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Zimmerman on Trial; Analysis of Today's Witness Testimonies; Shazam Moments

Aired July 2, 2013 - 12:30   ET


ASHELIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: I'm told that in the courtroom the temperatures are similar.

Go ahead, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 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 temperature in there but whether it's nerves or temperatures still unclear.

BANFIELD: Right. And I think that's important to point out. Unless you've ever sat on a witness stand -- and I'm going to tell you right now, I have in the past -- it's very unnerving, even for lawyers who take the stand and they realize, my gosh, I had no idea what it was like to be on the other side of this. It's a nerve-racking experience.

George, stand down, if you will, for a moment. I want to fit in a quick break. You're not missing a moment of testimony, folks.. There's a break in that courtroom.

The great seal is the image they give us when they take a break and the mikes are dead, but it does give us a moment to not only show you what you may have missed during those commercial breaks, et cetera, but also the critical moments of testimony.

We're back in just a flash to give you all of that and what's ahead, in a moment.


BANFIELD: Welcome back to our continuing live coverage of George Zimmerman on trial for second-degree murder. We're live at the courthouse here in Sanford, Florida.

You're not missing any testimony and, if you did miss this, it's critical, a friend on the stand, in fact, a best friend of George Zimmerman on the stand, the person George Zimmerman was with right after the killing of Trayvon Martin, telling him what went down in his own words, and now that friend telling us the way he had it recounted to him.

And one thing that's so important and the forensics could play in big here is, if George Zimmerman's story is that Trayvon Martin held his nose and his mouth, how is he getting beaten down, MMA-style, at the same time?

Have a listen at the friend describes what George told him.


BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: 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 close while the other hand goes over my mouth?

MARK OSTERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FRIEND: It was described something like this, maybe a pinch. Maybe not like that, but a pinch like that and a cover.

DE LA RIONDA: So in other words, Trayvon Martin is using one hand over his nose and then one over his mouth, correct?

OSTERMAN: Something to that effect.

DE LA RIONDA: The defendant is claiming that he never hit Trayvon Martin at that time, or never just knocked him off of him, right?

OSTERMAN: That was not described to me.


BANFIELD: Want to go live to Faith Jenkins, former prosecutor, now criminal defense attorney, but I want your prosecutor hat on, Faith, big points scored for the prosecution here?

FAITH JENKINS, FORMER CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it's a big point because they're trying to show the implausibility of George Zimmerman's story. In order to get a conviction in this case, Ashleigh, they have to discredit his story. They have to show not only are these just minor inconsistencies, these are outright lies.

When does a person lie? When they're trying to cover up something they did, when they know they did something wrong and it's also a sign of consciousness of guilt.

Here you can see the prosecutor's theme. They're saying George Zimmerman simply embellished this physical encounter he had with Trayvon Martin.

We know there was some contact. We know there was some injury to George Zimmerman, but was it enough? Where the injuries significant enough to justify George Zimmerman turning around and shooting Trayvon Martin?

The prosecutor made a great point there. He's saying, if both Trayvon's hands are on his face, this guy is taking MMA-style classes three times a week, why can't we just throw Trayvon off of him?

BANFIELD: Good point.

Danny Cevallos, take defense table. How do you counter that?

DANNY CEVALLOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: A lot of ways, and here's number one. First, the MMA, that's brought up by a third-party witness. It really shouldn't even be an issue in the case. If he had named any other sport then does that make it relevant if George Zimmerman participated in that?

Secondly, when it comes to self-defense, this is depraved-heart murder. Even if the jury disbelieves the theory of self-defense, the question is whether or not he had evil motive or ill-will or hatred.

The issue of whether or not he held his mouth or he was punching him, we already have a third-party witness, Mr. Good, on Friday who testified that likely it was Trayvon straddling and his arms going down in some kind of downward motion.

If there are discrepancies between whether mouth being held or being punched, I don't know that the jury is going to consider that significant enough to even disprove self-defense. There are going to be inconsistencies. As the inspector said himself, we're not all robots. We can't tell the same story five times in a row.

BANFIELD: I'm glad you suggested we're not all robots because "detached" was another word that came from the stand from the mouth of the best friend.

Coming up after the break, what did "detached" mean? Does it mean this is someone who didn't care he just shot a kid? Does it mean it was someone who maybe can't get his story straight because he's trying to process everything that's just happened?

These are the two arguments. How will they play out? Coming up in a moment.


BANFIELD: Welcome back to our continuing live coverage on CNN of George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial, a trial that has this country transfixed and, believe it or not, countries around the world are tuning in to watch how this plays out for so many reasons other than just the crime itself.

There's no secret that race has played a massive part of why this is so well known, this case. It's no secret that there are many who are for or against the process even happening here in Sanford, Florida.

But no matter what you think about it, it is a case, it is prosecution, there is a victim, and there is a man on trial who could spend many years behind bars if convicted.

I want to take you to that man in his own words. He has not taken the stand. He may never take the stand. George Zimmerman has been watching this case play out from the defense table, and has been watching himself talking, talking at length in interviews and on tape.

Listen as he describes exactly how it is he got on top of Trayvon Martin after shooting him and what he did with Trayvon Martin's arms.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: Somehow I got out from under him when he was hitting me. I don't know what he was hitting me with. I thought he had something in his hands.

So I grabbed his hands when I was on top of him and I spread his hands away from his body because he was still talking. And I was on top of him.


BANFIELD: So George Zimmerman says he got on top of Trayvon Martin after shooting him and thought there might have been something in his hands he had been hit with. He wanted to spread those hands out.

Here's the problem. When Trayvon Martin's body was found, those hands were underneath his body. But don't ask me. Ask the lead detective who actually came upon the scene, Chris Serino. Here is how he described it.


DE LA RIONDA: Do you recall that he then stated that Trayvon Martin somehow fell on the ground, face first. Do you recall that?


DE LA RIONDA: Do you recall the defendant stating he put his arms out, correct?

SERINO: Correct.

DE LA RIONDA: Do you recall him saying that?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Show you state's exhibit 77. Do you recall he took some photographs out there?


DE LA RIONDA: One of them was state's exhibit 77?

SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: May I publish that to the jury?


DE LA RIONDA: You recall the victim's hands being underneath his body? SERINO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Did someone say that was inconsistent that he put his hands out?

SERINO: That positioning, yes.

DE LA RIONDA: In that interview that you conducted or that investigator Singleton conducted, the defendant didn't say, I put his hands out and then after I put his hands out, I put them back in, did he?

SERINO: No, he did not.


BANFIELD: Yeah, Someone's got some explaining to do.

Mark Nejame, veteran criminal defense attorney in Florida, I say, point to the prosecution on this one, unless there's a lot more I have to learn about how Trayvon Martin's hands, after being shot, went back under his body.

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And that's exactly what the prosecutor's attempting to do is bring out inconsistencies and discrepancies to show that George Zimmerman's not been truthful.

However, there's a big point for the defense on that, and that is that it does at least say that George Zimmerman was atop Trayvon Martin, which become consistent with all the other neighbors who say that when they looked out, they say him on top.

So it's points to both.

BANFIELD: But if you're Mark O'Mara, under cross-examination, aren't you trying to elicit how those hands got back under the body?

NEJAME: A major issue that the defense has to explain.

BANFIELD: It hasn't been done. Did I miss it?

NEJAME: There are no other witnesses right now who have been able to say how those hands got underneath. And if you looked at Trayvon Martin's father in the courtroom, that was the most expressive I've seen him throughout this. He rolled his eyes and shook his head downward. He knows that that -- he believes that that is simply not true.

BANFIELD: Hey, little known secret here -- if the two of us did that in court, we could be thrown out. There's a sign as you're going into court, as you go through the magnetometer, saying we will not tolerate facial expressions or noises in reaction to what you hear play in court.

You talk about family members? I think they get a little slack on that. And it wasn't very overt, but you could certainly see the emotion playing on his face.

I have to squeeze in a quick break, but coming up, just what exactly we were talking about. Is there something else to come? Is there some other evidence, some other witness, some other forensics to explain how did Trayvon Martin's hands get back underneath his body if what George Zimmerman is saying is true?

Back after this.


BANFIELD: Live, continue coverage on CNN of the Trayvon Martin almost versus George Zimmerman case. It is George Zimmerman who's facing second-degree murder charges in this courtroom. You're not missing any testimony. They're in a break in that courtroom. In fact, it's the great seal. It's the indication to the rest of the press, cameras off, mics off. We're in a break. But it gives us a great opportunity to show you what you may have missed.

There was a key piece of testimony that happened just before those cameras trained on the great seal of the state of Florida and it was the best friend, a self-described best friend of George Zimmerman who spent all those hours after the killing of Trayvon Martin with George Zimmerman hearing the entire account from the accused. Hearing what he did, what he said, how he felt, how he looked. In fact, the injuries didn't need to speak. He saw those injuries for himself. And Mark Osterman just described those injuries in court. What he said his best friend George Zimmerman looked like just hours after the attack. Have a listen.


OSTERMAN: We get into my vehicle. Both Shelly and George got into the back seat. I had a four-door vehicle. They both got in the back seat and Shelly is trying to put an assessment on the injuries that were to George's nose, the back of his head. And he had a - he had a swelling on his left side of his head. It was - it was about the size of your fist. It was a swollen area. Not really a goose egg. Not as pronounced as that, but it was -- it was a - it was a very big, swelling area.


BANFIELD: Back with me live here in Sanford, Florida, at the Criminal Justice Center in Seminole County is Mark Nejame. He's a veteran criminal defense attorney here in Florida. He's been watching this case since it began last February.

When you hear that testimony and when you see those pictures that the jurors all have - by the way, they blew them up this big and then they showed them all around court and described them and left them there for the jurors to see, those injured bruises and black eyes and injuries on the back of George Zimmerman's head.

It's not lost that there is a guy who did get beaten up. Not matter what, he got beaten up that night. And you can see on the evidence, these are right after the actual incident itself. His nose is bloody and swollen. The black eyes came the next day. The butterfly bandages on the back of the head came the next day. So you know that there was a fight. But then there's the affectation of this defendant. His friend has called him "detached." Does "detached" play well for the prosecutor or does "detached" somehow play well for the defense?

NEJAME: They're both going to spin it to their benefit.


NEJAME: And that's just the way it plays. The depraved mind, the evil motive, the uncaring. That's what -


NEJAME: That's what - exactly what the state is going to attempt to bring out. The defense, on the other hand, is simply going to say he was stunned. It's not reasonable that somebody who's involved in that, in a shooting, and almost believing, according to their testimony, they were almost killed or they believe they were going to get killed.

BANFIELD: Well, he had his head beat in, you know?

NEJAME: Yes, well they - but the standard is that he's got to have a reasonable belief that he was fearing death or imminent injury that was going to be so substantial. So that's the standard. So he's got to go in there and say, look, I was involved in this horrific situation. Of course I can't remember everything chapter and verse. I can only remember the main parts and that's what I did.

BANFIELD: So you're saying - you're saying that the "detached" or the tunnel vision or however many different adjectives they want to ascribe to this, could actually explain for any of these discrepancies? And, again, they're minor discrepancies but there are several of them. And I usually say strength in numbers. Is that how the defense would take this? Look, detached, yes, have you ever killed a guy? I think they actually asked Chris Serino that, have you ever killed a guy?

NEJAME: That was - that was the point.

BANFIELD: And Chris Serino, you know, a veteran detective, said, no, never used my service revolver and killed a guy.

NEJAME: And that's why the defense was asking his best friend, Osterman, on the stand, does somebody, who's a former police officer or sheriff's deputy -


NEJAME: Said, does everybody remember everything? And he actually said, no. in fact, almost never do they remember everything. They focus on the key parts and then the rest of it unfolds later.

BANFIELD: But, boy oh boy, when I heard "detached," -

NEJAME: But that was his best friend. BANFIELD: When I heard "detached," -

NEJAME: Remember, that's his best friend.

BANFIELD: I thought, oh, second-degree murder. Don't you have to have some kind of malice in there? And if you're detached after killing a teenager, that could really speak well to the prosecutor.

NEJAME: But, remember, you're always going to -- no matter what you do, if you cry -


NEJAME: If you laugh, if you scream, if you jump up and down, if you're silent, there's always a spin because, why? Everybody's different.

BANFIELD: Everybody -- oh, boy, are they. I've seen - I've seen people mourn by partying, honestly.

NEJAME: Everybody's different.

BANFIELD: Everybody mourns differently. Everybody behaves differently.

Trial is coming back. So we've got our live eye on the courtroom. And you're not going to miss a moment of it. Just as soon as they start back up on that witness stand swearing in their next witness -- P.S.m they're not telling us who the next witnesses are. Usually we get this nice, big witness list. This time we get to stare at the great seal and wonder who's going to be next. In fact, we weren't even aware that Osterman was going to be taking the stand today and, shazam, there he was. So it's always a big surprise and a bit of a mystery as to just exactly what the state strategy is. So you're going to find out along with us just as soon as it happens. So don't go away. It's going to resume soon.

In the meantime, something big that's coming. Make no mistake and rest assured, forensics. It's CSI, folks. CSI Sanford that's going to play out in this courtroom because the forensic will tell the story of the trajectory of the bullet and whether it is possible or plausible what George Zimmerman says is at all true, coming up next.


BANFIELD: Welcome back to the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center. I'm Ashleigh Banfield live in what can only be described as the hottest and muggiest day in Florida that I've witnessed in a long time. I feel like I'm in the central amazon. There could be a hippopotamus in the backdrop any moment.

Let me tell you something. If the jurors are on a lunch break, they're not coming outside. It is thundering. It's raining. The weather is inclement. It's been like this most midday throughout this hot and muggy now July trial.

But what's critical here is the lightning that's going on inside that courtroom. I want to go and do a whip around to my group who's analyzing this trial with me and watching this gavel to gavel. For starters, Danny Cevallos, I'm going to ask you, if you look ahead to the next hour, what's the next shazam (ph) moment? What's going to hit me over the head and make me think, I didn't see that coming?

CEVALLOS: Hmm, it sounds like something I don't see coming either. Since we don't know who the witnesses are next, I don't know that we're going to get into forensics yet. I got to tell you, I think we're going to probably see the prosecution try to put on a little more fact evidence. But at this point it's hard to say. For some reason they've kept us in the dark. So I'll be really curious to see who they call next. But in terms of fact, not forensics, the prosecution has to be coming close to the end.

BANFIELD: OK. Twenty seconds, Faith Jenkins, what's the shazam moment to come?

JENKINS: They have to put on forensics here. They have to put on an examiner that's going to testify about what DNA, blood, in any, were on Trayvon's hands, where that evidence would be. Also, the trajectory of the bullet and how Trayvon - where the bullet went when he was struck by that bullet. So it's going to be very interesting testimony, but that's going to be key and essential for the prosecutor's case here.

BANFIELD: OK, Mark Nejame, you've tried a few cases in this state. You tell me what's coming. What am I going to be surprised to see?

NEJAME: You know, this prosecutor, I've got to tell you, he keeps on pulling rabbits out of somewhere. I'll call it a hat. The fact is, is that, you know, he ran a timeline. Now he's really working on that depravity issue. He knew that he had issues with it. So if he has any other witnesses that can show malice, depravity of mind, anything along those lines, that's what is going to come next, because he's building that portion of his case. If, in fact, there is nobody else, then I think it's time to start getting into the forensic.

BANFIELD: I am all about the forensics. I'm going to be the first to tell you, I watch "CSI," I watch live trials to find out just exactly what the molecular smoking gun tells me. That said, guess who handles the molecular smoking gun? People. And we are fallible, folks.

Hey, thanks for watching, everybody, as we continue to keep our live eye on this trial. You're not going to miss a moment of the live testimony because we've got our live cameras, we've got a crew inside the courtroom, we've got several crews outside the courtroom and we are watching that seal to see when that shot widens out to a full shot to see who the next person whose going to walk through that door is, because that's the way we find out. The mystery continues.

The live coverage of the Zimmerman case from here in Sanford, Florida, continues. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. We'll see you soon.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: George Zimmerman's best friend takes the stand in the second-degree murder trial. We're bringing you the up to the minute developments and live testimony from the trial.