being helpful to either side?

HOSTIN: Yeah, I mean they're examining this particular witness and that's fine. But what's really important here is the audio-taped statement of George Zimmerman. So while they're trying to get into other things, in my view, Suzanne, this tape-recording speaks for itself. The video speaks for itself. So I'm not sure how much more they can get from this particular witness. But you know how lawyers are. We try to get as much as we can --


-- when we're in trial. So perhaps that's a little bit about what you're seeing.

MALVEAUX: And we're actually seeing, Sunny, some pictures of the parents, Trayvon Martin's parents. We know Zimmerman's parents are not allowed to there been because they're witnesses. They could become tainted. What has been the response from the Martin family? HOSTIN: Well, they have been in the courtroom every single day. They walk in, they sit in the same place. And the jury -- at this point, I don't see the jury looking at them actually. I do see the jury paying a lot of attention to the witnesses, to the lawyer, but not looking into the gallery and looking at all of us.

My seat isn't that far from the family. They haven't shown as much emotion as they were showing earlier on. I should also point out -- I don't know if we have a picture -- but maybe coming here -- George Zimmerman's sister has been in the courtroom pretty much almost every day. She's sitting within the first two rows. At the break, she walked out with him and they do appear to be very close. So he does have some support in the courtroom, as well.

MALVEAUX: And you had mentioned before earlier that you think there's a possibility that perhaps Trayvon Martin's parents would testify about the sound of the screams on the 911 tape because the analysts so far have said they are not able to, in any scientific or technological way, identify who those came from. Do you think we'll see them?

HOSTIN: I think there is no question someone from Trayvon's family will testify. That's the only reason why the state called the voice expert to say that while technology hasn't caught up yet --


HOSTIN: -- an expert can't testify as to someone's voice, a family member, someone very familiar with that voice can.


Let's listen in.


O'MARA: -- Mr. Zimmerman before he gave his statement to you, correct?

SINGLETON: I didn't have any information that I could have possibly given.

O'MARA: And there were no other police reports already generated that you may have seen?

SINGLETON: Nothing had been generated so far.

O'MARA: Is it accurate to say that this was, in one sense, the virgin interview, where you were getting all the information from him that you could, though you had nothing even to corroborate or to dispute what he was telling you?

SINGLETON: That is correct.

O'MARA: You had mentioned -- and we're skipping around a little bit and hit subjects rather than the time line. The time line has been gone through, of course.