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Testimony Continues in Zimmerman Case.
Aired July 2, 2013 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: Did he say the person you now know as Trayvon Martin -- when I say "he," I'm talking about the defendant, George Zimmerman --
MARK OSTERMAN, WITNESS & ZIMMERMAN'S BEST FRIEND: Right.
DE LA RIONDA: -- 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 the window on my driver side and then towards the rear of my car and then walks away.
OSTERMAN: Yeah, walked around the vehicle in close proximity. And I think they looked at each other, George had said.
DE LA RIONDA: Did he, the defendant, then say at some point he lost sight of the person you now know as Trayvon Martin?
OSTERMAN: Yes, briefly.
DE LA RIONDA: And do you recall then in terms of Mr. Zimmerman, the defendant saying that he was talking to dispatch or the non-emergency person, correct?
DE LA RIONDA: Did he tell you that in terms of whether he was asked are you following him and he answered yes, I'm following him, but he didn't see Trayvon Martin at that point, was looking for him?
OSTERMAN: Well, there's kind of two -- as George described it to me, there were kind of two phases of the contact. The first one was when he first saw him and then he pulled into the clubhouse parking lot. And then the second one was when he re-established contact with Trayvon, who walked down another side street that wasn't the main -- the main street around the circle and then he backed his car up and then he tried to -- tried to keep visual contact with him so he followed him with his car. And he didn't get out of his vehicle until he lost visual sight of him.
DE LA RIONDA: And what do you recall the defendant telling you that the officer -- that the dispatcher, I use officer just because they're with the police department, saying that the defendant that we don't need you to follow him and he said OK?
OSTERMAN: Correct. That was at the point where he had already gotten out of his car first and as he described it to me, there were two reasons for getting out of the car. First, he didn't know the street I guess he was on, that center street. It's a smaller street. He didn't know the actual name of it so he got out of his car to try to establish a visual contact, to try to direct the police officer in to meet with Trayvon and dispel his suspicions and to find the exact address. Because as a police officer, you always want to know the exact address of where you're going.
DE LA RIONDA: All right. And then he told you -- I'm sorry, he, the defendant -- I apologize for using a pronoun -- that he started walking and then he put his phone somewhere?
OSTERMAN: He put his phone in his pocket after the dispatcher told him they didn't need him to follow him. So he was going to walk back to his vehicle.
DE LA RIONDA: And then he said something happened at that point?
OSTERMAN: He told me that as he was walking back to his car down the dog path, that Trayvon had confronted him, had walked towards him and confronted him and they had a verbal.
DE LA RIONDA: And what do you recall the defendant telling you that Trayvon Martin told him and what did he say in response?
OSTERMAN: He cursed. I'm not going to curse here today. He said do you have a problem? And then he used a curse word.
DE LA RIONDA: All right. Now, you wrote a book about this, right?
OSTERMAN: I did.
DE LA RIONDA: And you wrote a book. And you quoted what the defendant, George Zimmerman, told you, correct?
DE LA RIONDA: Do you recall in that book writing "do you have a problem," that's what he said Trayvon Martin said?
OSTERMAN: Right, correct.
DE LA RIONDA: And you didn't put in that book anything about a curse word at all?
OSTERMAN: I believe I did.
DE LA RIONDA: You did? OK.
OSTERMAN: I believe I did. Do you have a problem, and then he used the initials M.F.
DE LA RIONDA: OK.
May I approach the witness, Your Honor?
DEBRA NELSON, CIRCUIT JUDGE: Yes, you may. DE LA RIONDA: I'm going to show you your book. Unless I've got the wrong page. I'm on page 28, Counsel. Just to refresh your memory.
OSTERMAN: Correct, correct.
DE LA RIONDA: Don't read from it. That's just to refresh your memory.
OSTERMAN: Yeah, he had told me that do you have a problem and then the curse word. It was taken out of the book because it was pretty graphic.
DE LA RIONDA: Oh, OK. So on purpose you took it out.
OSTERMAN: I think the publisher asked it not be put in.
DE LA RIONDA: You said he asked do you have a problem and Mr. Zimmerman replied, no, I don't have a problem, correct?
DE LA RIONDA: But you believe the words were actually what now the defendant said?
DE LA RIONDA: OK. So the juries have heard, so just for the record he said -- (AUDIO PROBLEM).
And then the defendant, Mr. Zimmerman, said in reply, no, I don't have a problem. And then Mr. Trayvon Martin replied?
OSTERMAN: You do now.
DE LA RIONDA: And the defendant claimed that he, Trayvon Martin, was coming at him at that time?
OSTERMAN: He was very close, probably within an arm's or two arm's reach and George lost contact visually.
DE LA RIONDA: I apologize.
DE LA RIONDA: I interrupted you. Go ahead.
OSTERMAN: That's OK. No, as George was reaching down to get to his phone to re-establish contact with the dispatch, that's when physical contact happened.
DE LA RIONDA: So the defendant told you that he had these words with Trayvon Martin.
OSTERMAN: Correct. DE LA RIONDA: And then he said that he went and reached for his phone in his pocket.
OSTERMAN: Correct. And looked down.
DE LA RIONDA: I'm sorry, he looked down.
OSTERMAN: He looked down to reach to get into his pocket.
DE LA RIONDA: And at that point is when Trayvon Martin hit him?
OSTERMAN: Struck him in the nose.
DE LA RIONDA: OK. So he -- the defendant claims he looked down and that's when Trayvon Martin hit him?
OSTERMAN: Well, he looked down, got his phone and he said as he looked back up, and he lost visual contact for maybe a second to get his phone out of his pocket. He went like this. As he looked up, the punch came squarely in his face.
DE LA RIONDA: So did the defendant say he took the phone out or left it in his pocket?
OSTERMAN: I don't remember that. I don't remember.
DE LA RIONDA: OK. And then what did the defendant claim after he claims the victim hit him in the nose?
OSTERMAN: He stumbled backwards and found himself on his back.
DE LA RIONDA: OK.
OSTERMAN: Partially on the grass, partially on the sidewalk.
DE LA RIONDA: Did he say what the victim, Trayvon Martin, was doing at that point?
OSTERMAN: He moved forward and got on top of him.
DE LA RIONDA: Did he describe to you how he got on top of him?
OSTERMAN: His knees were up somewhere near his chest or up near his arm pits and he was -- he was beginning to punch him.
DE LA RIONDA: OK. So the defendant is claiming that the victim straddled him, I guess?
DE LA RIONDA: And his knees were up in his ribs and near his arm pits, correct?
DE LA RIONDA: And he began punching him? OSTERMAN: That's what George said.
DE LA RIONDA: I apologize. He began punching Trayvon Martin.
OSTERMAN: Trayvon began punching George Zimmerman.
DE LA RIONDA: I'm sorry. I got it backwards. Sorry. The defendant is claiming he's on the ground, Trayvon Martin is straddling him.
OSTERMAN: Was punching him.
OSTERMAN: I'm sorry.
DE LA RIONDA: I apologize, Mr. Osterman.
OSTERMAN: I'm sorry.
He said that he was on his back and Trayvon Martin straddled him and began punching him in the face.
DE LA RIONDA: But the way he described Trayvon Martin straddling the defendant, he claims that his -- you said his knees were up to his rib cage or arm pits, is that correct?
OSTERMAN: Somewhere around there, yes.
DE LA RIONDA: Then he said what?
OSTERMAN: Well, George began screaming for help at that point.
DE LA RIONDA: Did he say anything about the defendant grabbing his head and doing something with his head?
OSTERMAN: Absolutely. Once he started screaming. Trayvon -- George said Trayvon grabbed his head and started bashing his head on the concrete, which his upper half of his body was on the dog path.
DE LA RIONDA: In fact, I think you quoted Mr. Zimmerman, the defendant, saying that he was eight inches from the grass, correct?
OSTERMAN: About. As George was explaining it, this upper half of him, somewhere here was still on the concrete and the rest of his body was on the grass.
DE LA RIONDA: And I think your quote is, "I noticed that I'm about eight inches away from the grass," correct?
DE LA RIONDA: And then does Mr. Zimmerman, the defendant, tell you that I tried to maneuver my body just enough to get my head onto the grass?
OSTERMAN: It was a squirm, he said. He said as he was squirming down towards the grass to keep his head from getting hit by the concrete, the jacket kind of remained still. His jacket since it wasn't buttoned, it stayed where it was and his body moved towards the grass a little bit more.
DE LA RIONDA: What else did he say about anybody else seeing this or came out?
OSTERMAN: He said several people had came out, at least two that he saw came out and he directly screamed for help towards those people. So as he was screaming, it was more directed at someone.
DE LA RIONDA: And did he say one of the individuals that came out was a man and he yelled directly at him and the man just went right back in?
OSTERMAN: He stated he was going to call 911. He wasn't going to get involved.
DE LA RIONDA: Did he say there was other individuals that saw this too, correct?
OSTERMAN: Perhaps at least one other for sure that witnessed what was happening. It may have been the same person that had the flashlight that showed up later.
DE LA RIONDA: I think you -- and you can refer, if you need to refresh your memory, on page 28 where you quoted Mr. Zimmerman. Did you not at the very bottom of page 28 of your book?
OSTERMAN: Several -- yeah, there were several people.
DE LA RIONDA: I think you said two other men saw us out there and did nothing.
DE LA RIONDA: Correct?
OSTERMAN: I believe so. At least one other, maybe two others.
DE LA RIONDA: And then he claimed that Mr. Martin, Trayvon Martin, was still on top of him and took his hands and put it over his nose, correct?
OSTERMAN: One hand was trying to cover his nose and one hand was trying to cover his mouth to keep him from screaming.
DE LA RIONDA: And I think you quoted Mr. Zimmerman as saying that "Trayvon Martin put his hand -- takes one of his hands and puts it over my nose and pinches it closed while his other hand goes over my mouth."
OSTERMAN: It was described to me something like this, maybe a pinch -- maybe not like that, but a pinch like that and a cover.
DE LA RIONDA: So --
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Continuing live CNN coverage of the George Zimmerman murder trial in Sanford, Florida. And a brief warning to you, some of the language and some of the images and subject matter is uncomfortable and defensive, so we just want to give you that warning. We're doing our very best to edit as things happen, but that does go out -- if you're watching, that certainly some of that can slip through.
Meantime, a critical witness has taken the stand. This is Mark Osterman, a self-described best friend of George Zimmerman. In fact, he actually wrote a book called "Defending Your Friend, The Most-Hated Man in America." He's being questioned by the prosecutor right now on the account that George Zimmerman told him after shooting Trayvon Martin. The details matter, specifically having your mouth covered up by Trayvon Martin, but still being able to be hit by Trayvon Martin.
They're now getting to the sidearm issue and when Trayvon might have discovered there was a sidearm, according to George Zimmerman's account to his friend.
DE LA RIONDA: -- Trayvon Martin's chest and pulled the trigger, correct?
OSTERMAN: Unfortunately, yes.
DE LA RIONDA: And then he claims after he shot Trayvon Martin, that Trayvon Martin sat up and he heard him say, you got it, OK, you got it, something like that?
DE LA RIONDA: And then that Trayvon Martin pivoted 90 degrees and fell face forward onto the grass and he scooted from under him?
DE LA RIONDA: And the defendant claims he didn't know he shot him?
OSTERMAN: He didn't know he struck him.
DE LA RIONDA: I'm sorry, struck him.
DE LA RIONDA: In fact, the defendant went on to tell you that he thought Trayvon Martin -- I know he wasn't calling him Trayvon Martin. I think he referred to him as the guy or whatever -- might try to get up again, so after putting his gun back in the holster, he jumped on top of Trayvon Martin and pinned him down, correct?
DE LA RIONDA: And then he said a man approached him out of the darkness. OSTERMAN: The first --
DE LA RIONDA: Is that correct?
OSTERMAN: The first man was not a police officer. The second was.
DE LA RIONDA: And do you recall also that what he's describing in terms of the first contact that he had out there when he was calling the non-emergency number that he said we need you to get to a place where you can see him, in terms of observing Trayvon Martin?
OSTERMAN: Right. Well, that's -- he had said that he had to get somewhere where he could observe Trayvon or observe any subject that's in his neighborhood to be able to direct police officers to them. So whether he actually -- whether the dispatch actually said we need you to move to where you can see them -- I'm not sure if that's actually what had occurred. But he had said that his instructions from Sanford police, whenever they came to their complex, was always to get to where you can observe and try not to make contact.
DE LA RIONDA: He told you that the officer was on the scene in about 45 seconds or something, or the dispatch was telling him that, right?
OSTERMAN: Well, time is relative at that point but very shortly thereafter.
DE LA RIONDA: The dispatcher is telling him the officer is almost there, he's been 45 seconds.
OSTERMAN: Correct, correct.
DE LA RIONDA: And he told you that -- and I'm going back now in terms of the dispatcher. He tells you that he told the dispatcher just have the officer meet me at the clubhouse, correct?
OSTERMAN: That is correct.
DE LA RIONDA: And he put his phone in his pocket and headed back when the guy is about 15 seconds -- I'm sorry -- 15 feet away, walking towards him, right?
DE LA RIONDA: And he's saying that Trayvon Martin -- I apologize. I'm using the name Trayvon Martin. But you know who I'm talking about.
DE LA RIONDA: He's describing this person is 15 feet away and walking towards him, correct?
DE LA RIONDA: And he says, do you have a problem? And then what occurs? You said he said some other words, M.F., but you didn't put it in the book, correct?
DE LA RIONDA: He also told you that when he managed to get his hand off of Trayvon Martin's hands off his mouth, that he had control of the wrist, correct?
OSTERMAN: To some degree to prevent him from putting it back over his mouth, yes.
DE LA RIONDA: Right. And he told you that he, the defendant, managed to break the grip on the gun where the guy grabbed it between the rear side and the hammer, correct?
OSTERMAN: Whether it was the gun or the leather casing or reaching down there and grabbing something.
DE LA RIONDA: Right, but I think --
OSTERMAN: Broke the grip of the gun or the holster.
DE LA RIONDA: Now, you didn't refer to the holster when you wrote it down in the book, correct? You just put "gun."
OSTERMAN: Correct. Because the holster -- that's exactly the place where the holster holds the firearm in place. So whether it was actual firearm or holster -- I didn't see a difference. If someone grabs a hold of the holster or grabs a hold of the gun, their intent is probably the same.
DE LA RIONDA: And the defendant is telling you then that he shot at Trayvon Martin, but he didn't know whether he had struck him or not.
DE LA RIONDA: He thought the shot went wide, correct?
OSTERMAN: He did say that.
DE LA RIONDA: Let me have a moment, Your Honor.
DE LA RIONDA: I don't have any further questions.
NELSON: Thank you.
MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Good morning, sir, how are you?
OSTERMAN: Fine, sir.
O'MARA: How long have you been in law enforcement?
OSTERMAN: Since 1992. O'MARA: Pretty much a career for you?
OSTERMAN: It is.
O'MARA: And do you enjoy doing what you do?
OSTERMAN: Very much.
O'MARA: Did you get any college training or anything before going to the police academy?
OSTERMAN: Well, I -- not before the police academy. I had -- run went right out of high school I went into the Army. I was in the U.S. Army infantry. And when I got out, I applied directly to the Daytona Beach Community College Police Academy.
O'MARA: Completed that and been in law enforcement ever since?
O'MARA: You discussed your career with George Zimmerman, did you not?
OSTERMAN: In detail.
O'MARA: It was actually you who assisted him when he decided he needed a firearm, correct?
OSTERMAN: That is correct.
O'MARA: Did he tell you the reason why he wanted to get a firearm?
OSTERMAN: He -- he asked whether he should or shouldn't to start with. I recommended that he should. Anybody who is a non-convicted felon should carry a firearm.
O'MARA: That's your life philosophy?
OSTERMAN: That's my opinion, correct.
O'MARA: Being armed instead of not being armed?
OSTERMAN: The police are not always there.
O'MARA: You then encouraged him to do that?
OSTERMAN: I told him if he wished to, to go to a place that trains for the concealed weapons permit and get that training.
O'MARA: Which you know that he did right?
OSTERMAN: He did do.
O'MARA: And then he actually got his concealed weapons permit?
OSTERMAN: I believe him and his wife.
O'MARA: Then they decided what weapon that he should purchase, correct?
OSTERMAN: That is correct.
O'MARA: Did he seek your counsel?
OSTERMAN: He did.
DE LA RIONDA: Objection. (INAUDIBLE).
O'MARA: Let's focus a bit more -- how long did you know George?
OSTERMAN: About five years. At that time, about four years at that time.
O'MARA: I think you said he's your best friend?
OSTERMAN: Best one I've ever had.
O'MARA: Would that affect in any way your testimony here today that he's a good friend of yours?
OSTERMAN: Well, not as far as the truth is.
O'MARA: OK. You're going to speak the truth good or bad for Mr. Zimmerman?
O'MARA: As far as that friendship you were contacted on the night this event happened?
OSTERMAN: I was.
O'MARA: And offered your help when -- I guess helped Shelly with what she was going through?
OSTERMAN: Near hysterical? She had called me from -- she was visiting her father's home at the time when she received a call from a neighbor from Twin Lakes and she immediately called me both of us got into our vehicle and arrived at Twin Lakes within about 10 seconds of each other.
O'MARA: How upset was she?
OSTERMAN: Hysterical. She had almost no information to go on because the neighbor, I guess, that called had -- they had hung up, so she couldn't get further updates as to George's health or status. She was -- I mean, I put my arm around her to kind of keep her from blacking out, I guess.
O'MARA: At that point, she had gotten a phone call from somebody who said that George was involved in a shooting, correct?
OSTERMAN: She told me that she got a call that said George was involved in a shooting, in handcuffs, and bloody.
BANFIELD: I want to bring something up while we're watching the testimony of Mark Osterman in this courtroom. And I think it's a critical piece of information, even though it's not on the record and not testimony. Many people will tell you that trials are shows. They are shows to the jury and sometimes they are shows to a TV audience. If you watch this witness on the box to my right, you can see that Mark Osterman is sweating a lot. It's not easy to be a witness. Make no mistake, it's a very stressful thing to be a witness on the witness stand.
That said, this is not your average witness. Mark Osterman is a U.S. air marshal and a former Seminole County deputy. He's aware of how to ask and answer questions.
I also want to let you know two other key pieces of information. Number one, it's extremely hot and muggy in Florida today. More so than yesterday. Number two, in this courtroom, our Martin Savidge reports, there's no difference in the temperature from yesterday to today. I bring that up because it's not going unnoticed by viewers and it's not going unnoticed by jurors and those who are watching it.
We'll squeeze in a quick break, come back and listen to the rest of the -- in fact, I want to continue listening in on the testimony as Mark O'Mara continues his cross-examination.
OSTERMAN: Stunned. He immediately attempted to reassure Shelly, who broke down again. She went into hysterics, kind of a breakdown. Went into a sobbing breakdown. And he immediately tried to reassure her. He was OK until -- he was more occupied with her than with anything else. He had a stunned look on his face.
O'MARA: When you say stunned, tell --
OSTERMAN: Wide eyed. Kind of a little bit detached, perhaps from maybe not realizing he had just gone through a traumatic event.
OSTERMAN: It's hard to describe. Very difficult to describe.
O'MARA: Let's talk about -- obviously, as a good friend to him for the five years prior -- four years prior you've known him, correct?
O'MARA: And then tell the jury how he was that night compared to the George Zimmerman you knew most other days.
OSTERMAN: That's what I was using to base my observation on was a more wide-eyed stare. Once he saw Shelly, he focused on making sure she was reassured and letting her know he was OK and he doesn't have anything fatal or anything going onto him, he's all right. She immediately started to observe -- once she got out of her shock at seeing George, she started kind of looking at his injuries. I guess she went into a nurse mode at that point because she was a nursing student.
O'MARA: Again, how is George presenting himself to you?
OSTERMAN: Detached. It's hard to describe.
O'MARA: What is detached from the way he normally is?
O'MARA: When you say detached, what do you mean?
OSTERMAN: I would say probably -- when you feel like you -- it's hard to describe, sir. I would say he was probably in a position where he was not able to process -- he wasn't answering questions. I started asking him some questions about whether he needed to sit down for a little bit right there in the lobby. He didn't. He was just, "I just want to go. I just want to go. I just want to go home," kind of thing. It was very basic. I don't know how to describe detached as in wide eyed and really not processing what was going on.
O'MARA: Did he seem to be non-emotional about what was going on?
OSTERMAN: Coming right off of the elevator -- well, he was tending to Shelly and her sobbing and her crying. He was focused with that. When Shelly transformed from a wife concerned for her husband to being a nurse, that's when he kind of just had a blank stare.
O'MARA: At some point you got in the car, correct?
OSTERMAN: Went to my vehicle, correct.
O'MARA: And then let's talk about the conversations that he did have with you. Give us the setting as to how this conversation that, at some point in the future, you relayed as far as your direct examination, give us the setting for what had happened.
OSTERMAN: We get into my vehicle. Shelly and George got in the backseat. I had a four-door vehicle. They both got into the back seat. Shelly is trying to put an assessment on the injuries that were to George's nose and the back of his head. He had a swelling on the left side of his head. It was about the size of a fist. It was a swollen area, not really a goose egg, not as pronounced as that, but it was a very big swelling area, swollen area. I'm sorry. And with his head being -- his hair being closely cropped like mine you could see it very well. I guess if he had a lot more hair, you would not have been able to see it very well. But she started tending to that. (INAUDIBLE) and such. And when we got -- stating that she needed to get ice on that part of the swelling.
And on the drive home, from the Sanford Police Department to my home, he explained from start to finish. It took about the whole time we went from the police department to my home, he explained what had happened that night. Because that's the first time we had known any details of anything.
O'MARA: Now, as he was explaining it to you was this sort of as a friend recounting to a friend or were you acting in law enforcement mode or friend mode?
OSTERMAN: Well, my wife will tell you, it's hard for me to get out of law enforcement mode sometimes. But I like to analyze everything I hear to make sure that it makes sense. But I would say --
O'MARA: So we start off then, not to belabor too much keeping in mind your direct testimony, but let's start with, he told you he was on his way to Super Target?
O'MARA: Did that seem usual or unusual to you?
OSTERMAN: Every single Sunday, like clock work.
O'MARA: And tell me what he said to you about him first noticing who later became known to all of us as Trayvon Martin.
OSTERMAN: He observed Trayvon walking between two sets of town homes and --