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THE SITUATION ROOM

Lead Detective On Stand In Zimmerman Trial

Aired July 1, 2013 - 17:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jake, thanks very much. Happening now in his own words, for the first time, jurors see and hear George Zimmerman on tape recounting those dramatic chain of events that ended in Trayvon Martin's death.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER (voice-over): Also, it's the deadliest blaze for firefighters since the 9/11 attacks and the deadliest wildfire in Arizona's history. The governor is calling the loss of 19 men in an elite squad unbearable.

And former president, George W. Bush, breaking his silence about the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, in an exclusive interview with CNN. You'll see it and hear it here in the SITUATION ROOM.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: In the meantime, we're continuing our live coverage of the George Zimmerman trial. Mark O'Mara is continuing his questioning of Chris Serino (ph), one of the first police officers on the scene.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DET. CHRIS SERINO, LEAD INVESTIGATOR IN ZIMMERMAN CASE: More so than the shooting incident, correct.

MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: OK. So let me -- with that in mind, let me just show you what the jury is seeing now and is already in evidence and ask you, is that some of what you're talking about, the trauma of that Mr. Zimmerman had gone through? Of course --

SERINO: That's the trauma it is given the night of. Correct.

O'MARA: This was the picture that you saw that Officer Wagner had taken of him, correct?

SERINO: Yes.

O'MARA: You didn't see Mr. Zimmerman live in this condition because he had been cleaned up.

SERINO: No.

O'MARA: And similar to his photograph, remember that photograph?

SERINO: That's the one that John Minolo (ph) showed up.

O'MARA: Yes.

SERINO: I hadn't seen that.

O'MARA: Is that part of trauma that you're talking about he had gone through.

SERINO: Sir, I think more specifically the fearing for his life trauma that he was expressing wasn't the actual physical injuries, if I may.

O'MARA: And it is that or a combination of that that led you to this thought that Mr. Zimmerman had sort of a flat affect about everything that had happened to him that night?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Did it come across to you, though, that he was just uncaring, that he just didn't care that he had gotten beat up and that he had to shoot somebody because of it or was it truly your thought that he was reacting to the trauma?

SERINO: I would have no -- I didn't know him prior to this. It would be included to one of my concerns, yes, however, it could be something totally different. So, that was one of the concerns that may have been, that he was uncaring or other things were going on.

O'MARA: Did -- in the investigation, did he -- I'm sorry, in the interview, and we're talking now about the one that happened at midnight, did he seem to be cavalier or uncaring in the way he answered your questions?

SERINO: Not necessarily.

O'MARA: Anything in interview that you would point out to the jury where you thought he was acting cavalier? By that, I mean something like "can I go home now?" or "are we done here?" or "there's a midnight movie I want to catch"? Anything like that that showed up in that interview?

SERINO: Other than potentially making himself unavailable for a next- day follow up because he had to go to class --

O'MARA: Right. OK. Let's talk about that for a minute. You asked him about doing the interview, the re-creation the next day, right? You asked him what time he got off and he told you I have class at 6:30. He also told you, I think, next sentence, was "but I can skip it?"

SERINO: He may have. O'MARA: Let's say that that's what the transcript shows. If he said, did that then address your concern that this guy doesn't care much about the investigation because or he was just to go class?

SERINO: I wouldn't specifically go there about the whole thing, but it just -- odd that he'd have that on his mind based on what just happened to him and what had ended up happening out there. It struck me as being different.

O'MARA: Did that fall in line with your concern that he had this flat affect, that he just wasn't reacting to what he had just gone through both in heavy to shoot and kill somebody and in getting those type of injuries from the beating that he -- the incident that he said happened to him?

SERINO: Among other things.

O'MARA: Right. Was it also concerning to you that he just said I got to go to the work in the morning? After midnight, he was still with you, and yet, he's planning to go to work in the morning.

SERINO: That was a little concerning.

O'MARA: OK. And again, concerning if, in fact, he was completely uncaring?

SERINO: Uncaring, among other terms.

O'MARA: Yes. But not a concern if it was just further evidence of his reaction to the trauma being just going flat on things.

SERINO: Correct. I mean, I hard to say.

O'MARA: Right. But aside from the fact that he seemed to be acting with this flat affect, there was nothing in his words that suggested an uncaring attitude was there?

SERINO: No, there weren't.

O'MARA: Matter of fact, Investigator Singleton told you that he didn't even know that Trayvon Martin had passed and when he had passed they had a conversation about God and being catholic and that he put his head down and shook his head no when she finally told him that Trayvon Martin had passed. She told you that, right?

SERINO: I don't recollect conversation, but she may have.

O'MARA: OK. Did anything at all -- and I want you to really drill into it. And I'm sorry, I know that you've heard it. I have a transcript of the interview. Would that assist you as I ask you some questions about the interview?

SERINO: If you have an extra copy. I might have one myself.

O'MARA: Up to the state if I might. Let me show it to the state first. It's not the official court reporter's transcript, but it may be used to refresh your recollection.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marked for identification on defense exhibit double G.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Double I.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: DOUBLE I. Oh. Yes, you may.

O'MARA: I'm not going to have you go through it line by line at all, but, basically to use it to refresh your recollection to the extent that we need to.

SERINO: OK.

O'MARA: The question is this -- and only refer to that document if you need to to refresh your recollection. Was there anything in the interview with Mr. Zimmerman on February 22nd at 12:05 that was specifically contradicted by the evidence that you had available to you at that point?

SERINO: No, sir.

O'MARA: As an example, he said he shot once. There was only one shot fired, correct?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: He said that his head was being hit where it was and John Good said that they were in that same occasion he'd been told you that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. That's a hearsay again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sustained.

O'MARA: The witnesses had talked to you about the facts of the event. None of those facts presented by those witnesses contested Mr. Zimmerman's rendition of the facts, did they?

SERINO: Not at that point, no, sir.

O'MARA: Including witnesses who were right there after the shooting had occurred that saw Mr. Zimmerman, correct? There was no conflict there, was there?

SERINO: No, sir.

O'MARA: There's no conflict with the initial investigator -- officer that came on the scene, I think it was Tim Smith (ph). What he told you did not conflict with what Mr. Zimmerman had told you, right?

SERINO: Not at all. No, sir.

O'MARA: One fact anywhere in that interview that was contested by a fact that you knew from the investigation?

SERINO: None that I found.

O'MARA: Thank you. If I might retrieve the document, your honor. And then, if you would remind the jury the next time you had contact with Mr. Zimmerman.

SERINO: Probably over the phone prior to meeting with him on the 29th.

O'MARA: OK.

SERINO: Oh, I'm sorry, the next day, the walk through.

O'MARA: That's OK. I was going to remind you. You had contact with him the next day when he came and met with you to do the walk-through, correct?

SERINO: Technically, later the same day, yes, sir.

O'MARA: OK. And of course, that's the video that you were here for, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: So, he went to work that day, it seemed, because he waited until you got off work, correct?

SERINO: He made our appointment. I don't know whether he went to work or not.

O'MARA: OK. And he was willing to do the re-creation still, correct, as we saw on the tape.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Any concern with doing that?

SERINO: No, he was available.

O'MARA: Did you notice a similar behavior, we're calling now this flat affect behavior even in the video as well?

SERINO: No. He was a little more animated.

O'MARA: A bit more resolved?

SERINO: You can use that word.

O'MARA: OK. And focus on the re-creation and let me ask you to point out for the jury inconsistencies that you noticed. I'm going to ask you for two types. The first is tell me the significant -- tell the jury significant inconsistencies between that re-creation video and what he had told you the night before. Let's just start there.

SERINO: OK. My interview with him -- let me clear this up, if I may, --

O'MARA: Certainly.

SERINO: -- was a brief overview of what I had and it wasn't an extensive interview. I can attest to what the interview -- what Officer Singleton and the walk-through was based on what I saw, that's more fair. I kind of went there to move things along because I was kind of focused on trying to identify who the deceased was at that time.

O'MARA: To what?

SERINO: I was more focused on trying to identify who the deceased at that point.

O'MARA: OK.

SERINO: So, the interview with him was rather short, if you can call it interview, but I'll -- yes, I'll try.

O'MARA: OK. Talking about the interview at midnight you're talking about, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: But that's where you had at that point, and let me open up the comparison for moment to say, I also want to you tell us of any discrepancies in the re-creation video that existed either in your interview with him at midnight or investigator or Officer Singleton's interview with him at 8:00 p.m. That you had available to you.

So, as the investigating officer, you've looked at -- I'm not going to talk about the other evidence yet. We're going to get to that in a second, but just my client's statements to either Officer Singleton or you the night before and the differences that you noticed in the video.

SERINO: OK, sir.

O'MARA: OK? That's my premise question. So, tell me what are those?

SERINO: I can't think of them off hand. None that come to mind right now, no.

O'MARA: OK. Obviously, you've had an opportunity to review all of this information well before today, correct?

SERINO: Yes, I did.

O'MARA: You were studying this from the 27th until I think at least March 12th or thereabouts, correct?

SERINO: I've been studying it, yes.

O'MARA: And that included all of the information and reviewing all of his statements and comparing them, correct?

SERINO: Yes. But, when you say inconsistencies, I can tell you as far as a statement saying that he fell (ph) as soon as he was hit once,

O'MARA: Sure.

SERINO: I mean, you know?

O'MARA: Well, let me premise it with this then. Any 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 ever heard of somebody remembering step by step exactly how stuff occurred that they were involved in. Unless, you're looking from the outside looking in.

O'MARA: As a 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: I'd -- either they're being completely honest or completely false to the extreme.

O'MARA: If you, as a cop on the street, you're going to find somebody and ask him three different times three weeks apart, what happen? And they came up with the exact same story, what do you think? They were lying to you each and every time?

SERINO: It's hard to say. I'm a professional skeptic.

O'MARA: OK. I guess, it's your job security being a professional skeptic, right?

SERINO: It's a job requirement more.

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

SERINO: Eventually, yes.

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

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Because that would, in fact, suggest a change not just in the presentation, but in the real substance of it.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And you're attuned to look for this as the investigator in this case?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And did you notice anything to bring to the jury's attention today that caused you that concern, that spidey sense that something's going wrong with what's he's telling you?

SERINO: Nothing I can articulate, no, sir.

O'MARA: As a matter of fact, as we look at that video, as you looked at it, it was quite consistent with what he had told you before, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And though it was longer and more was discussed, there was nothing in that re-creation where he moved things around or did things differently or suggested things happened in a different location, did he?

SERINO: Nothing major, no, sir.

O'MARA: Now, let's talk about and we're building up to what I call the challenge interview. I know that's next. But let's stick on this one, the recreation interview.

SERINO: OK.

O'MARA: You, of course, had some more information -- you had another day's worth of investigation, right, because you were working the case the entirety of the 27th, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: So, you had been gathering more witness statements and more of the law enforcement workout that was being done, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Would you agree you probably had a dozen or 15 witness statements available to you on the 27th?

SERINO: Approximately.

O'MARA: Right. And had reviewed all of those in planning for your next communication with Mr. Zimmerman?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Did what he say on the re-creation video contradict any of the witness statements that you had gotten so far by Friday -- or, sorry, the 27th at 5:00 p.m.?

SERINO: Nothing directly.

O'MARA: Anything at all that you can explain to the jury where you looked at it and said this piece isn't fitting?

SERINO: Nothing as far as the information that he'd given us, no.

O'MARA: Would you agree that any of the slight inconsistencies that did exist on that video you would sort of assign as just being the way interviews go?

SERINO: Perhaps, yes.

O'MARA: Well, anything else besides that?

SERINO: Nothing that comes to mind, no. As far as something that would have triggered something more than just me continuing to talk to him.

O'MARA: OK.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Chris Serino, the patrol officer who interviewed George Zimmerman on that first night after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, offering his testimony, testimony seemingly pretty good for George Zimmerman and the defense. We're going to continue our coverage right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The lawyers are still having what they call a side bar with the judge at this trial as they consult over a sensitive issue presumably. Let's bring in our analyst. Sunny Hostin is joining us. Mark Nejame is joining us. And Jeffrey Toobin is joining us.

Jeffrey, it seems this appearance by Chris Serino, the patrol officer who interrogated George Zimmerman on the night of the killing seems to be helping pretty much George Zimmerman.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, they ought to teach this cross-examination in law school because Mark O'Mara is lovingly bringing out what a cooperative witness Zimmerman was, how his story was consistent. He acted in a manner that you would expect someone in this situation.

He is stretching out the cross-examination because every answer he's getting from a detective who investigated this case is helpful to the defense.

BLITZER: And, you know, Sunny, as we listen to this testimony from this witness, Chris Serino, I think Jeffrey makes an excellent point. It looks like it's bolstering George Zimmerman's case that not only was he cooperative, but he was acting in self-defense.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, he's on cross- examination and that's what defense attorney should be doing. He should be trying to, somehow, bolster his client's story. But I've got to tell you, I thought that this was a very good day for the prosecution. I mean, when you listen to the tape on direct, there were so many things that struck me as fascinating.

I mean, one of the things was, you know, you have one of the detectives, Detective Singleton or Investigator Singleton saying, wait a minute, you sound like you're running. You told me that you got out of the car to look for a street sign. Serino says but there are only three streets in your entire neighborhood. You didn't know what street you were on?

So, when you look at the direct, I don't know. He was a pretty powerful witness for the state. But on cross-examination, a skilled attorney like Mark O'Mara, yes, it should be, you know, a good cross- examination. But I got to tell you, I thought he was an excellent witness for the state. Maybe all of you are watching a different trial.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: All right. No. We're all watching the same trial and that's what the nature of this business is all about, because you get different impressions. Just want to alert our viewers, Judge Deborah Nelson has asked the jurors, the six jurors, all women, to leave the courtroom momentarily. They're discussing a sensitive issue. As they do that, let's take another quick break and resume our coverage right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Judge Deborah Nelson has just asked the six jurors to come back into the courtroom. They were out as they were reading some of the testimony from the transcripts to make sure that the lawyers were not going too far one way or nother. She's going to ask these six jurors if they want to spend another half hour or so listening to testimony from Chris Serino, the patrol officer who was on the scene the day that Trayvon Martin was shot and killed.

They want to continue this for another half an hour or do they want to resume tomorrow morning 9:00 a.m. eastern? We're going to hear from the jurors as we await the decision from the jurors whether they want the questioning to continue.

Let me bring in some of our analyst. Mark Nejame is joining us. Mark, before the commercial break, you heard Sunny think this was a good day for the prosecution. A lot of others think it's a good day for the defense.

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I don't think it was a good day for the defense. I think it was a great day for the defense. You've got your lead investigator, your lead detective who's saying all the things the defense lawyer wants him to do. If there's any witness that should be state-oriented, that would be on the state side, it's your lead detective. And what does he said, the only way that this case can be won by the state is if, in fact, they disagree.

The bureau (ph) show that Zimmerman is giving inconsistent statements. And what did their lead detective say? All of the statements have been consistent each with the other. That's powerful. That's strong. BLITZER: All right. Let's in. The jurors just decided they will continue for another half an hour. They're going to go to the top of the hour. Here's some more questioning from Mark O'Mara, the criminal defense attorney and this is Chris Serino, the patrol office from the Sanford Police Department who interrogated Zimmerman that first night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

O'MARA: I think you said earlier there was nothing specifically inconsistent with the statements before and the re-creation video, correct?

SERINO: No, sir.

O'MARA: OK. Now, let's just sort of move forward into your next efforts in this regard. I'm going to then move us up pretty quickly to the next interview with Mr. Zimmerman. But before you got to that next interview with Mr. Zimmerman, tell the jury, if you would, what other actions you were doing as the investigating officer?

SERINO: From the beginning?

O'MARA: Well, yes. We've sort of gone through the 26th, correct, that night. And then we've talked about that you had a dozen or so witness statements you'd already gathered on the 27th. And that we had the interview and the re-creation interview on the 27th. So, moving us from that point forward.

SERINO: OK. Other than identifying Trayvon himself and as far as -- my timeline as far as what I was doing as it pertains to George?

O'MARA: Yes, sir.

SERINO: OK. On the day after, after identifying -- well, on the day of the incident, you know, I spent several hours attempting to identify Trayvon and I spent most of the night doing that actually. And after identifying him, I had to go ahead and make arrangements to get him released.

The interviews that were conducted in preparation for my next interview with George had to be listened to and compared to -- with the statement that he provided us. And ultimately, not to consolidate it for you, but he -- we had to essentially -- we realized that the only person that saw what happened or how it initiated was going to be George because at that point we couldn't find any other witnesses to say how it began, what was the first encounter.

O'MARA: All right, and, if I might, I want to interrupt you for just a moment and then I want you to go back on that track. At this point, you did have available to you the known emergency call, correct?

SERINO: Yes, I did.

O'MARA: So, you did you know what Mrs. Newman (ph) was saying to the known emergency operator at that point. And you also had Mrs. Lauer's (ph) 911 call where you heard the screaming, correct? SERINO: Yes, I did.

O'MARA: OK so with that in context, you're telling me now you're sort of trying to figure out no other witnesses there who can say I saw them come together.

SERINO: We could not locate anybody who said they saw that exactly. All we had were the 911 calls and the yells in the background, statements from Mr. Goode who actually saw -- no reason not to believe him -- statements that your client made that corroborated everything else.

And that's where we were on that last interview. I had nothing of substance to basically toss it in to confront him with as far as the interview went other than suspicious lack of remembering the streets, how many streets he had in his neighborhood and other oddities. But that would have compelled me to go ahead and keep on interviewing him. Still didn't seem to quite add up. It would have had to have been further.

O'MARA: So then what you decided to take on, which is another useful police tactic, if you will, is what's called a challenge interview, correct?

SERINO: At this point I wasn't ready for one, but yes.

O'MARA: Right. I mean, you were also under quite a deal of pressure to get this case moved forward, correct?

SERINO: Yes, I was.

O'MARA: And had to move even quicker than you would have otherwise have moved on this case because of some of the external pressures that we now know existed in this case?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And it was for that reason that you may have moved a little bit quicker than would you have otherwise would have liked to to interview Mr. Zimmerman in this sort of this aggressive context, correct?

SERINO: Yes.

O'MARA: And I'm not saying that as if it was bad. When I say it's aggressive, you're taught how to do this, correct?

SERINO: Yes.

O'MARA: You're also taught, for example, as a law enforcement officer, how to use a command voice in a situation when you walk in, right? If you need to take control of a couple of people or whatever it is, anything it is, they teach you how to take control. And that is get in their face a little bit, wake them up, use a loud voice, because it works, right?

SERINO: Yes, assertiveness if properly used.

O'MARA: And you also learn how to use all your weapon systems so we know when to use what and how to use it and how to get control. And that's what you do as a cop, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And you get that both from the academy and also from years of experience?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And one of those things you get from those years of experience is what I call the challenge interview. I don't know if you have a different term for it but -- is that what it is?

SERINO: I don't have a name for it, but it's basically a challenge interview.

O'MARA: That's where you try to go in and you try to undermine an interviewees' story to them, right? You challenge them. You sort of - and we go back and forth with first you're being nice and then you're not being nice and then you set them up and then knock them down, correct?

SERINO: That's a technique.

O'MARA: And I don't mean to give up your secrets.

SERINO: No, not at all. I mean, it's --

O'MARA: That's -- these are technique, the purpose of which you can break somebody's story, right?

SERINO: And to discover the truth, yes.

O'MARA: Yes, particularly in a case where you're under a lot of pressure from the outside and don't have a lot of inconsistencies that you need to either get through to Mr. Zimmerman in this case and break it or not, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Compound question.

O'MARA: Did you understand what I said?

SERINO: Repeat it, please.

O'MARA: Sure. Your intent in this case because of everything that was going on was that you wanted to get Mr. Zimmerman in a position where if you could break him, if you could get him to change his story in a significant way, then you can find out he's lying, right?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: That's one of them, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: At the very least what you do is try and crack that door open just a little bit, right, get just a stream of line coming through so you can really push through it if he's lying to you?

SERINO: Yes, I'm seeking the omission that maybe there's exaggeration, that maybe they're --

O'MARA: Yeah. Or the anger that may be there that didn't show before, or just the hit them with something that -- you might even exaggerate as a problem just to see if he bites, right?

SERINO: Absolutely.

O'MARA: That's a tactic, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And it works, doesn't it?

SERINO: At times.

O'MARA: Usually.

SERINO: Sometimes.

O'MARA: Right? I mean, that's why you do it, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: OK. And this type of an -- I'm going to use the term from now on challenge interview. Are you okay with that?

SERINO: That's fine.

O'MARA: All right. This type of a challenge interview, you often have two people there, right, so you sort of play one off against the other?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Again, that's intentional, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Particularly you would use somebody like Officer Singleton because she had a decent relationship with George from that first interview, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: So she's the perfect candidate.

SERINO: Could be, yes.

O'MARA: Might even help they had that little Christian connection thing going on and all that, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And again, it sounds like I'm harassing your style or something --

SERINO: No, not at all.

O'MARA: And please understand, I'm not. I just want to make sure the jury understands that these type of techniques are used for very particular purposes within law enforcement.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

(END LIVE COVERAGE OF ZIMMERMAN TRIAL)

BLITZER: All right, we're going to continue our coverage. They're talking about the interrogation techniques that police officer Chris Serino used that first night in interrogating George Zimmerman. Mark O'Mara, the criminal defense attorney, doing the questioning. We'll resume our coverage in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, continuing his questioning of Chris Serino, who was the police officer who interrogated Zimmerman on that first night after shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. They're going through right now what is called a challenge interrogation, questioning that night. Let's listen in.

(BEGIN LIVE COVERAGE OF ZIMMERMAN TRIAL)

O'MARA: You've had challenge interviews that were much more in the person's face, correct?

SERINO: Usually when I had something more than what I had.

O'MARA: And I was just going to say, that's where you walk in to the guy who just, you know --

SERINO: Exactly.

O'MARA: -- stole eight cars in the neighborhood and you have his fingerprints on six of them, and he's just telling you he was in the library studying.

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: That challenge interview is you walk in and go you got one last chance. You're going to prison a long, long time and or you tell me what happened. That's a really aggressive challenge interview, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: So, you have to modify the challenge interview style based upon what you have to hit him with, right?

SERINO: Exactly.

O'MARA: And in this case, you didn't have much to hit him with, right?

SERINO: No sir, I did not.

O'MARA: OK. So, you're sort of walking thought everything that he had done. Now, the reason you're having him repeat everything in greater detail is again to see if you can wean out any inconsistencies from him, right?

SERINO: Or omissions, yes.

O'MARA: Or omissions, yes. He may just break down and say something that he didn't acknowledge before.

SERINO: Admissions, omissions. Yeah, I was talking about stuff he might have left out. More information.

O'MARA: OK. And as to the information in the first few pages, anything else that he added that he had not talked to you about, at least in general terms?

SERINO: No sir.

O'MARA: Anything inconsistent?

SERINO: Nothing that -- no, nothing major.

O'MARA: Then you start with, again, some of the sort of psychological underplay with him that he's going to be under a lot of scrutiny, right? You're trying to go to bat for him, you're going to have to speak for him, right? Just sort of laying that into the framework here?

SERINO: Well, in this particular case, I mean he could have been considered a victim also. I mean, it's just -- it's one of those investigations where --

O'MARA: Agreed. But you were dealing with a lot going on that impacted on your investigation, correct?

SERINO: Regardless of what was going on, I still kept an open mind that he could be a victim.

O'MARA: Okay.

And in focusing him on some of what you thought you might have to defend when you were saying that you'd have to speak for him and this is going to under a lot of scrutiny, this whole question of whether or not George profiled him that you mentioned, right?

SERINO: Yes.

O'MARA: And you sort of hit him with that pretty straight out of the box, right, hoping for maybe a response that would give you an insight as to whether or not he profiling Trayvon because Trayvon was black?

SERINO: Or an explanation -- more of an explanation, I was seeking.

O'MARA: OK. So you asked him if he had been white would he would have reacted the same way, and he said yes?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Did that cause you any concern?

SERINO: No.

O'MARA: Think he was being straightforward?

SERINO: Yes.

O'MARA: Any evidence in your investigation to suggest differently up that point?

SERINO: No.

O'MARA: But you would agree that that was something you sort of wanted to play out there for him to respond to see if that might open something up.

SERINO: There were external concerns about that, external concerns, and I needed to get that clarified.

O'MARA: OK. And you did.

SERINO: Yes, I did.

O'MARA: And had he - had that question gone somewhere else, that may have led you down a different path?

SERINO: Yes sir.

O'MARA: You also had a concern that you evidenced to him or challenged him on because you had an issue over whether or not his rendition of getting hit dozens of times were supported by the forensic evidence of his injuries, correct?

SERINO: In my view, yes.

O'MARA: Yes.

SERINO: They were lacking.

O'MARA: Yes. Because he said -- I think one of you questioned him and he said, I got hit 20, 25 times, right?

SERINO: I believe he said 25 to 30 times, yes.

O'MARA: Twenty-five to 30. It didn't seem as though there was injuries sufficient for somebody getting hit 25 or 30 times, right?

SERINO: No, it did not.

O'MARA: OK. As you mentioned earlier, the trauma that he had been through, do you believe in your investigation of him that it may have just felt like he was getting hit 25 or 30 times?

SERINO: Based on personal experience it could be a panic thing more. Yes, it very well could have been.

O'MARA: So that in and of itself was an area that was a concern of yours, correct, but not something that suggested that he was just making that story up, did it?

SERINO: No.

O'MARA: As a matter of fact, have you had a chance to look at the pictures of his injuries before they started healing when you saw him?

SERINO: Yes, I did.

O'MARA: OK. Those are the injuries that were taken at SPD, Sanford Police Department, that night?

SERINO: Yes.

O'MARA: Without having to go through each and every one, the jury's seen them now probably three or four times, would you agree that there were numerous different bruising and injuries on both sides of his scalp first?

SERINO: There were injuries.

O'MARA: OK.

SERINO: However, based on the way I feel as a major crime investigator, who has seen injuries a lot worse than that, I didn't consider them life threatening.

O'MARA: Of course. As a matter of fact we don't --

SERINO: Once again.

O'MARA: And we don't need to see life threatening injuries, do we?

SERINO: No.

O'MARA: OK. We don't need to see any injuries, do we?

SERINO: No, we don't.

O'MARA: Yes, he did have some.

SERINO: Yes, he did.

O'MARA: And he had the nose injuries we talked about and he had the laceration on the back. You saw those pictures, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And you did see -- you saw the bruising and the swelling on both sides of his head? Did you see those?

SERINO: I saw -- yes. I saw imperfections, some. Call it that, yes.

O'MARA: Yes. Some -- what they call punctate bruising, like cement bruising on --

SERINO: Bumps, contusions. You know?

O'MARA: OK. And to the extent that you don't recount them all here today, agree that the jury can simply look at those pictures that were available to you at Sanford Police Department taken really right around the time of the first midnight interview and rely on those rather than your memory?

SERINO: Yes.

BLITZER: All right. So Chris Serino, the police officer, now suggesting that the injuries he saw on George Zimmerman that night were not, in his words, "life threatening." We're going to assess that and continue our live coverage right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The defense attorney Mark O'Mara continuing his cross- examination of Chris Serino, the patrol officer who interrogated George Zimmerman on the night of the killing of Trayvon Martin. Let's continue our coverage.

O'MARA: That was when I actually walked all the way over to my street, Retreat View Circle, which was those 40, 50, 60, we'll look at it, feet or so, to Retreat View Circle past the street, correct?

SERINO: I don't recall those responses, but I was measuring from Retreat View Circle to his vehicle. And I'd have to listen to it again. But it just seemed excessive. There was a -- there was a time there -- but I do think that he did say that he actually paused to pick up his flashlight or something.

O'MARA: Pick up --

SERINO: His flashlight, somewhere in there.

O'MARA: OK. We'll sort of defer to the tape as to what exactly what was said back and forth during this interview.

The -- another effort that you did, a sort of significant one, was when you told him that Trayvon Martin would videotape a lot of what he was doing. And that you believed that this whole event may well have been on video.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Correct? SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Again, a very specific challenge interrogation technique, is it not?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: When you can say, you know, there's that bank just across the street and they had just installed brand-new cameras, light -- night cameras, color cameras, and we got real good video. And the reason for doing that is because that's truly an attempt to let this guy know, whoever it is, that you've got him, right?

SERINO: That's more of a bluff.

O'MARA: Sure.

SERINO: In this one, to say that I got him, that's -- you know, just to put in his mind that --

O'MARA: Right.

SERINO: -- everything may or may not be there.

O'MARA: And I apologize. I spoke about two different events. This one specific event, and then some guy across the street from a bank. So let me clear that up.

SERINO: OK.

O'MARA: Generally speaking, you might introduce the suggested existence of video evidence in order to flush out a true story.

SERINO: Yes.

O'MARA: And in this particular case, that's what you were doing.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And you had suggested to Mr. Zimmerman there was a really good chance that Trayvon Martin's phone, which you had in your possession, but it was dead, the phone was dead, and you couldn't really get it out yet, but that that was a really good chance that was going to have a video of this whole event.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And that was, in effect, to get him to -- if there was something to come clean to, that he would come clean to it.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Knowing, as you said, that if it's there and it shows something you didn't tell us about, it's going to be really bad for you.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And that was the way you said it, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And that was the reason why you said it, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And that was all part of your challenge interview.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And what did he say when you told him that?

SERINO: I believe his words were, "Thank god, I was hoping somebody would videotape it."

O'MARA: What indication did him saying to you, "Thank god, I really hope somebody videotaped it." What did that indicate to you?

SERINO: In my opinion, it would have been --

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, STATE PROSECUTOR: Objection. What the defendant was thinking or not.

O'MARA: No, no. I'm sorry, I got to stop. I apologize, your honor.

JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SUPERIOR COURT, FLORIDA: The question was, what did that indicate to him?

O'MARA: Correct.

NELSON: To Officer Serino.

O'MARA: That was my question.

NELSON: OK. And your objection --

DE LA RIONDA: What the defendant was thinking. I think the question was maybe a --

NELSON: No, it's the indication from that response, what did that indicate to Officer Serino, so overruled.

O'MARA: Want me to rephrase the question?

SERINO: Please.

O'MARA: Sure. The fact that George Zimmerman said to you, "Thank god, I hope somebody did videotape the event," or the whole event, what -- his statement, what did that indicate to you?

SERINO: Either he was telling the truth or he was a complete pathological liar, one of the two. O'MARA: OK. Now, let's look at overall, was there anything else in this case where you got the insight that he might be a pathological liar?

SERINO: No.

O'MARA: As a 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.

NELSON: I think this is a good breaking point.

O'MARA: I think it is, your honor. Yes.

NELSON: Ladies and gentlemen, we're going to recess for the evening. Before I send you off, I'm going to give you my instructions again. You're not to discuss the case amongst yourselves or with anybody else. You're not to read or listen to any radio, television, or newspaper reports about the case. You're not to use any type of an electronic device to look on the Internet. Anything having to do with this case, people, places, things, or terminology.

And finally, you're not to read or create any e-mails, text messages, twitters, tweets, or blogs or any social networking pages about the case. Do I have your assurances that you will abide by these instructions? OK. Please put your notepads face down on the chair and follow Deputy Jarvis. Have a good evening.

BLITZER: All right. So that's Judge Deborah Nelson recessing this day six of the George Zimmerman trial. A very, very dramatic day. And we heard a lot of testimony, especially from the police interrogator, the police investigator, Chris Serino.

Let's get a quick little bit of analysis. So Jeffrey Toobin is standing by.

What's your bottom line on what we just heard, Jeff?

TOOBIN: If I were the prosecutor sitting there listening to that cross-examination, my blood pressure would have exploded through the top of the measuring -- however you measure blood pressure. It was excruciating to listen to from a prosecution perspective.

George Zimmerman was honest. He was trustworthy. He told the same story over again. I used the best investigative techniques I could. I tried to trick him. I couldn't do it. He told the truth over and over again. And this is the lead cop in the investigation. I mean, look, I don't know what the results of this trial is going to be. I don't want to overstate one witness' testimony, but this cross- examination was extremely effective.

BLITZER: Sunny Hostin, you disagree. Tell us why.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I don't know.

(LAUGHTER)

Because at the very end when you have Investigator Serino saying that George Zimmerman said, I wish, I was hoping that someone had videotaped it, and he -- this altercation, and the response from Serino was I believed he was either a serial liar or -- you know, pathological liar or telling the truth, and I believed he was telling the truth, I think the fact that they ended it with that, the examination today and the jury is going back to their hotel rooms to think about that, you know, was a pretty good ending for the defense.

Now, again, during direct examination, I thought that the prosecution went a long way towards showing a lot of inconsistencies within his statements. But I think on cross-examination, I would agree with Jeff, it was a pretty masterful cross-examination. And there's more to come tomorrow.

BLITZER: Certainly is. Sunny, don't go too far away. Jeff, don't go too far away. We've got a lot more coverage coming up.