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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Self-Defense or Murder?: The George Zimmerman Trial
Aired July 2, 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 coverage, "Self-Defense or Murder?: The George Zimmerman trial."
Self-defense or murder, how the jury sees these injuries could answer that question. Were they, as George Zimmerman claims, evidence of a beating so severe, he had no choice but to shoot and kill Trayvon Martin? Or as the prosecution tried to show today, are we looking at the kind of cuts and scrapes from a garden variety scuffle, one that didn't have to end with a teenager did on the grass?
That wasn't all the prosecution tries to show today as it struggles to recover from a string of witnesses that at times appeared to help the defense.
As always, we have our team of legal experts on board tonight, along with a top forensic scientist.
But first, Martin Savidge sets the stage.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prosecutors switch from using George Zimmerman's words against him to using his injuries.
JOHN GUY, FLORIDA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Are the injuries to the back of the defendant's the head consistent with having been repeatedly slammed into a concrete surface?
VALERIE RAO, MEDICAL EXAMINER: No.
SAVIDGE: A medical examiner testified that Zimmerman's were not life-threatening and didn't reflect a person whose head had repeatedly been lammed against ground, a key reason Zimmerman has given for shooting Trayvon Martin.
GUY: How would you classify the injuries to the defendant's head?
RAO: They were not life-threatening. They were very insignificant. They did not require any sutures to be applied to Mr. Zimmerman. So I would refer to them insignificant injuries.
SAVIDGE: On cross-examination, defense attorney Mark O'Mara implied Valerie Rao owed her job to the special prosecutor in the Zimmerman case and then walked Rao back from some of her findings.
MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: It's your position that it's at least consistent that George Zimmerman may have only received as little as three, did you call -- what term did you use, smashing or slamming -- three slamming into cement. Correct?
RAO: I didn't use the word slamming.
O'MARA: I'm sorry. I thought it was your word.
RAO: No, I got that from the reenactment.
O'MARA: What word would you use to describe what happened to the head that you say hit cement?
O'MARA: Impact. So it's your position that there are at least three impacts between that head and cement?
RAO: Yes. Concrete.
SAVIDGE: Earlier, Zimmerman's best friend took the stand. It was Mark Osterman who convinced Zimmerman to buy a gun. He also housed George and Shellie Zimmerman for a time after the shooting and wrote a book about the case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You wrote a book where you quoted what the defendant, George Zimmerman, told you, correct?
MARK OSTERMAN, FRIEND OF ZIMMERMAN: Correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you recall in that book writing, do you have a problem with that, that that's what he said Trayvon Martin said?
OSTERMAN: Right. Correct.
SAVIDGE: In that book, Osterman says Zimmerman said Martin tried to reach for the weapon on his hip, actually touching the gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant is claiming that the victim actually grabbed the gun, grabbed the...
OSTERMAN: That was my understanding, that he grabbed the gun.
SAVIDGE: But a latent print technician testifies she found no trace of Martin's prints on the slide of the gun, but conceded rain or other factors could wash prints away.
O'MARA: So that fingerprints may have existed on an item that you would lift a latent from and there be no latents whatsoever, correct?
KRISTEN BENTSEN, LATENT PRINT EXAMINER: That's correct.
O'MARA: Even though the gun has been handled by one, two or three people?
BENTSEN: That's correct.
SAVIDGE: Osterman wrote Zimmerman jumped on the teen's back after the shooting and held down his hands, fearing Martin might be still be a threat, but investigators say the teen's hands were found folded under his body.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you recall in that photograph the victim's being hands underneath his body?
CHRIS SERINO, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could someone say that was inconsistent with the defendant's statements that his hands were straight out, that he had put his hands out?
SERINO: That positioning, yes.
SAVIDGE: The day began with the jury being told to ignore a key moment of Monday's testimony, that moment, when the defense attorney O'Mara got the Sanford Police Department's lead investigator to say he believed Zimmerman told him the truth.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Sanford, Florida.
COOPER: And we're going to speak exclusively tonight with Mark O'Mara, with Zimmerman's co-counsel, later on in the program as well as an attorney for Trayvon Martin's family.
As always, tonight, we also have got the best legal and forensic team around. Forensic scientist Lawrence Kobilinsky of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice joins me, also legal analysts and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin and Jeffrey Toobin. Sunny was in the courtroom today. At the defense table, Danny Cevallos and Mark Geragos. He's co-author of "Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works, and Sometimes Doesn't."
Dr. Kobilinsky, let's start with you. We heard from the medical examiner, saying that Zimmerman's wounds were not significant. Do you agree?
DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, PROFESSOR OF FORENSIC SCIENCE, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: I don't.
First of all, you can bet on the fact that the defense will have a medical examiner that will contradict everything that we heard today. Yes, these wounds appear to be superficial. That does not mean that George Zimmerman was not in fear for his life. And furthermore, although wounds can appear to be superficial, there can be a great deal of serious, underlying trauma. For example, subdural hematoma can result in death.
COOPER: So somebody can have their head slammed repeatedly on concrete and only have that little laceration on the back?
KOBILINSKY: And they would end up with more than -- there's more than one impact there.
There are at least two or three impacts, yes.
COOPER: Zimmerman said several times that he was slammed repeatedly on the concrete. The medical examiner seemed to discredit. I just want to listen to more of what she said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUY: Dr. Rao, using your definition of slamming, your common understanding of slamming, are the injuries to the back of the defendant's head consistent with having been repeatedly been slammed into a concrete surface?
GUY: Why not?
RAO: Because if you look at the injuries, they are so minor that to me the word slammed implies great force. And this -- the resulting injuries are not great force.
GUY: What type and extent of great force would you expect to see if the defendant's head had been repeatedly slammed into a concrete surface?
RAO: If somebody's head is repeatedly slammed against concrete with great force, I would expect lacerations. I would expect a lot of injury that would bleed profusely that would necessitate suturing. And so I don't see that in this picture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Mark, A., what do you make of her testimony? And does it really matter as long as George Zimmerman felt his life was in danger or he believed he was going to black out as he said to law enforcement?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Look, at the risk of infuriating some of the psychos on Twitter who follow A.C. 360, this woman has probably never been in private practice. My guess is she's never treated a live patient.
I would also bet that there's never been anybody that she's treated who was -- who needed her help. I think she, if anything, was a disaster for the prosecution. The idea that she thinks that three slams on the head against a concrete curb couldn't do damage to you, I just think it's laughable. I don't understand what she's talking about. I have had cases, I have defended within the last 24 months murder cases where my client was charged with hitting somebody who hit the concrete curb one time and died and he was charged with murder.
So I don't know what she's talking about. Lawrence maybe can inform you on this. But to me, this was just a no-brainer. This woman is abysmal. She's like the worst defense expert normally that you would get, and somehow the prosecution thinks this is helpful? Only in Sunny's world would this be something that would be helpful.
COOPER: Well, let me go to Sunny.
Sunny, you think this was helpful for the prosecution?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Of course it was helpful. I have got to tell you, I just don't know which trial Mark, my friend, is watching.
The prosecution wants to show that these injuries were insignificant and they certainly weren't life-threatening, because in order for George Zimmerman to have pulled out a gun and used deadly force, the standard is reasonable. Was it reasonable for him to feel like he was in danger of death, imminent death, great bodily harm? There was no great bodily injury.
GERAGOS: I just want to ask you one question. Can I ask you one question?
COOPER: Mark, go ahead.
GERAGOS: Let me just ask you one question. Let me ask you one question, Sunny. You're a prosecutor. You're sitting in your office and the police come in and they show you the pictures of George Zimmerman's face and the back of his head, and you're the filing deputy.
And they say, the police say we want to file assault with a deadly weapon with gross bodily injury. As a prosecutor, you're seriously with a straight face on national TV going to tell me you wouldn't file ADW with great bodily injury based on these pictures?
HOSTIN: Absolutely, because it's not just the pictures. It's his reaction.
GERAGOS: Once again, save this tape.
COOPER: We got it that you disagree. Jeff?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I thought this was symbolic of sort of the microcosm of the whole government's case, which was, you know, potentially incriminating, but potentially not.
But her testimony was susceptible to an interpretation that he had essentially no injuries and was lying about the seriousness of them. It was also susceptible to the interpretation that he was actually in serious jeopardy and did have his head banged against the floor.
COOPER: And Dr. Kobilinsky was saying they can bring in their own person who says these injuries show otherwise.
And when you are the prosecutor, you're supposed to put on evidence that is entirely incriminating. And as with so many witnesses in this case, this interpretation is susceptible to two interpretations, and that's not good for the prosecution.
COOPER: Danny, where do you land on this?
TOOBIN: Mark is groaning as I talk.
GERAGOS: Can I just say one thing?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Mark, I'm going to back you up. We're not going to argue, trust me.
GERAGOS: I know, but I just -- I just don't understand something.
HOSTIN: Come on, Mark.
GERAGOS: I want to take this -- take Dorothy Rao's head and let me bang it against the curb three times and then tell you, oh, I'm sorry. Do you want me to bang it a fourth or a fifth? Give me a break. This woman is crazy. She's never had a live person as a patient.
COOPER: This woman is crazy, says the man who is screaming at the top of his lungs. (LAUGHTER)
COOPER: Go ahead.
CEVALLOS: Mark is right about one thing. I have to agree about what Mark says about the prosecutors. Prosecutors would charge this as an aggravated assault, which is defined as...
HOSTIN: No way.
CEVALLOS: ... serious bodily injury.
Sunny, they -- look at the photographs.
HOSTIN: Have you been a prosecutor, Danny?
CEVALLOS: No, I have not.
CEVALLOS: But it doesn't mean I haven't seen plenty of aggravated assaults.
COOPER: Let Danny finish his point.
HOSTIN: Yes, I have.
CEVALLOS: And that standard is serious bodily injury.
I think that based on these injuries, it's pretty clear, there are a lot of DAs that would charge this as serious bodily injury. With that in mind, remember, we don't have to prove that Zimmerman suffered serious bodily injury, only that he was in reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury.
Anderson, if I shoot a gun at you, if I shoot a bullet at you, and the bullet misses, you haven't suffered injury. You haven't suffered any injury. But were you in apprehension of serious bodily injury? Absolutely. So, yes, it is compelling what his injuries actually were, but the standard here is not his actual injury, it is the apprehension, the reasonable apprehension.
COOPER: There was also testimony -- and Martin Savidge played a little bit of it -- from George Zimmerman's best friend, who described what Zimmerman told him about Trayvon Martin, claiming that Trayvon Martin grabbed for his gun. I want to play a little bit of that testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: As you stated, the defendant told you that the victim, Trayvon Martin, grabbed his gun, correct?
OSTERMAN: Yes, grabbed for his gun.
OSTERMAN: Grabbed, right -- I guess we're going over whether he grabbed the holster part of the gun. I didn't see a difference in the two, but grabbed...
DE LA RIONDA: Grabbed the gun, he didn't...
OSTERMAN: It didn't -- the gun didn't come out. But he grabbed the gun in the holster.
DE LA RIONDA: That's what I'm saying.
OSTERMAN: Yes, sir.
DE LA RIONDA: The defendant didn't tell you, Mr. Zimmerman didn't tell you he grabbed for it? He said he actually got it?
DE LA RIONDA: That's what I heard. That's what I thought I heard, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: If that is true, and Dr. Kobilinsky, Trayvon Martin grabbed for the gun, would there have been fingerprints on it, because they said they didn't find any?
KOBILINSKY: I honestly think it's likely. Guns are really not good substrates for fingerprints. Generally, we don't get usable fingerprints.
COOPER: Why is that?
KOBILINSKY: It's because the surface is not smooth. It's textured. Usually, fingerprints are smeared. She couldn't even find George Zimmerman's fingerprints.
CEVALLOS: The public psyche -- it's interesting with fingerprints. Fingerprinting is not a science, it's a technique. And it's fascinating how the public has come to accept it as this hard science like DNA. They couldn't be farther apart. Fingerprinting technique is often done by -- it's done by nonscientists and it itself is not a science.
Well, it isn't.
TOOBIN: Fingerprints are a very good form of identification.
CEVALLOS: They're really not. Compared to DNA?
CEVALLOS: They're never going to be. They are a technique. They're not even a science, Jeff. They're not even a science. It is done by nonscientists and it is a nonscience. It is a technique.
TOOBIN: I'm familiar with what -- the idea that fingerprints are somehow not good identification techniques is frankly absurd. But the point is...
GERAGOS: Really? Jeff, why don't you cite the case of the lawyer in Oregon who was indicted as a terrorist based on the FBI's fingerprint analysis.
TOOBIN: Yes, Mark. And you cite the tens of thousands of people who are in prison because of fingerprints. So, really...
GERAGOS: Only because they didn't have an expert.
TOOBIN: No, let me finish.
TOOBIN: What I'm trying to say is, absence of evidence -- the famous phrase, absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.
If there's not fingerprints, it doesn't mean he didn't touch it. Sometimes, fingerprints just don't show up. The fact that it's not on the gun is of very little significance. If they were on the gun, it would be of significance.
COOPER: Go ahead, Mark.
GERAGOS: I have a question, one question. Was George Zimmerman's fingerprints found on the gun?
COOPER: Dr. Kobilinsky?
KOBILINSKY: No, they found no fingerprints, no usable fingerprints.
GERAGOS: Well, that must mean that George Zimmerman didn't fire the gun, because there were no fingerprints.
There you go, Sunny. The case is not over. You're right.
COOPER: All right, we're going to take a break.
HOSTIN: The case is not over, Mark.
COOPER: We are going to take another break.
We have got a lot more to talk about, including the decision to bring a second-degree murder charge and whether or not the jury is permitted to convict on lesser charges, also, key testimony and whether the lead investigator in the case thinks that Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin.
Plus, in a 360 exclusive, we will talk to defense attorney Mark O'Mara. Even critics say he's conducting a textbook job of turning prosecution testimony to his client's family, that.
We will also talk to one of the Martin family attorneys, and how she thinks the prosecution's case is going. You might be surprised by her answer, I don't know, maybe not, when we continue.
COOPER: Whatever you think of George Zimmerman's guilt or innocence, you can't help but notice the anguish on the face of Trayvon Martin's parents.
In addition to facing the man who killed their son, they have to trust the prosecutors are going to doing the best job they can. It hasn't been easy for the family and cannot be easy either for the lawyers representing them watching the state seem to struggle with some of the witnesses and perhaps with the case itself.
I spoke about it earlier tonight with Martin family attorney Jasmine Rand.
COOPER: Jasmine, how do you think the prosecution has done so far? I have talked to a lot of analysts, former prosecutors, defense attorneys who think that they are having a tough time proving second- degree murder at this point.
JASMINE RAND, ATTORNEY FOR MARTIN FAMILY: I think the prosecution has done exceptionally well in this case. From the very beginning, they told us that they were going to show Zimmerman's tangled web of lies.
And that's exactly what we're seeing unfold before us now. Detective Serino was a very strong witness for the case. And he started to unfold some of Zimmerman's inconsistencies.
COOPER: I don't know anybody, though, who thinks that Detective Serino was a strong witness for the prosecution. Just about everybody who has been discussing this case certainly on my program and elsewhere has said that they have never seen a police officer testify so favorably for the defense, a police officer who has been called by the prosecution.
RAND: I think what we also have to remember is that Detective Serino, whether or not this information gets to the jury, it's important for the American people to know that Detective Serino himself recommended manslaughter charges for George Zimmerman.
COOPER: What does that tell you?
RAND: That tells me that there were a lot of inconsistencies in George Zimmerman's story and that he did not find George Zimmerman's version of what happened credible.
And we have heard him say that today. And we also have to remember that we can't consider Detective Serino's statement and testimony in a vacuum. We have to compare it with what we hear the other witnesses say to really uncover George Zimmerman's inconsistencies.
COOPER: But the fact that Detective Serino himself did not think that a second-degree murder charge was warranted, doesn't that also tell you that, given his look at the evidence, he actually thought that, as he's testified on the stand, that Zimmerman was pretty credible in the things he said, that his story actually held up?
RAND: No, not at all, because as Detective Serino said, he was also in kind of the initial stages of his investigation and Bernie de la Rionda pointed out today that Detective Serino had not considered all of the evidence that the Jacksonville state attorney's office has now considered.
COOPER: Trayvon Martin's parents obviously have been in the court every day. They have sometimes been quite emotional during the trial. How are they doing at this point? Are they confident with the prosecution's case thus far?
RAND: They're confident with the prosecution's case. It's been a very emotionally toiling time for them. I think to have to hear their son crying for help repeatedly, I think that's a different kind of pain, hearing your child scream for help and not being able to do anything to help him. COOPER: I just want to go back to the two police officers' testimony.
There was a lot of talk yesterday, even some suggestion that perhaps their testimony, because it was in a lot of people's opinions, clearly not yours, but so favorable to the defense that this was some sort of payback almost for difficulties between law enforcement and the prosecution.
RAND: I didn't perceive it that way. I think that's all pure speculation. And I think that we are going to see the prosecution bring the tangled web of lies home during the closing.
COOPER: But you talk about a tangled web of lies, but that's not what the police themselves were saying, the police who investigated this. In cross-examination by Mark O'Mara, it seemed pretty clear that the police officers felt like George Zimmerman's statements basically held up.
There were a few minor inconsistencies coming out -- he said that Trayvon Martin came out of the bushes, the location of Trayvon Martin's hands, et cetera. But, overall, the police seemed relatively satisfied with what George Zimmerman had told them time and time again.
RAND: I think that these were not minor inconsistencies.
Some of the big inconsistencies we have heard were George Zimmerman claiming that he was so severely injured that he had to pull out a gun and kill Trayvon. And that's certainly not what we heard from Detective Serino.
Detective Serino said he didn't believe George Zimmerman was punched 25 to 30 times. We heard the medical examiner say today that George Zimmerman's injuries are not consistent with someone who has been punched even only a dozen times, that it's more consistent with someone that was punched only once and at maximum had his head hit on the concrete only one time as well.
I think that all of these witnesses are bringing into play Zimmerman's inconsistencies.
COOPER: Jasmine Rand, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
RAND: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, now the other side.
Only on 360, defense co-counsel joins me. He spoke exclusive with me earlier tonight.
COOPER: Mark, this morning, Judge Nelson threw out an exchange between you and the lead investigator, Chris Serino, that took place yesterday in court and I just want to play that for our viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'MARA: So if we were to take pathological liar off the table as a possibility just for the purposes of this next question, do you think he was telling the truth?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: How important was that answer to your case?
O'MARA: Well, you know, I respect the judge's ruling, but I think that a chief investigating officer in a case, when he has to try and determine credibility of witnesses, including the defendant, the suspect, then I think he should be able to give some insight as to what he thinks when he's doing his investigation.
But it was sort of a comment on the credibility of another witness, and we have a rule that addresses that.
COOPER: I talked to an attorney for the Martin family who said they were pleased with the testimony given by the lead investigator. But every other analyst that I have talked to, former prosecutors, former defense people, current defense attorneys, they all say they have never seen police officers testifying so favorably for a defense witness.
Are you pleased with how the cross-examination has gone, with what the police, particularly the lead investigator, have told you?
O'MARA: What I'm very happy about is I think most of the witnesses who we have talked to have told the truth. And if they're telling the truth and it's favorable to the defense, so be it.
As long as they're telling the truth, then we will find justice at the end of the trial. I'm surprised that the Martin family attorneys would think that Chris Serino's testimony was somewhat favorable to the prosecution, because it truly seemed as though most of what he was saying supported self-defense.
COOPER: Tomorrow morning, Judge Nelson is expected to rule on whether or not George Zimmerman's criminal justice course work, in particular anything about Florida's stand your ground law, if it can be admissible. I know you don't think it should be. Why not?
O'MARA: Well, a couple reasons.
I think that if they start bringing what was in Georgia's background, his past to the table, then it really brings what Trayvon Martin brings to the table, all of his violent acts that we know about and some of the fighting that he was involved in. If that's not going to get on the table, then I think whatever George may have done in the background shouldn't be on the table as well. And they're suggesting that George heard something about stand your ground in some course work, where they have no idea whether or not George was even present in the class. And he didn't get a great grade in the course either. And it was some textbook that had information that has nothing to do with Florida law.
COOPER: There have been inconsistencies in some of the statements that George Zimmerman has given. He talked about Trayvon Martin coming out of bushes. The positioning of Trayvon Martin's hands have been raised. To you, are those not consequential?
O'MARA: Well, certainly whether or not he came out of the bushes or came out of the darkness, I don't think that somebody who went through the traumatic event that George did, even as Chris Serino said, is going to be expected to remember everything the best that he can. So I'm not too worried about that type of an inconsistency.
The idea about George having one out and held his hands out at some form for five or 10 seconds until Mr. Manalo showed up, I think it's quite consistent with the facts. And I think the medical examiners will probably talk about it, that he -- Trayvon Martin easily just brought his hands back in.
Even John Good -- Guy suggested in his opening that Trayvon Martin was clutching his hands. Why would George make something like that up in the second that he had to do it unless it actually happened? It makes much more sense that it happened, but Trayvon Martin clutched his hands back.
COOPER: It seems the trial is moving fairly quickly. Is the timeline going faster than you expected or about what you expected it to be?
O'MARA: A bit faster than I expected.
I think that the state may be done tomorrow or Friday. And that means we will start either Friday or Monday and we will probably take most of next week. It's hard to say, maybe not. There are still some decisions the court has to make about the admissibility of certain evidence. If that's allowed, that could easily extend the testimony by a couple or three days.
COOPER: How is your client feeling about how the trial is going? Can you say?
O'MARA: Well, he's still very afraid. You have the state of Florida trying to take away his liberty and put him in prison for the rest of his life.
He's had to live in hiding for a year. He's very worried and he's very stressed. He's glad he finally has his day in court. But this is very real to everyone, most importantly to George Zimmerman. We have the state of Florida trying to suggest that he killed Trayvon Martin in some ill will and hatred, when the evidence supports self- defense. COOPER: You have now -- because of these audiotapes and videotapes of your client talking to police, he has been able to essentially give his version of events without being cross-examined. You cannot see at this point putting George Zimmerman on the stand, can you?
O'MARA: I always make that decision -- the first decision point is whether or not I believe the state has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
If I think they have proven that in their case in chief, then I make into consideration whether or not to put any client on the stand. And I always make that sort of dynamically. I have not gotten to the point where I have convinced myself that the state has done what they need to do to get this case to a jury. If they come up with something in the next day or two, I may revisit that decision.
COOPER: At this point, do you see having to mount a lengthy defense here?
O'MARA: We have a lot of witnesses that we want to present to the jury to let -- to counter some of the innuendo or suggestions or allegations thrown out there by the state. So, we're going to put on a case.
COOPER: Mark O'Mara, I appreciate your time. Thank you, Mark.
O'MARA: Sure thing.
COOPER: You can always follow more on this story at CNN.com.
Just ahead, we are going to get our panel's reaction to Mark O'Mara's interview, also the attorney for Trayvon Martin's family, also the detective, the lead investigator, Serino's testimony today about George Zimmerman's call to police just minutes before he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
COOPER: Hey, welcome back.
As we said, tomorrow the judge is expected to rule on whether Zimmerman's criminal justice coursework is admissible as evidence. Now, before the break, we heard from Zimmerman's defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, about that. He also talked about the testimony of Chris Serino, the lead investigator in Trayvon Martin's shooting.
Today, the judge instructed jurors to disregard part of the testimony Serino gave yesterday. I want to get our panel's reaction to all that. Back with me, legal analyst and former federal prosecutors Sunny Hostin and Jeffrey Toobin. At the defense table, Danny Cevallos and Mark Geragos. Also forensic scientist Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. So Mark, you just heard Mark O'Mara say the fact that Zimmerman's past is likely going to be brought up opens the door for the defense to bring up Trayvon Martin's past. But Trayvon Martin isn't on trial here, right?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, he isn't, but you've got a self-defense case, and the law is that he can bring that stuff up.
Having said that, I think Mark was crossing his fingers behind his back when he was saying a lot of this stuff. I, for the life of me, can't understand why he would prolong this case after the prosecution rests. He has absolutely, as I said when this case started, he needs to just hire bodyguards to make sure he doesn't fall and hit his head before the closing argument, because this case is over.
COOPER: And Jeff Toobin was saying the exact same thing. Jeff, you don't see this going into next week?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Mark was saying something different. Mark was saying it's over, and he's going to be acquitted. I was saying it's almost over in the sense that it's going to go to the jury soon. The...
COOPER: You don't believe that the defense will take all next week?
TOOBIN: Oh, no way. They may call a handful of witnesses. I mean, they really don't need to put on any evidence here.
And I'd just like to say, this whole business of his coursework, why is that relevant under any theory? I just think -- I mean, just talk about stretching, you know, putting in irrelevant evidence. Coursework that he may or may not have been present for or assignments that he may or may not have read that would have prompted him to do what?
COOPER: Sunny, do you think that's important at all?
HOSTIN: I absolutely think it's relevant. And I think the judge does agrees with me. You know, yes, she does agree with me. I think the law provides for it.
Bottom line is, George Zimmerman said many times that he didn't know the law, he didn't know anything about self-defense, he didn't know anything about stand your ground. Well, if you were in school for 149 hours, learning about criminal justice and the system, and you wanted to be a cop and you even applied to be a police officer, I think all of that is relevant, because the prosecution has to prove what's going on in his head. So it's relevant.
GERAGOS: Sunny, Sunny...
HOSTIN: I know you're going disagree with me Mark, but you're wrong. COOPER: Go to Jeff, quickly.
GERAGOS: I know, I know, Sunny, I know I'm wrong, but I have one question. When that prosecutor today...
HOSTIN: This is like your third question, Mark.
GERAGOS: But when he asked the lead detective, "Do you read the comics?"
And the lead detective said "No."
And then he said, "Do you remember when in the comics they had that little bubble over their head," seriously, didn't you cringe? Didn't you really think at that point, this prosecutor has basically lost his mind? Because I suspect they're just throwing the case.
TOOBIN: Oh, come on, Mark. These ridiculous.
GERAGOS: I think they're throwing the case.
TOOBIN: That's absurd. But the -- but Sunny, what I don't understand is, what does it prove if -- if he took these courses and he knew what self-defense was? Everybody knows what self-defense is. I just don't know the relevance.
HOSTIN: It proves that -- it proves that he lies. It proves that he can embellish.
COOPER: He said -- he said in the interview on FOX to Sean Hannity that he didn't know about it.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He may have been just a bad student.
There's that part where, if you gave me -- if you considered me not credible or even untruthful because I couldn't remember some things I learned in school, then I'm the least credible person in America, because I don't know that I remember anything.
COOPER: I don't remember what I did yesterday.
CEVALLOS: Right. So I don't think that you can create...
GERAGOS: Are you kidding me? I want to -- I want to check out Toobin's college career. I want to know what Toobin was doing in college.
TOOBIN: I liked college.
COOPER: I think he did well in college. I think he did well.
But yes, I want to turn to the continued testimony today of the lead investigator, Chris Serino. The prosecution was trying to drill down on the issue of ill will and spite from Zimmerman on his call to police. Let's listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZIMMERMAN: Yes, you go straight in. Don't turn. Make a left. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) He's running.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's running? Which way is he running?
ZIMMERMAN: Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What entrance is that that he's heading towards?
ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance.
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) punks.
BERNIE DE LA RIONDE, PROSECUTOR: Did you hear that last comment. The defendant stated -- pardon my language -- these (EXPLETIVE DELETED) punks?
SERINO: Yes, sir.
DE LA RIONDE: Is the word, pardon the language, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) punks something you would refer to, something good about people when you would reference them?
SERINO: No, sir, it's not.
DE LA RIONDE: Does that not indicate ill will and hatred and spite against somebody else, sir?
SERINO: No, it does not.
DE LA RIONDE: In your opinion? Calling somebody and referencing them as (EXPLETIVE DELETED) punks?
SERINO: That is ill will and spite.
DE LA RIONDE: It is?
DE LA RIONDE: OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So Sunny, the prosecution is trying to get to the heart of the second-degree murder charge here, right?
HOSTIN: That's right. And I thought, you know, Bernie's redirect examination of this witness who is kind of a hostile witness to the prosecution, was masterful. The prosecution has to show that Zimmerman had a depraved mind. How do you show that? That he had ill will, that he had hatred, that he had spite.
Now you've got the chief investigator who just yesterday was, I don't know, in the defense's pocket of saying actually, "Yes, it is ill will. It is hate. It is spite."
That gives the prosecution enough to go to the jury with second- degree murder. That is evidence of ill will. And so I think, you know, this was a huge victory for the prosecution today. Huge.
COOPER: Mark is being sarcastic.
GERAGOS: Huge! Huge! Sunny -- Sunny, what planet are you on?
HOSTIN: It's huge.
GERAGOS: It may get them past -- it may get them past the judge throwing this case out. But I'm telling you, I think...
HOSTIN: Definitely gets past that.
GERAGOS: ... this...
COOPER: Danny, go ahead.
CEVALLOS: I think both -- both sides are -- both sides are right here, in that it all comes down to that ill will. You see Mark O'Mara in past days, cramming in that language from the statute.
And now you see the prosecutor doing a terrific job of trying to bring the jury back and squabbling over that ill will part of the statute.
Now, I think that is correct. That will probably get us past the motion for a judgment of acquittal. So the case will probably go to the jury on at least that issue.
But I think that's what this is going to come down to. Do we believe calling people "blanking punks," can that general anger towards a class of people that have been burglarizing the neighborhood, be transferred as ill will to this unknown individual wandering through the neighborhood? That's an ultimate question that will have to be decided.
GERAGOS: Anderson, Anderson?
GERAGOS: Could I just put in one thing?
COOPER: Just one question, yes.
GERAGOS: Look, if this judge -- if this judge actually did her job, she would say there is not enough evidence to put this case in front of the jury.
HOSTIN: That's not true.
GERAGOS: So Sunny says -- I'm just telling you. TOOBIN: I know you're telling us.
GERAGOS: Right now absolutely she could say, "There isn't enough. I'm going to dismiss it right now." So maybe that kind of Bozo the Clown prosecutor gets them past that, but that's it. Then it goes to the jury. It's a not guilty, save the tape, and then you're going to be, I think, Sunny, having to pay off the bet.
HOSTIN: I can't wait to save the tape. I cannot wait.
COOPER: I want to bring of entities (ph) here. Doctor, the lead investigator was asked about the injuries, about Zimmerman's alleged assault. I want to -- he was questioned about the injuries. I just want to play what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DE LA RIONDE: I think on cross-examination, you were asked something about exaggeration. Do you recall being asked about that?
SERINO: Yes, sir.
DE LA RIONDE: Do you recall I think either you uttered it or Mr. O'Mara uttered it on behalf of the defendant, exaggeration, do you recall what that was about?
SERINO: Pertaining to the defendant's statements.
DE LA RIONDE: You felt he was exaggerating certain parts of it?
SERINO: Among other things.
DE LA RIONDE: You were asked specifically about exaggeration. Did you feel he had exaggerated the manner in which he had been hit?
SERINO: Yes, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: From a forensic stand point, from what you've seen of the injuries, do you think he was exaggerating?
DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY: I don't. I think you have to put yourself in the moment. There's fisticuffs. There's a lot of slamming and hitting, smashed in the face. The head is smashed against the ground. You act by reflex, by pure emotion. "I'm getting killed, I've got to save myself."
You know, we're sitting here and we're trying to analyze step by step what was he thinking, did he remember the statute? Is it stand alone? We're trying to analyze step by step what happened is -- what happened in the matter of a few seconds.
COOPER: It also seems to me -- I mean, I've only been punched a couple of times. But your adrenaline is pumping so much, you don't think clearly. You're not perceiving things clearly, I mean, just in the limited experience I've had being punched. I mean, is that your understanding?
KOBILINSKY: That is my understanding. And I think when you have your head smacked against the sidewalk, I think it's a very dangerous situation, and I think he feared for his life.
TOOBIN: It is. But it's also worth remembering that he didn't just take a wild swing back at Trayvon Martin. He shot him dead.
TOOBIN: And that's very different. And I think we should, and the law does impose a higher standard on people before they shoot people than they take a swing at them.
Look, I don't think the prosecution -- I don't think this case has gone very well for the prosecution, but it is worth remembering that this is a case about someone -- an unarmed kid who was shot dead.
KOBILINSKY: But the important element is that he said that Trayvon Martin was going for his gun. It wasn't a matter of swinging back. That was a deadly situation.
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break.
More of our man coming up. Also more on what George Zimmerman's best friend said today on the stand. We'll be right back.
COOPER: A lot of testimony today on the weapon that George Zimmerman fired. Earlier, let's listen to the testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'MARA: So during this conversation then, he's telling you that he's trying to keep an eye on Trayvon Martin however he can.
OSTERMAN: That was his intent was to keep him under observation.
O'MARA: And at some point -- tell me then, at some point did he say to you I couldn't see him any longer or he lost sight of him?
OSTERMAN: That's one of the reasons he got out of the vehicle.
O'MARA: Tell me how he related that to you.
OSTERMAN: He said he went in between the town homes down the walking path.
O'MARA: When you say "he," you mean Trayvon Martin?
OSTERMAN: Right. He lost contact in the darkness in between the town homes, on the walking path, and then he got out of his vehicle to -- it may have been at the time when someone was asking him where is your exact location, because the officer was getting close. So as the police officer gets closer and closer to the actual scene, the dispatch likes to tell them exact street house and street numbers so you can find your place exactly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We played the wrong sound bite there. That wasn't about the gun. But the importance of that sound bite is that the prosecution is trying to establish inconsistencies in George Zimmerman's story. Earlier Zimmerman -- there had been reports of Zimmerman trying to get out of the vehicle in order to check a building number. Now he's saying he was following Trayvon Martin or lost sight again. Why is that so important?
CEVALLOS: What an interesting witness. Because Osterman is the prosecution's witness, but he's also been in law enforcement for a number of years. And you watch him. Now he may have had a little trouble with the sweating, which I guess you can forgive. I know that that's been observed.
But otherwise, law enforcement, police officers, people in law enforcement are trained testifiers. You can see that when he's testifying. He turns. He talks to the jury. And he talks about how what Zimmerman did dovetailed right in nicely with police practice. He's validating Zimmerman.
COOPER: Well, he also -- and the point you wanted to make earlier and the bite we didn't play is that he said that he was the one who told Zimmerman to get a gun. Why is that so crucial?
CEVALLOS: It's so important, because I think for many people watching this case, there are many people that are not concealed carry people. They don't have a weapon; they don't have a firearm. And to them the question is, what was this guy doing running around carrying a gun? It's not something that's in my world.
Now consider what Osterman offers. He's a person who's in law enforcement, and he considers George Zimmerman to be his best friend. That humanizes George Zimmerman. And why does George Zimmerman carry a gun? Well, this gentleman who's been in law enforcement since 1992 told him unequivocally, "You could absolutely be carrying a gun." He validates and he answers that question for a lot of us.
COOPER: He said everybody that's not a convicted felon should carry.
CEVALLOS: That doesn't mean -- many people choose not to, but it does begin to answer that question I think a lot of people have, which is, "What's this guy doing with a gun?"
TOOBIN: Yes, that's helpful. But also why as a prosecutor would you call the defendant's best friend? Why would you give him a forum to say what a great guy -- what a great guy George Zimmerman is? Plus, why would you -- why would you play the tape of the interview -- Mark, Mark...
GERAGOS: Because they're throwing the case.
TOOBIN: Oh, stop.
GERAGOS: They're throwing the case.
TOOBIN: Mark, stop.
COOPER: Why in the world would they be throwing the case?
GERAGOS: Can I tell you why? Can I tell you why? I really -- I know Jeff, I know you don't believe this. I honestly believe at this point, after watching the cops, after watching the cops do payback and everything else, I really think -- and watching the prosecution sit there when Mark O'Mara asks questions that are beyond a reasonable doubt objectionable, and they don't object, they wait until the following day, and then want to un-ring the bell, I think they've just decided they're just going to phone this in, they're going to lose this and say, "OK. You guys wanted us to file this case. We filed it."
COOPER: Jeff, Jeff, go ahead.
TOOBIN: Meanwhile, back on planet earth, the idea...
GERAGOS: Oh, my gosh.
TOOBIN: Why would the prosecutor -- again, Mark, let me finish.
COOPER: Mark, let him finish.
TOOBIN: Again, why would -- again, why would the prosecutors put on the Sean Hannity FOX News interview with Zimmerman? Again, a very sympathetic portrayal.
GERAGOS: You just proved my point! You just proved my point.
COOPER: Let Sunny talk.
HOSTIN: Yes. It makes perfect sense, because you know, putting a case together like this is like putting a puzzle together without having the picture on the box. And so the prosecutor needs to put all the pieces together so they can overlay all the statements...
GERAGOS: It's like putting a puzzle together...
HOSTIN: So that the picture comes together. That's what they're doing, and it makes perfect sense.
COOPER: We've got to go. It's taken me, like, 20 minutes to figure out who was whistling. I've realized it was Mark Geragos whistling. I've never heard a guest just now not even speaking any more, just whistling.
All right. Larry Kobilinsky, thank you. Jeff Toobin, Sunny Hostin, Danny Cevallos, Mark Geragos, thank you very much.
Big news tonight out of Egypt, where the death toll is climbing, the clock is ticking down to a deadline. We'll take you there next.
COOPER: It's been a big night for news around the country and around the world. Susan Hendricks is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, breaking news out of Egypt now, where state-run media is reporting at least 16 people were killed and 200 others injured in clashes at Cairo University.
Meanwhile tonight, President Mohamed Morsi defiantly told military leaders he won't bow to their ultimatum to change his government, and he refused opposition calls to resign, saying voters chose him in a free election. In response, the military released a somewhat ambiguous statement saying the army will sacrifice blood to defend the country against any terrorists, extremists or fools.
In the U.S., the Obama administration is postponing a key provision of the affordable care act. Penalties will now begin in 2015. Business owners had expressed concerns about the complexity of the reporting requirements.
Edward Snowden's options for asylum are shrinking. Eleven of the 21 countries he has applied have said they can't consider his request until he shows up at one of their embassies or on their borders. Three have said no outright. Bolivia and Venezuela has signaled they might give the NSA leaker asylum.
And former Chicago Bulls basketball player Dennis Rodman told "Sports Illustrated" he deserves to win a Nobel Peace Prize for his outreach efforts to North Korea. Rodman, you may remember, met with dictator Kim Jong-un earlier this year during his controversial trip to the country. We shall see.
COOPER: Humble as always. Yes. Susan, thanks very much.
That dose it for this special edition of 360. Join us again tomorrow night at 10 p.m. Eastern for more on the George Zimmerman trial. Another edition of 360 coming up next.