CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Live Coverage of the George Zimmerman Trial; Crews Continue to Battle Arizona Wildfire; Protests Grown in Egypt; Continuing Coverage of the George Zimmerman Trial

Aired July 2, 2013 - 11:00   ET

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


BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: I'm not aware of, but what law states that an individual can't go into a 7-Eleven with a hoodie? Is there some law that I missed?

DETECTIVE CHRIS SERINO, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: No, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: If I may have a moment, your honor.

And finally, you do not have the phone records in terms of Trayvon Martin or Rachel Jeantel, right, the lady that he was talking to, to determine whether it was accurate based on when the defendant's phone finished or not?

SERINO: No, sir, I did not.

DE LA RIONDA: In other words, you didn't have the defendant's phone records either, did you?

SERINO: No, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: And I'm talking about the February 29th interview, I apologize.

SERINO: I was assuming that, yes.

DE LA RIONDA: Thank you, no further questions.

JUDGE DEBRA NELSON: Thank you.

We've been here almost two hours this morning on cross, redirect ...

(AUDIO BREAK)

... and now you're seeking to re-recross. I will give you five minutes. It's the state's witness and the state will have another five minutes on re-re-redirect.

MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: Sorry, your honor, there's just a new areas he's gone into and I have to address them.

NELSON: Well, you have five minutes for your re-re-recross.

O'MARA: Yes, your honor. As far as any blood on Mr. Zimmerman's hands, when he got to you he was already cleaned up by EMTs and he had washed himself at SPD, correct?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: You wouldn't expect to find blood on his hands at that point, would you?

SERINO: No, sir.

O'MARA: And when the suggestion is why didn't Trayvon Martin have blood on his hands, does blood -- is blood susceptible to gravity as well?

SERINO: Yes, sir, it is.

O'MARA: So if he gets smashed in the nose and is thrown on the ground, which way is the blood going?

SERINO: Towards the ground.

O'MARA: And back down his throat?

SERINO: And only when he stands up is it going to come out of his nostrils.

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Which is when he's no longer being mounted by Trayvon Martin?

SERINO: Typically, yes, sir.

O'MARA: Break my nose, put me on the ground, my blood is going backwards into my throat, right?

SERINO: Theoretically, yes.

O'MARA: And would not be available to be on Trayvon Martin's hands at that point because there was no blood outside the nose, correct?

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: and I'm not going to approach you like he did, but basically, first of all, if he's holding him down, could that be literally momentary that he's holding him down and Mr. Zimmerman is trying to get back up?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Could the attempt to suffocate literally be moment air as well?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: Could it be a sleeve or an arm or a palm or anything that could have given Mr. Zimmerman that impression?

SERINO: Yes, sir. O'MARA: Thank you, your honor.

NELSON: Thank you. You have ...

DE LA RIONDA: I think I'm only going to ask two or three questions.

NELSON: Thank you.

DE LA RIONDA: May only ask one. Right now it could be raining outside, right?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: And that would be pure speculation on your part, would it not?

SERINO: Yes, it would.

DE LA RIONDA: Thank you.

NELSON: Thank you.

Officer Serino, you're excused from the courtroom, but you're subject to being recalled. Thank you very much

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we'll take a 15-minute recess. If you'll please put your notepads face down on the chairs and follow the deputy back into the jury room.

(END LIVE FEED)

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And that is what you call re-re- redirect and re-re-recross. I may be missing a few "re"s.

Hello, everyone, I'm Ashleigh Banfield, picking up our live coverage, our continuing coverage of the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial, live here in Sanford, Florida.

As the courtroom breaks, you can see George Zimmerman standing as the jury gets up to leave.

And I want to listen to what the judge is saying.

(BEGIN LIVE FEED)

NELSON: ... we will recess for 15 minutes.

DE LA RIONDA: No, your honor.

O'MARA: No, your honor.

DON WEST, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: I have a motion I'm filing at this point, your honor.

It certainly doesn't need to be addressed right this minute, but it's in response to a motion the state filed yesterday. I don't know if they have noticed it for hearing or not.

NELSON: I haven't received any notices for hearing, but we'll go ahead and take your motion.

WEST: Thank you.

NELSON: We'll be recessed.

(END LIVE FEED)

BANFIELD: And there you have it. Now we're officially in recess because whenever you see the Great Seal of the state of Florida, we're officially not going to broadcast any more pictures from the courtroom.

Sometimes, though, I've got to be honest, sometimes some of the minutia just as people are coming in and leaving court can be just as intriguing. Things do happen. Things are said.

I think we missed some key moments in the Casey Anthony trial because the courtroom was leaving and people jumped out for analysis.

But let me tell you this, as we continue our live coverage here in Sanford, Florida, there is a good reason why the witness who was on the stand and just left the stand has been on for two days.

He's the lead investigator in the case. He was privy to no fewer than five different statements, written, oral and videotaped statements of the defendant in this case.

Let me remind you, a defendant who's facing second-degree murder charges in a case that is highly publicized, highly scrutinized, highly debated and highly criticized.

I want to bring in some of my analysts who can tell you the specifics of what happened this morning, and tell you why they are so significant.

First to George Howell, who is reporting gavel-to-gavel on this case. He's also live with me here in Sanford, Florida, on a very rainy and muggy morning.

George, just get me up to speed on Chris Serino and why we had re-re- re-re-reexaminations of this very critical witness.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, absolutely. What a day, what a morning.

Let's talk about Chris Serino. And right out of the gates, Bernie De La Rionda, he objected to the idea of the defense attorney asking Serino if he believed that George Zimmerman was credible and truthful.

You'll remember that Serino said, yes, but now the judge has told the jury to disregard that question and disregard that answer, so you see the judge there agreeing with the prosecution. And then when we talk about what we saw today, we really saw the prosecution going after this lead investigator, first of all, in many ways questioning his judgment.

For instance, when it comes to the expletive terms that were used, for instance, in that 911 audio where Zimmerman can be heard saying these expletives always get away.

De La Rionda asked Serino if he considered those to be friendly comments and Serino agreed that he did not consider those to be friendly comments.

Also when it comes to the issue of the address on that reenactment, George Zimmerman said that he did not know the address, but De La Rionda pointed out that there was an address in plain view, in plain sight, showed the picture to the jury. That was another big moment in this case.

And, also when it comes to the issue of profiling. De La Rionda got Serino to agree with him that following can be construed as profiling.

BANFIELD: So you could say, George Howell, that those are some points scored for the prosecution in a very powerful morning, points that were very sorely needed in what has been an uphill battle by many accounts in this prosecution case.

George, stand by if you will. I have to squeeze in a quick break before we go to our legal eagles, our experts. We get to the lawyers as soon as we can to get their analysis of some of that very tricky arcane speak that sometimes plagues the courtroom.

And other news as well. Across the country, 19 brave men dying, 20 percent of a fire department wiped out in one horrible tragedy.

Families weighing in, but is anyone else weighing in? Should they have been there in the first place?

Back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: I want to bring you to some other news now, and I want to take you directly out to Prescott, Arizona, because help is now on the way, and it is desperately needed help in that wildfire.

You keep seeing the pictures, not Sanford, Florida, but Arizona in this incredible fire in Yarnell, Arizona.

The deadly wildfires have been consuming homes and structures, now 200 structures. Homes and businesses gone.

You already know 19 members of an elite firefighting force were killed when the winds just suddenly, monsoon-like winds suddenly changed direction.

The flags are now flying at half staff across the state of Arizona today, and, of course, look what people are bringing to the area where these people not only just parked their cars and went to a day of work, but those cars remained there at Station 7.

Flowers now lining that fence, toys, stuffed animals, messages and, of course, those who have come to pay their respects. It has been so difficult for the families there.

Kyung Lah has been reporting and files this update.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JULIANN ASHCRAFT, ANDREW ASHCRAFT'S WIDOW: They're real people with real families, too, and we love and miss them.

They're heroes. They died heroes. They were heroes in our homes, heroes in our community.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A community that now grieves. The 19 Granite Mountain "Hotshots" have names, their average age just 27 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have very few words that express that kind of sorrow, but when you take a person in your arms and you hug them, you know. You don't have to say too much.

LAH: Twenty-one-year-old Kevin Woyjeck followed in the footsteps of his father, a Los Angeles fire captain.

JOE WOYJECK, KEVIN WOYJECK'S FATHER (via telephone): You know, you spend your whole life protecting your children. Words can't describe the loss that our family is feeling right now.

LAH: Thirty-one-year-old Chris MacKenzie also wanted to be like his dad, a firefighter, so he joined the department two years ago.

Twenty-nine-year-old Andrew Ashcraft, an athlete, a go-getter, but most importantly, a husband to wife Juliann. She learned that her husband had died while watching the news with their four children.

TOM ASHCRAFT, ANDREW ASHCRAFT'S FATHER: We all will miss him very much. We all consider him a hero, along with all the other men that died.

LAH: Twenty-five-year-old Billy Warnecke, a four-year Iraq war veteran, was expecting his first child with wife Roxanne.

Twenty-six-year-old Sean Misner was supposed to be the best friend at his friend's wedding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were close enough that I still said, I love you, when I said goodbye to him on the phone. And if I could tell him anything, just that I love him, and that we're going to take care of his family for him.

LAH: Their end, too early. Their bodies moved out of the charred fields, past the residents they gave their very lives to save. Kyung Lah, CNN, Prescott, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: Just such incredibly sad story there and just such a sad development as well.

And there's another big story that's developing. Egypt for so many people has been an incredible place to vacation, but over the last few years, it's been a scene of millions gathering in Tahrir Square.

It was only a year ago a brand new president stepped in, an old president from decades stepped out, the military being such a critical issue.

Now yet again, protesters in the square, will the military step in? And will we see scenes of violence again?

There is a deadline looming this hour. We're going to take you there, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Back live here in Sanford, Florida, I'm Ashleigh Banfield. You've not missing a moment of testimony in the Zimmerman trial because they're on a very brief break. And as soon as the action resumes, you're going to resume watching it live as it happens.

In the meantime, there's big other news that's developing across the world in fact. The protests that you've been watching just develop and grow in Egypt could be about to hit a major breaking point, and it could happen at any moment now. They have been threatening to storm the presidential palace -- today in fact. All because they want Mohamed Morsi, their president, to step down.

This is the second ultimatum that that president has been facing. The first one from the protesters and the second one from Egypt's military. It's been a combative relationship between the military and President Morsi.

Our Ian Lee is live overlooking what you are seeing, the throngs and throngs of protesters. So far, Ian, it looks like it is somewhat, and I only say somewhat stable because things can change on a dime. But what does it feel like there?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ashleigh, the atmosphere right now is electric in Tahrir Square, which you can see behind me. Tens of thousands of people gathering in the square, still more coming in. Earlier today, we saw Apache helicopters buzz the square, the crowd erupting. A sign from the army many would say is one that they support the people in Tahrir Square and around Egypt.

But what we're also seeing is protests not just in Cairo but also all around the country, different cities, we're seeing protesters take to the streets. I've been -- in the five years I've been in Egypt, this is the largest protest I've seen. That even includes during the revolution. People are fed up with the lack of security and the poor economy. These are the two things that people say are taking them to the streets.

President Mohamed Morsi grows more isolated as well, as ministers from his cabinet resign, including the finance minister, the oil minister, as well as the foreign minister. One other thing is that he's also losing support from major political parties. So as this protest progresses, being more isolated. Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: (Inaudible) as well as we continue to watch just millions and millions of those. Only a year ago, watching a brand new president come in and now asking him to step off. No one said that the beginnings of true democracy are easy. They can be messy and they can be certainly bloody as well.

We'll continue to watch what's happening from Cairo but also we're watching here this country -- by the way, a lot of Europe and across the world has been watching with fascination what's going on inside a Sanford, Florida, courtroom. It speaks to so much other than just crime. This crime, or alleged crime anyway, speaks to race; it speaks to money; it speaks to really where the American psyche is right now when it looks inside a courtroom and sees color and sees law -- or sees none of the above.

I want to bring in some of my legal analysts who've been watching this case along with me. Mark Nejame is a criminal defense attorney who has practiced for many, many years, and has many, many cases under his belt here in the State of Florida.

First, Mark, I want you to just weigh in on the morning. There's been much ado made about this investigator, the kind of investigation he did, the kinds of questions, the tone of the questions, questions that were left out, and even challenges. All in all, how'd you rate it?

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think he did very well. He is pulling it out. Yesterday was the defense day. The defense just scored some punches and it was going to be hard to revive. This prosecutor, to his credit, rose this case from the dead. I mean he came back and a lesser prosecutor couldn't have done that.

BANFIELD: There are some incredible lawyers in this courtroom. I've got to say, look, I've seen some real stinkers and these guys are good. They are on point, they don't miss a thing, for the most part, and Bernie De La Rionda really did come back. I'm not sure if it was re, re, re, which direct it was -- but he came back and he was able to really nail down a few critical, critical points when it came to this investigator.

NEJAME: Look, I've said for a long time that trials are not linear processes. You have a good day, you have a bad day, and you need to wait until it's all over.

But let me give you an example how astute Bernie De La Rionda was. He goes to his investigator and he says, "Did you ask those questions before DNA? Did you ask those questions before he had an M.E. report?" All showing that, well, he kind of gave a questionable inquiry. Well, nobody ever does on the first few days of an investigation. You never have your DNA back. You never have your M.E. report back. But he made it sound like, that based on that background, that the investigator didn't get it all done and hence that's why he came to his conclusions.

BANFIELD: So let's listen to some of this questioning. Listen to some of this questioning live in court when it came to what this investigator, Chris Serino, thought about the young man that he was interviewing, whether he believed him or whether he thought he was lying. And I'll tell you why it's so significant on the other side. Have a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

O'MARA: 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.

O'MARA: Was there anything else in this case where you got the insight that he might be a pathological liar?

SERINO: No.

O'MARA: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Oh, boy. Oh, boy. Asking somebody if they're telling the truth and this is a witness talking about another witness.

I want to bring in our other expert legal minds in this. Faith Jenkins is a Manhattan defense attorney and Danny Cevallos is in Philly, a defense attorney as well. Danny, I'm going to start with you. This has been litigated beyond that little piece of sound. People are really upset about it. In that courtroom, they're going back and forth over whether this detective was ever really allowed to say that, whether he should have said that, and whether it should be stricken from the record and the bell unrung.

DANNY CEVALLOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What a brilliant exchange, right up to the pathological liar part. In the beginning, what the detective is doing is using -- the investigator is using a tremendous technique. He's lying to George Zimmerman to try to draw out some kind of truth. He told him that there was a video, that Martin may have taken a video. So that's interesting. That's constitutionally permissible. But the statement, as far as the truth, what's going on now is the attorneys are arguing over this. But this never happens because, if anything, when a police officer opines as to the truth or credibility of a suspect, they're saying that the person is not truthful. It's the rare case where, as here, the officer, the investigator, is actually wanting to testify as to his truthfulness.

And that's what the attorneys are fighting over. The case law in Florida is sparse on this issue. It almost always deals with a police officer attacking the credibility of a defendant.

BANFIELD: So then, Danny, that probably stands to reason when they went back over this issue, that's probably why Mark O'Mara started to change the line of questioning to, "Well, then, what did you do next? What did his words cause you to do or question him and what was your path and your pattern after you heard that?"

Faith Jenkins, put on your former prosecutor hat now for a moment. Should the prosecution yesterday have objected and said right at that moment, "Wait a minute, you can't do that in a criminal trial. You can't say those things." They didn't.

FAITH JENKINS, FORMER CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: They didn't. And what happened is overnight they looked back at the testimony and they looked at the case law and they knew that they had to come in this morning and make an objection and try to get that testimony stricken from the record.

But the jurors have already heard it. And the defense knew they were ending on a high note yesterday, which is why they ended when they did. The prosecutor argued this morning, this is a great argument, this is the lead investigator on the case. His testimony, by virtue of his position alone, carries a tremendous amount of weight. He should not be able to opine as to whether another witness is or is not telling the truth. That's their argument.

And what an interesting dynamic here. Usually the lead homicide detective and investigator, you're in the state's pocket. Like, you are their key witness. You are there to help them get a conviction on this case. You're there to tell the truth. You want to ensure that justice is done, and it's amazing that he would come in and say, in this case, that he believed George Zimmerman was telling the truth.

BANFIELD: All right, Faith. I want to just cut you off real quickly, and I would only do that, my good friend, to go right back into the live trial because testimony has resumed and Bernie De La Rionda, the prosecutor, is now questioning a man named Mark Osterman who is a friend, not only a friend but a best friend, we're told, of George Zimmerman. And he spoke with Zimmerman after the shooting. Let's listen.

(BEGIN LIVE FEED)

DE LA RIONDA: He made some statements to you regarding what he alleged happened regarding the shooting he was involved in?

MARK OSTERMAN, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Yes, he did.

DE LA RIONDA: And did he specifically state that that Sunday night, the 26th, he was going shopping at Target?

OSTERMAN: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We object, your honor, leading.

DE LA RIONDA: OK, if you could, tell us what the defendant told you. And let me set the setting, if I could. You were with yourself and I believe you were driving, is that correct?

OSTERMAN: I drove myself.

DE LA RIONDA: I apologize. Let me rephrase the question, I apologize. Confusing on my part. When Mr. Zimmerman, the defendant, was telling you something about what happened, he was in the car with you, is that correct?

OSTERMAN: That is correct.

DE LA RIONDA: And were you driving?

OSTERMAN: I was.

DE LA RIONDA: And was his wife, (Inaudible) Zimmerman, in the car with you and him?

OSTERMAN: She was.

DE LA RIONDA: And did he make some statements regarding what had happened regarding the shooting?

OSTERMAN: He did.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. If you could, tell us what the defendant said regarding what he alleged happened.

OSTERMAN: George said that on the night, on that Sunday night, he had left his home, as he did every Sunday night, to get lunches for the week. And as he was going to go to Super Target, which is really, really close to his home, he was going to -- he just drives out of his neighborhood. It was -- I think it was dark that night. And on his way there is when he observed someone in a black hoodie and someone who was looking like someone he had not seen before. And he knew most of the people in his neighborhood. So he had observed someone walking through the neighborhood with a hoodie on, looking either into windows or looking into -- around residences and such.

DE LA RIONDA: All right, let me interrupt you if I could. Did he describe the individual he said?

OSTERMAN: He did.

DE LA RIONDA: How did he describe him?

OSTERMAN: Tall. About 6 foot and about -- slender. Slender build.

DE LA RIONDA: And he stated the person was doing something, you said?

OSTERMAN: He said looking into -- was walking through, between two sets of townhomes. When you look to your left and right, you would look into windows. You wouldn't be in a position really to look into the front door or such, but it was side windows.

DE LA R IONDA: Yes, sir. Did he further describe the individual by race or ethnicity?

OSTERMAN: Well, at that time, he knew that he was a black male.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. I apologize. I interrupted you. You said -- what else did the defendant tell you regarding what happened?

OSTERMAN: He said then he -- when he realized that the person that was walking through the neighborhood was someone he didn't know, he didn't recognize, and someone who usually looks through a neighborhood while it's raining, it's suspicious. Because a lot of times juveniles will walk through neighborhoods or people who are suspicious will walk through neighborhoods while it's raining because you get less people walking around, walking their dogs or just taking an evening walk.

So someone who might want to be a little more suspicious, if they're acting suspicious, they'll do it when it's dark and when it's raining, and that might have been a trigger, he had said to me.

DE LA RIONDA: OK, what I want to do is focus as best you can in terms of what you recall him saying as opposed to --

OSTERMAN: OK, I'm sorry.

DE LA RIONDA: No, that's all right.

OSTERMAN: He said he observed who is now we realize is Trayvon walking between the two buildings. And then he came down and he observed him, thought it was suspicious, and that he was going to call the non-emergency number for the Sanford Police Department.

DE LA RIONDA: Did he state that the individual that we're referring now as Trayvon Martin starts toward him and came under the light and so he was using his phone?

OSTERMAN: Correct. Correct. George was using his -- I'm sorry, did you mention George was using his phone or Trayvon?

DE LA RIONDA: What did he say to you?

OSTERMAN: I was never told by George that Trayvon was using his phone.

DE LA RIONDA: I'm sorry, that he --

OSTERMAN: George was.

DE LA RIONDA: I apologize, George Zimmerman was using his phone.

OSTERMAN: Correct. He dialed the non-emergency number and wanted to make sure that he called that line instead of the 911 line.

DE LA RIONDA: Did he say the person you know now as the victim, Trayvon Martin, approached his car?

OSTERMAN: Walked close at this point.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. What does he say about that, if you could?

OSTERMAN: Walked down to the street about where -- because George had remained in his vehicle. And Trayvon had walked down -- I guess down to the sidewalk area, walked a little further away, walked back a bit, and then George had, I believe, pulled into the front of their clubhouse and parked his vehicle there and waited for Sanford police to arrive and make contact.

DE LA RIONDA: Does he say -- I apologize, I interrupted you, sir. OK, did he say the person you now know as Trayvon Martin -- when I say he, I'm talking about the defendant, George Zimmerman -- that he walked up to the passenger side window and stood there for a moment and then goes to the front of the car, comes around to my window on my driver's side and towards the rear of my car, then walks away?

OSTERMAN: Yes, it was very -- walked around it, the vehicle, very -- in close proximity.