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Continuing Live Coverage of the George Zimmerman Trial

Aired July 2, 2013 - 10:30   ET


MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He was trying to see where he was?

CHRIS SERINO, INVESTIGATOR: As far as the word follow, as my report may indicate, I mean, it's you know -- but it's open for interpretation.

O'MARA: And as your report indicates, there's nothing to suggest that Trayvon Martin went --


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, you're watching NEWSROOM. I'm Carol Costello. Thanks so much for joining us.

As you can see, George Zimmerman's attorney is now questioning Detective Serino after a spirited series of questions by the prosecuting attorney to this witness.

Jason Johnson you've been observing this and it's like a prize fight today.

JASON JOHNSON, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, yes they're really landing both, I think somehow the state woke up. Maybe they saw that they didn't appear to be doing much for the last couple of days. I think they did a good job of sort of demonstrating contradictions between -- I mean basically it seemed like Serino was more questioning Zimmerman last year than this year and so I think -- I think both sides have really stepped up. This -- this is going to be probably the day that the jurors are really going to start leaning one way or another.

COSTELLO: And in some -- I'm going to read off some things that came out of the prosecution's questions to the Detective Serino. So during the time that Detective Serino was questioning George Zimmerman, Detective Serino felt that Zimmerman exaggerated the extent of his injuries.

Zimmerman said that he got out of his truck that night and he looked for an address and he could not find one anywhere. He wasn't really following Trayvon Martin he was looking for that address. But the prosecuting attorney said there was a visible address right in front of George Zimmerman and he showed physical evidence that that indeed was true. He also got Detective Serino to admit that Zimmerman could have been profiling Trayvon Martin. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: Let me make sure it is clear. If I were to believe that somebody was committing a crime, could that not be profiling that person?

O'MARA: Object, your honor, leading.

DEBRA NELSON, PRESIDING JUDGE: Overruled as to leading.

DE LA RIONDA: Do you understand my question, sir?

SERINO: Yes, I did. It could be construed as such, yes.


COSTELLO: All right, let's go out to the former prosecuting attorney, Sunny Hostin. How important was that moment, Sunny?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well that -- that moment was incredibly important to the prosecution but the entire redirect was incredibly important. And I think we've really seen a sea change. And Carol, you said to me this morning that I was the only person in the world that believed that the prosecution was doing well.

I challenge you on that now. I think a lot of people certainly agree with me, that the prosecution is doing quite well. The prosecution is doing what it's supposed to do. It's been laying out its case piece by piece. These cases are somewhat like a puzzle.

I think now the picture is becoming a bit more clear as to why the prosecution put George Zimmerman's statements into evidence. These were -- this was a huge win for the prosecution today. They pointed out that George Zimmerman said that he had to get out of his car to find an address. Well, there was an address right in front of him. He is the neighborhood watchperson, after all.

Serino also conceded that George Zimmerman's behavior was consistent with profiling someone. Serino also conceded that the term "f-ing punk," the terms that George Zimmerman was using is evidence of ill- will, hatred, spite and those are all the elements that the prosecutor has to prove, right? The prosecutor has to prove depraved mind, that he had this sort of ill-will, this intent, this spite. And they also need to prove, I believe, in this case to refute self-defense that George Zimmerman was the first aggressor, that he followed, that he profiled, that he pursued, that he confronted.

Well, now Detective Investigator Serino conceded that. And I think one thing that has sort of was very nuanced and sort of flew under the radar was that the Bernie set up -- that the state rather set up that this investigator was removed from the case shortly after, you know, this interview.

And so I suspect that they'll follow up with the evidence from whatever other investigator was appointed.

COSTELLO: Yes OK. We'll see. On the other hand, Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's lead defense attorney, certainly is not giving up. He's now questioning Detective Serino and I'll address this question to you, Page.

He said, "Hey, it's not illegal to follow someone." He got the detective to admit that. It's not illegal to follow someone, it's not illegal to confront someone, it's just not.

He also brought up the fact there was a series of robberies in that neighborhood and a thin young black man was arrested for committing one of those robberies and he's now been sentenced to five years in jail.

PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right I think it's clear that the defense is going to concede that George Zimmerman was following Trayvon Martin, but so what? I see that the defense lawyer here is bringing the jury into the picture and saying, look, don't you want your neighborhood watch guy to follow someone like this, someone who he doesn't know why he's there, he doesn't know what he may be doing.

So I think it's good strategy I think it's good lawyering. Go ahead and concede the fact that he's following him, but that's not necessarily bad and it's not unlawful and that's what he's pointing out here.

COSTELLO: OK we have to take a break. We'll come right back with more live testimony after this.


COSTELLO: All right. George Zimmerman's attorney continues to question Detective Serino. He's the man who questioned George Zimmerman extensively about what happened the night Trayvon Martin died. Something that came out of testimony while we were on the break that you'll need to know, Mark O'Mara got Detective Serino to agree that concrete could be used as a weapon.

You can draw many conclusions from that, right? So let's continue listening to testimony now.


O'MARA: Interested in the fact that there may have been a videotape, correct?

SERINO: Yes, it is.

O'MARA: Didn't he also say that he -- maybe without his knowing he'd hope that the homeowners association had put up another video camera somewhere in that back area?

SERINO: Yes, he did.

O'MARA: So he actually said to you not only do I hope that Trayvon Martin was somehow taping this or since he had the phone out or whatever, that somehow maybe it was on video and he said, what was his words, thank God, I hope he was videotaping it?

SERINO: Words to those effect, yes. O'MARA: He even said to you well maybe it's being videotaped from somewhere else. That maybe the homeowners association had put up a camera going right down that dog walk that I wasn't aware of or, for that matter, any one of the dozen neighbors may have had a video camera out, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Didn't he also indicate that he even hoped that maybe the one person who had come out who we now know to be John Good that maybe he had videotaped it?

SERINO: I don't know if he verbalized that, but he seemed to be very open to having something videoed. He -- he yes. He seemed to be very elated in the prospect that there was some sort of videotape.

O'MARA: Hoping that that would actually document what happened that night?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Another challenge that you did -- just a moment, if I might, your honor. Another challenge that you did to Mr. Zimmerman was concerning this question about the hands over the face, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Because that was a concern of yours, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Because he said he placed his hand over my face at one point, I really thought he was suffocating me, or words like that, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And yet on the screaming or the 911, there wasn't a great deal of muffling, would you agree?

SERINO: No, sir, there was not. Yes.

O'MARA: And had there have been muffling, then it would have even been perfectly coordinated with what Mr. Zimmerman told you because then the suffocating and muffling would have shown up on the tape but in this case it didn't, correct?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: You would agree that the screams are from one person, correct?

SERINO: Based on our interpretation, yes.


SERINO: Yes. O'MARA: And that they were just that scream, stop, scream, stop, scream, stop, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: OK and I think you said that you also believed Mr. Zimmerman may have exaggerated as to the number of times getting hit, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: De La Rionda brought that up again as an exaggeration, right?

SERINO: Possibly, yes.

O'MARA: That yes and I think we talked about it as to how it might be perceived when you're the one getting hit, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: OK it may also be that you perceive getting smothered even when somebody has their hand on your broken nose?

SERINO: Possibly, yes.

O'MARA: Oh may have actually had a hand on his mouth or nose but just not enough to interfere with Mr. Zimmerman's continued screams for help, correct?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: So even though you challenged him on that to try to come up with an answer, he told you I don't know, right?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: Did he change his story at that point, realizing that now you've got him on the facts and just say, "Well, actually I turned over and I was screaming the other way and that's what?" Did he do any of that?

SERINO: No, sir, he did not.

O'MARA: He just basically said I think he had his hands on my head, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: I think he was trying to stop me from breathing.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And it hurt.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And just so we're clear in that regard, would you agree that there may have been some screams muffled enough that they didn't simply didn't show up on the tape?

SERINO: There could have been, possibly.

O'MARA: With that last challenge, this -- you call it the suffocation challenge, was there anything in that challenge of Mr. Zimmerman that you thought then was problematic? The way he answered it?

SERINO: No, sir.

O'MARA: Now let's talk about the video where Mr. Zimmerman seems, maybe for the second time, to not notice Miss Lauer's number on the right-hand side, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And as he's walking you through it, again voluntarily doing what you wanted him to do, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: He sort of looked over and he said I didn't see anything here, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And obviously had he looked to his right if he have been in that spot and had he not been blocked by the tree that the jury has seen in another picture, that he might have seen or could have seen Miss Lauer's numbers, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Would he have seen them if he had just started walking by and just got past Miss Lauer's, you know, the front door right there? Is there any number on the side of that building?

SERINO: No, sir.

O'MARA: OK so if I might carefully approach, your honor. Just so we're clear on, again, state's 139, this is Miss Lauer's front door here. The number is sort of on this side?

SERINO: Yes, facing -- facing the street.

O'MARA: Right facing out this way?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: So if Mr. Zimmerman had gotten to this point and was looking around or doing whatever he was doing, as soon as he got to somewhere in this point he would not have a line of sight.

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: I object, it's misstating what Mr. Zimmerman said on video as to where he was when he didn't or did see the address.

O'MARA: I'll clear that up.

NELSON: Could you rephrase the question?

O'MARA: Sure no one could see the numbers once you get past this, correct?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: And you do agree that Mr. Zimmerman was trying to do the best he could to acknowledge what he was doing in the recreation, correct?

SERINO: By appearances, yes.

O'MARA: He seemed to be doing everything that he could to explain to you what he was doing?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: As you were -- as he was doing this, was it a situation where you were just sort of letting him run with it or were you asking him any questions along the way?

SERINO: I believe some questions were asked for clarification.

O'MARA: Yes. Sure. And when he said, as he's walking with Miss Lauer's to the right of him and he's sort of looking this way, the car is somewhere near where he said he parked his, right?

SERINO: From what I recall, yes.

O'MARA: And you had the nonemergency call already known by the time you did the re-creation, so you knew an idea of the series of events, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: You knew that he had said that I've gotten out of the car about here, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And that he was walking down that road or doing something, walking, running, jogging, whatever he was doing, he was ambulating down that pathway, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: That he sort of looked over and said I couldn't see any numbers and he looked to his left, correct?

SERINO: From what I recall, yes.

O'MARA: Did anyone ever think at that point to go, excuse me, if you back up and look over this way there's a number, why didn't you look at that number?

SERINO: If it wasn't mentioned, no.

O'MARA: Did you ever do that afterwards?


O'MARA: Did that seem in the context of what he was trying to explain had happened to him that night, that ended up with what it ended up with, that that was some type of active deception to you?

SERINO: I didn't interpret it as such, no.

O'MARA: OK. It doesn't make a lot of sense in your mind that he couldn't remember the name of the street, correct?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: If he said there's only three there, correct?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: Did you -- and you even questioned him about that, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: But did that show to you to be some active deception on his part?

SERINO: The fact that he couldn't remember the three streets could have possibly, yes. It did raise flags and concerns.

O'MARA: OK. And did that lead to any concern -- I mean you addressed it in this confrontation interview, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And you're OK with what he responded?

SERINO: That's all I could do is be OK with it.

O'MARA: And then you were questioned about a number of things concerning the investigation, so I want to talk to you about some of those.


O'MARA: The medical examiner's report, you had a chance to review that, correct?

SERINO: Yes, I have.

O'MARA: OK. And the medical examiner's report and its findings were consistent with Mr. Zimmerman's story, were they not?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: As far as how he shot him, correct? Where he shot him? SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And the distance between the muzzle of the gun and the clothing, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And also there was a gap of a few inches between the clothing and Mr. Martin's chest, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Evidencing that the muzzle of the gun was up against the chest -- up against the shirt, but the shirt was not up against the chest, there was a few inch difference, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And didn't that support the contention that Mr. Martin was hanging over Mr. Zimmerman, his shirt coming forward when the shot was fired?

SERINO: It did. Yes.

O'MARA: Right. Because had he been standing up, as I am now, the shirt would be up against the chest probably, right?

SERINO: Probably, yes, sir.

O'MARA: And if I lean over, my shirt is going to fall apart from my chest a few inches and that seems to be how it was, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: The medical examiner's report, however, does not support a contention, an allegation that Mr. Zimmerman pressed that gun against Trayvon Martin's chest before he fired it, does it?

SERINO: Not from the one I read.

O'MARA: As a matter of fact, the known evidence completely contradicts that type of a suggestion, doesn't it?

SERINO: From what I understand, yes.

O'MARA: So no pressing of the gun against the chest, was there?

SERINO: Not based on evidence that I've read, no.

O'MARA: And you saw the 7-Eleven video since, right? I think Mr. De la Rionda was suggesting that you didn't have it then. You've certainly seen it since?

SERINO: I don't think I viewed the video itself. I think that was brought after I was --

O'MARA: No, but have you seen it?

SERINO: I've seen stills. Still photos.

O'MARA: OK. And the stills that you saw showed Trayvon Martin in it?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And show him the way he appeared that night?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: So when you say that certainly in the autopsy photograph that you wanted to show Mr. Zimmerman, which again was part of the challenge interview, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: You hit him with something sort of emotional to ground him, that he had caused the death of this person.

SERINO: It was graphic, yes, sir.

O'MARA: And that's the purpose of it, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: But the picture of Mr. Martin at 7-Eleven, would you agree that that shows somebody at his height, whatever that might have been, in the shoes and the hoodie and wearing the outfit that he was wearing, that he did not look in the 7-Eleven video to be the skinny kid that you showed the picture of to Mr. Zimmerman, correct?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: Much larger-looking individual.

SERINO: I would agree with you, yes.

O'MARA: My height or so? I'm 6'2".


O'MARA: If I was wearing a hoodie and had his shoes on, correct?


O'MARA: When you talk about relative size, I think you said Mr. Zimmerman not today but back then wouldn't come across as a skinny kid. Correct?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: When you look at the actual height differential, there was quite a height differential, wasn't there?

SERINO: Yes, there was. O'MARA: And therefore a reach differential?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: You know what that means, right?

SERINO: Yes, I do.

O'MARA: What is that?

SERINO: The reach is measured arm to arm sideways.

O'MARA: If I may have a moment, your honor.



COSTELLO: All right. While Mark O'Mara takes a moment, we're going to take a moment too. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: All right. The prosecuting attorney is again questioning Detective Serino and they're talking about how big Trayvon Martin was because Mark O'Mara intimated that Trayvon Martin was much bigger than we knew. He said he was about his own height which is 6'2". The prosecuting attorney is up there saying essentially, no, Trayvon Martin is 5'11" and 158 pounds. How could he have grown a couple of inches that night? Let's listen to more testimony now.


DE LA RIONDA: You would agree that an expert, or if he's qualified as an expert, a medical examiner or assistant medical examiner would be better qualified as to the findings that he made versus you saying what he said?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: You would defer to the medical examiner, would you not?

SERINO: Absolutely.

DE LA RIONDA: Mr. O'Mara asked you some questions about the burglaries that were being committed out there at Retreat Twin Lakes. You investigated or determined there was some, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: And that the defendant had made calls about them, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: And I think Mr. O'Mara referred to it as a black male, right, at least one of them he referred to. Did you know whether the other individuals he had called on were black males or not?

SERINO: From what I recall researching, yes.


SERINO: From what I recall researching then, yes, they were.

DE LA RIONDA: Mr. O'Mara asked you a bunch of questions about the word, pardon my language, "asshole" (AUDIO GAP) somebody, referring to somebody?

SERINO: In my opinion, yes.

DE LA RIONDA: Asked you about the words that the defendant uttered on September -- I'm sorry, on February 26 at around 7:10 before he followed the victim. Do you recall him specifically under his breath saying (AUDIO GAP). Now, do you read any comics?

SERINO: Never, why?

DE LA RIONDA: Do you read any comics?

SERINO: Comics?

DE LA RIONDA: You know, how they have a little caption, like a little bubble because they kind of what the person is thinking?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: At the time he got out of the car and was getting out of the car, the defendant (AUDIO GAP), right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Mr. O'Mara asked you a few questions about suffocating. Do you recall being asked questions about that, suffocating?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Now, the defendant claims that the victim was suffocating him, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. Did you find any evidence of blood on the victim's hands?

SERINO: None that I'm aware of, no, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: And there was evidence that the defendant was bleeding, especially on his mouth right here on his mustache, he had some -- right under his nose. He had some blood, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: May I approach the witness, your honor? NELSON: Yes, you may.

DE LA RIONDA: I'm not going to hit you.

SERINO: You can hit me.

DE LA RIONDA: If I can, and I'm hitting you, correct? That's what the defendant is claiming, that I'm suffocating you and I'm not going to put my hand on your mouth. Would you have your hands like this or would you be fighting me?

SERINO: I'd be fighting you.

DE LA RIONDA: Did you find any blood or anything on the defendant's hands?

SERINO: No, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: You were also asked about the witnesses and stuff. If I may approach again, your honor.

NELSON: Yes you may.

DE LA RIONDA: State's exhibit 140, Mr. O'Mara showed you this. Do you recall this? And he asked you in terms of assuming -- I apologize, he may have actually showed you 139. I apologize.

Let me take both up. 139 he asked you about assuming the defendant's story is correct in terms of where the altercation happened, et cetera.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Did you have some evidence that possibly there was something going on behind these houses here? (inaudible)

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: You were asked about the hoodie at the 7-Eleven. I'm not aware of it, but what law states that an individual can't go into a 7-Eleven with a hoodie? Is there some law that I missed?

SERINO: No sir.