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Zimmerman on Trial; Live Coverage and Testimony Analysis
Aired July 2, 2013 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: And tell me what he said to you about him first noticing who later became known to all of us as Trayvon Martin.
MARK OSTERMAN, ZIMMERMAN'S BEST FRIEND: He observed Trayvon walking between two sets of town homes and looking into, I believe there was a window to one where the light was on and you could see that someone was looking into the window of a town home. And it was about that time that Trayvon and George made eye contact with each other and both aware of the other's presence.
O'MARA: OK. And in that initial contact, did he seem to you as though he was angry or anything like that with who this person was?
OSTERMAN: No. No. George - George said that he wanted to make sure that he just got with non-emergency dispatch and had them send a police officer.
O'MARA: And he told you he did that?
O'MARA: OK. And, of course, you know from your conversation with George, that that entire conversation was recorded, correct?
OSTERMAN: Yes, I do.
O'MARA: And from your conversation with George, both about this night and other nights, George certainly knows - George Zimmerman certainly knows that those phone calls are recorded, correct?
O'MARA: So tell me then again, he's explaining to you that Trayvon Martin is now walking up and sort of near his vehicle at some point?
OSTERMAN: Correct. Came walking from between the town homes down to where the sidewalk or the road area was.
O'MARA: And are you taking any notes at this point, or are you just listening to him download (ph) it?
OSTERMAN: I'm driving.
O'MARA: OK. So at some point it became apparent to you that Mr. Zimmerman had stopped his car by the clubhouse, correct? OSTERMAN: Yes, he did.
O'MARA: And that Trayvon Martin then came up towards his car, even looked in a window or walked partially around it?
OSTERMAN: Very close. Walked around it very close. They made eye contact several more times. Very aware of each other's presence.
O'MARA: During this point, this sort of second eye contact, did George Zimmerman relate to you in any way that he was angry or -
O'MARA: Anything about Trayvon Martin or this person who was there?
OSTERMAN: No, not at all.
O'MARA: And he further told you that he was still on the phone, of course, with non-emergency, right?
OSTERMAN: He remained on, correct.
O'MARA: So then we move forward to I think you said that George Zimmerman did what he thought he should to keep Trayvon Martin in sight?
O'MARA: Is that pretty much the way -- tell me how he related that part to you, as best you can recall.
OSTERMAN: Well, he said that he had heard from the Sanford Police officers that showed up to the clubhouse to give instruction to neighborhood watch people was to always try to keep whatever subject that you're observing in sight. It makes it much easier for a law enforcement officer to show up and make conduct with the subject if you're on phone with dispatch during the whole process and you can actually see the subject.
O'MARA: Did he relate to you that the non-emergency dispatcher had actually told him on a couple of occasion, tell me what he's doing now or let me know if he's doing anything else?
OSTERMAN: He told me what he was doing. He didn't tell me that the dispatcher had said certain things.
O'MARA: OK. So basically George Zimmerman, as he's telling you this story, is recounting to you actions, correction -- correct?
OSTERMAN: Yes, sir. Yes.
O'MARA: Not necessarily, I did this because of this reason, or I did this and sort of super imposing the conversation he's having with non- emergency onto your conversations?
OSTERMAN: No. Not at that time, no. O'MARA: OK. He was just saying basically a rendition of what was going on?
O'MARA: And just so the jury is clear, about how long was this conversation between George Zimmerman and you during this car ride?
OSTERMAN: The drive from the Sanford Police Department to near the intersection and Reinhart (ph) Road and Lake Mary Boulevard, which would have been about 14 minutes, 15 minutes.
O'MARA: And during that time were other things being discussed as well, like whatever Shelly (ph) was doing with him?
OSTERMAN: She didn't interject at all.
O'MARA: OK. So during this conversation you then -- he's telling you that he's trying to keep an eye on Trayvon Martin -
O'MARA: However he can, right (ph)?
OSTERMAN: That was his intent -
OSTERMAN: Was to keep him under observation.
O'MARA: And at some point - well tell me then, at some point did he say to you that I couldn't see him any longer or that he'd lost sight of him?
OSTERMAN: That is what he -- that's one of the reasons why he got out of the vehicle.
O'MARA: And tell me how he related that to you.
OSTERMAN: He said he went in between the sets of town homes down the dog path, a walking path.
O'MARA: When you say he, you mean Trayvon Martin?
OSTERMAN: Trayvon. Right. He lost contact in the darkness in between the town homes on that 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 - street numbers so you can find your place exactly.
OSTERMAN: So that's what he was looking for. O'MARA: George Zimmerman never told you during the entire - of this conversation that George Zimmerman ever went down the dog path, correct?
OSTERMAN: He did. He left his vehicle and he --
O'MARA: Walked down the path.
OSTERMAN: Walked down the path, correct.
O'MARA: Do you know this area that we're talking about?
OSTERMAN: I do.
O'MARA: OK. And you know the - there's a path that goes straight through to Retreat (ph) View (ph) Circle (ph) -
O'MARA: And then a right turn that goes off to the right?
OSTERMAN: A t, correct.
O'MARA: A t.
O'MARA: And he had said to you that Trayvon Martin went down the t, correct?
OSTERMAN: Perhaps, yes. That's what he believes -
O'MARA: Well (ph) -
OSTERMAN: Because the street beyond was lit better than the dog path was. So if Trayvon had gone all the way to Retreat View Circle, he would have seen him or his shadow perhaps. Because he lost sight of him around the time where the t was, he just -- he said, I believe he made his turn down that dark dog path area that was not very well lit at all.
O'MARA: And tell us the path, if you recall, that George Zimmerman told you he took as he was on the phone.
OSTERMAN: He said he went straight to go through since he lost contact. He went -- wanted to go straight through to get a house number of one of the --
O'MARA: Straight through - straight on the path?
OSTERMAN: Straight through - straight through, not take the right to go down on the t, just to go straight through and find a - find some kind of a house number because you want to make sure you get the exact house number because there was a lot of units there on Retreat View Circle. The exact house number would have brought the police officer faster. I believe that's what his intent was. O'MARA: And he told you that he was on his way back when the altercation began, correct?
O'MARA: And that -- they said whatever they said to each other, as you testified to.
Just to fast forward, I think you said that you weren't taking notes during that event, correct?
OSTERMAN: I was driving, correct.
O'MARA: Have you ever talked to George again about the facts of this case or was that the only time?
OSTERMAN: One other time I heard him relay the incident.
O'MARA: And when was that?
OSTERMAN: The next morning.
O'MARA: OK. And we'll talk about that in a moment.
O'MARA: During the event in the car, when he said things like, do you have a problem? You do now or no I don't, are those as best you can recall the words that George told you he remembered from the night before?
OSTERMAN: That is correct.
O'MARA: And talking about the actual mounting when he said that Trayvon Martin had mounted him, I think you said that at one point he was straddling and the knees may have been up as high as the armpits, is that correct?
OSTERMAN: Could have been the rib area. Could have been as high as the armpits.
O'MARA: Well, no, no, I'm just asking you -
O'MARA: Because what I would like to do is have you tell the jury, without presuming or suggesting ribs, armpits, hips, knees -
O'MARA: Whatever it might be, for right now just recount as best you recall what George remembered of the event and what he told you.
OSTERMAN: Well, I guess while -- during the struggle I guess the position of his knees and legs would probably change with George squirming. So at one point I believe they were around his ribs with George trying to squirm off of the sidewalk and on to the grass. I guess his knees came up a little higher and that's very possible, or the other way around to where it was, as he's squirming, once they get closer to the grass, in a fight, I guess, or in a scrap like that, it began at least here with the ribs, with the knee jerk somewhere in the ribs area.
O'MARA: Was he consistent, however, that it was Trayvon who mounted on top of him?
OSTERMAN: If it was Trayvon that did it (ph)?
O'MARA: Was it - yes.
OSTERMAN: Oh, absolutely.
O'MARA: And was he consistent that it was he, meaning George Zimmerman, who was screaming for help?
OSTERMAN: Without question.
O'MARA: And he did tell you at some point that there was some hand over the nose, hand over the mouth event?
OSTERMAN: Correct. But it was raining and it was slippery, I'm sure.
O'MARA: Did he tell you how long that portion of the overall altercation lasted?
OSTERMAN: Twenty seconds maybe. Fifteen, twenty, thirty seconds.
O'MARA: Did he -
OSTERMAN: He didn't mention it.
O'MARA: Well, again, I don't want any (INAUDIBLE) -
OSTERMAN: No, he didn't mention it. He did not say how long.
O'MARA: OK. Did that, however, as he related it to you, seem to be significant as it was occurring to him, that he could breathe for whatever length of time?
OSTERMAN: It was critical.
O'MARA: And that he had -- somebody had a hand, Trayvon Martin, on the nose that had already suffered the previous injury?
O'MARA: And as he was relating that to you, was that sort of a - a real focus of his?
OSTERMAN: That was - that was the focus. That when he was losing oxygen, he felt he was - he was not able to breath, and that's why he was desperate to either (ph) clear an airway.
O'MARA: And in your experience as law enforcement, would you agree that that's sort of a natural reaction to traumatic events?
OSTERMAN: I would think so, every time I've seen it.
O'MARA: And do people involved in traumatic events like that sometimes focus on particular parts of it?
OSTERMAN: Almost exclusively to the admission of others.
O'MARA: For example, a car accidents you might focus on the speed of the car coming at you and completely forget about other cars around you?
O'MARA: Is that unnatural in your experience as law enforcement that that's --
OSTERMAN: No, it's typical.
O'MARA: So when you hear, when you go to a scene of an accident or a shooting or just anything that you investigate, do you find, in your experience, that people often have sort of tunnel vision views of what happened to them?
OSTERMAN: Sometimes very specific, correct.
O'MARA: Does that mean that they're lying to you when they do that?
OSTERMAN: Not at all.
O'MARA: Why not?
OSTERMAN: That's - well, it's been proven that that is typical. Sometimes they'll focus on one event to the exclusion of others.
O'MARA: How about their ability to just recount events with any particular clarity at all?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to object, it's beyond the scope of (INAUDIBLE)?
JUDGE DEBRA NELSON: Sustained.
O'MARA: And then we talk -- you testified concerned this whole event around the gun. Did you have a similar concern as to Mr. Zimmerman's ability to recount those events to you?
O'MARA: OK. Tell me what he did say about having to grab his gun.
OSTERMAN: He said that Trayvon had reached down and grabbed for the gun, whether it was on the leather holster or on the actual metal part itself. At the time, I didn't - I didn't see a difference. I just thought that the intent was clear. And that's when he had to -- he had - he freed one of his hands and went and got the gun. He either broke the - he'd have broke contact or knocked - knocked somebody else's hand away, or - no, Trayvon's hand away from him reaching for the gun or grabbing the gun and then he drew it.
O'MARA: Do you recall if he even told you that Trayvon Martin had touched the gun or he just said he was reaching for it?
OSTERMAN: I thought he had said he had grabbed the gun. I've only heard the story twice. And whether it was grabbed the gun, grabbed for the gun, I just -- perhaps it was just an intent. But I believed he said he grabbed the gun.
O'MARA: So - and then he told you the rest of the story as you've relayed it, correct?
OSTERMAN: Yes, sir.
O'MARA: About Trayvon Martin sort of saying something to him. Did that seem unusual to you that someone shot can still say something?
OSTERMAN: Yes. Oh, no, that's -- that's very, very common unless - unless you're shot in let's say the wind pipe, in the vocal cords, you would be able to talk for maybe 16 seconds.
O'MARA: Nonetheless, that George Zimmerman said that he had gotten off and actually held his hands out away from his body?
OSTERMAN: He had gotten off of - he had gotten off of George, laid down on the grass and George had jumped on top of him to pin his hands down and to, again, try to solicit some help from people that are around.
O'MARA: And yet one he let the hands go, Trayvon Martin may have brought them back under him. Is that the way it was presented to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, speculation. (INAUDIBLE).
OSTERMAN: Yes, no.
O'MARA: Did he even talk to -- did George Zimmerman even know to talk to you about the fact that Trayvon Martin's hands were found back under his body?
OSTERMAN: I did not know that fact.
O'MARA: OK. So he didn't seem to feel any need to explain that away to you, correct?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection.
O'MARA: So now let's talk about your recounting this - well, you said that you heard a story again the next day.
OSTERMAN: The next morning.
O'MARA: Any differences in what we talked about so far?
O'MARA: OK. And who was that discussed with or in front of?
OSTERMAN: My wife and his wife, Shelly.
O'MARA: And was it different in any context when it was being discussed then?
OSTERMAN: It was -- George looked different. He was not as wide-eyed and he did not appear to be as in shock the next morning.
O'MARA: Now, let's fast forward. How many months until you decide to recount this in a book form?
OSTERMAN: I may have to look. At least four months.
O'MARA: OK. Did you have any conversation with Mr. Zimmerman to corroborate that what you recalled happened or what you recall him telling you happened was, in fact, accurate?
OSTERMAN: We were not able to contact each other after he was arrested the first time. So there was no contact.
O'MARA: All right. And - so you haven't talked to him -- you haven't shown him, for example, a draft of the book and say, I remember you saying this and him saying, no, I said this instead?
OSTERMAN: There was no -- no corroboration to that, no.
O'MARA: Yes. This is your memory.
(END LIVE FEED)
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: We are live back in Sanford, Florida, George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial as it's playing out on television and live for you to witness as each witness takes the stand.
Currently on the stand, now under re-direct examination, the prosecutor's just stood up again to continue his direct examination after a cross, is a friend, Mark Osterman, self-described best friend of George Zimmerman, and in fact, the man with whom George Zimmerman spent many hours after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, hiding away from the press, telling Mark his story, telling him what happened that night, telling him how it unfolded.
Now he's up on the stand telling us what George told him. Let's listen.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED) BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: Well, I think you've actually ...
OSTERMAN: Grabbed, right. Whether, it was -- I guess we were going over whether he grabbed the holster part or the gun, I didn't see a difference in the two, but grabbed.
DE LA RIONDA: He grabbed the gun? He didn't.0
OSTERMAN: 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.
OSTERMAN: That's what I heard. That's what thought I heard. Yes.
DE LA RIONDA: All right. OK.
And then he told you, I thought I shot wide, but he might get up, so I put my gun in my holster.
DE LA RIONDA: Then he said he put the phone in his pocket, turned around to head back and the guy was right there about 15 feet, walking towards him?
DE LA RIONDA: Thank you, sir.
OSTERMAN: Thank you.
O'MARA: (Inaudible) question and response.
As to the re-holstering of the weapon, do you recall if he told you that it was re-holstered as he got up, or if he had it in his hand when he was holding Trayvon Martin's hands down or even at some point shortly thereafter?
OSTERMAN: He may have had it. He may have had it in still his hand as he jumped on top of Trayvon and perhaps holstered when he saw a flashlight. I don't remember, specifically, when exactly he holstered his firearm.
O'MARA: Thank you. Nothing further, your honor.
NELSON: Any further redirect?
DE LA RIONDA: (Inaudible) that he holstered his firearm?
OSTERMAN: He holstered his firearm at some point. Exactly when, I'm not 100 percent sure whether it was when he got up from -- whether he stood up and reholstered, or whether he holstered while still partially on top.
DE LA RIONDA: Right. You want to look at your book a minute, page 29 at the bottom?
Did you quote him as saying, in fact, "I thought he might try to get up again, so after putting my gun in my holster, I jumped on top of him and pinned his wrists to the ground."
DE LA RIONDA: Yeah, is that accurate?
OSTERMAN: As far as I remember that he holstered, yeah, at that point, now I remembers that -- I remember that he holstered, pinned his hands down.
It's what I -- I remembered him saying something like that.
DE LA RIONDA: Thank you, sir.
NELSON: Thank you. May Mr. Osterman be excused?
OK, thank you. You're excused from the courtroom, but you're subject to being recalled. OK, thank you very much.
Ladies and gentlemen, we'll go ahead and take a recess for lunch. Before you go to lunch, I'm going to advise you that during lunch you're not to discuss the case amongst yourselves or with anybody else. You're not to read or listen to any radio, television or newspaper reports about the case. You're not to go on the Internet by using any type of an electronic device to do independent research about the case, people, places, things or a terminology. And, finally, you're not to read or create any e-mails, text messages, twitters, tweets, blogs or social networking pages about the case.
Do I have your assurances that you'll abide by these instructions?
OK, thank you. And with that, put your notepads face down and follow Deputy Jarvis into the jury room.
(END LIVE FEED)
BANFIELD: And as George Zimmerman now takes a moment to confer with his attorney in the quiet confines of defense table, you can hear, but you'll never see those jurors stand up, push their chairs. They have big legal notepads, actually the same size legal note pad as I have here. This is what they have on their laps, and they can't take them back with them. They have to leave them on their chairs in the courtroom.
Some courtrooms they're not ever allowed to take them away again. They get destroyed. In fact, most cases, those notes will ultimately end up getting destroyed. And we're going to go to the picture of the great seal. I love the great seal. It's great. Now here's the issue. This is a best friend, a self-described best friend of George Zimmerman. In fact, he wrote an actual book titled, "Defending Our Friend, The Most Hated Man in America." He was the person with whom George Zimmerman spent all of this time after the killing of Trayvon Martin, recounting what happened in those fateful moments, and after those fateful moments. And he's on the stand now, recounting for us what happened, but there are discrepancies, and that's why you're seeing an examination, a cross, a redirect, a recross, a re-redirect. That's why it's so specific.
When we come back after the break, what points were scored, what points were lost, why that particular witness matter, and maybe most importantly, what's coming next? We're back in a moment.
BANFIELD: Welcome back to our continuing live coverage in Sanford, Florida. "Zimmerman On Trial: is the official name of the coverage and the reality is it's George Zimmerman and it's second-degree. And the victim in this case is Trayvon Martin, and he's not there. He's represented by his parents.
George Zimmerman's parents aren't in the courtroom. They aren't allowed to be because they could end up being witnesses, coming up. Will they be important witnesses? Are there more critical witnesses to come? There are some really crucial witnesses to come. We're not even at the technical forensics yet, and wait for the fireworks on forensics because there may be some real elucidation on what's going to go on when it comes to that.
In the meantime, I want to bring in some of my special guests who have been watching this gavel-to-gavel. They can hear stuff during commercial break and they know a thing about the law and, particularly, Florida law.
With me is Mark Nejame, who is a criminal defense attorney for many, many years in this jurisdiction, also, very familiar with the players in the case, has spoken directly with some of the players in this case. He joins me live here in the studio, right out in front of the Seminole County courthouse here.
And then also with me is Danny Cevallos who has been helping me to analyze this case as well, a criminal defense attorney who's very helpful in getting to the nitty-gritty of it all. George Howell is a correspondent who got that unfortunate assignment in a very hot and muggy Florida on rainy days and thunderous days, and it is one of those days today, George Howell.
I'm going to get you to do your very level best to put into perspective this last witness, Mark Osterman, a best friend and what he had to say and why it was critical.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ashleigh, when you talk about Mark Osterman, you're talking about the person who spent several hours, several with George Zimmerman immediately after the shooting. And you also get some insight into Zimmerman's demeanor. You also get insight into his wife's demeanor.
Osterman describes Zimmerman as being stunned and somehow detached. I want you to listen to just a bit of what he said in court so you can hear for yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'MARA: How was George presenting himself to you?
OSTERMAN: Detached. It's hard to describe.
O'MARA: Well, is detached different from the way he normally is?
O'MARA: So when you say detached, what do you mean?
OSTERMAN: I would say probably -- when you feel like you've -- it's hard to describe, sir. I would say he was probably in a position where he was not able to process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: So that is the night that Osterman says Zimmerman told him what exactly what happened that night, and Osterman even made the point that a lot of what's in that book is all through his memory, what he remembers Zimmerman telling him. So he didn't take notes on that night.
Ashleigh, I also want to also talk about Osterman's account of what happened. Very quickly, he basically says that George Zimmerman was walking back to his car, was reaching for his phone to contact 911. That's when he says, according to Zimmerman, that Trayvon Martin ambushed him, punched him in the face. That's when Zimmerman fell to the ground.
He says that Trayvon Martin put one hand over Zimmerman's mouth, one hand over nose to basically stop him from screaming and that's when he says also Trayvon Martin was throwing punches and then started to reach for that gun.
So you're finding that the prosecutors and defense attorneys really are looking at exactly what is said in that book and comparing it to statements given through audio statements and video statements by George Zimmerman.
BANFIELD: So it's those discrepancies, George Howell, that the prosecutor is trying, one by one, to point out, however subtle. Sometimes there's strength in numbers. And, by the way, I don't think the viewers can hear it, George, but the thunder claps are going overhead in Florida. It's a very rainy and thundery day here, and it's more humid today than it has been in the past.
And I only bring that up, George, because I think you were watching at the same time I was. That last witness was sweating profusely on the stand. I'm told that in the courtroom the temperatures are similar. Go ahead, George.
HOWELL: Ashleigh, one point, and it could very well be nerves, we know that we've even spoken to Mr. Osterman. Our correspondent David Mattingly has spoken to him once before, and he was sweating in that situation.
So perhaps it could be nerves, or it could be the temperature in there. It is hot outside. I've been in the courtroom as well. You know, it's a pretty good ...