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Zimmerman Murder Trial In Recess; Zimmerman TV Interview Shown in Court; Deen Invokes Prop 8 Decision in Lawsuit Defense

Aired July 2, 2013 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right, Jake, thanks very much. Happening now, we're following the breaking news. The Zimmerman murder trial, it is now in recess after a day of key testimonies that included the chief medical examiner's claims that the head wounds he sustained were not serious, but didn't testimony actually wind up helping the defense?

Also, George Zimmerman's best friend on the stand today, but the jurors actually saw him sweating. What happened?

And one deadline passes, another one looming right now for the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, to meet the demands of the people as the crisis worsens, the death toll climbs inside a key U.S. ally.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER (on-camera): Let's continue the breaking news. The Zimmerman murder trial has just recessed for the day, leaving even more questions about the prosecution's strategy in presenting their case. Many of the witnesses called to testify today, as in days past, seem like they could be actually favorable for the defense, not the prosecution.

Among them, a chief medical examiner in the state of Florida, George Zimmerman's best friend, and the lead investigator in the case. CNN's Martin Savidge was inside the courtroom for all of this testimony as it went down. He's joining us now. All right. Set the scene for us. It was another dramatic day, day seven of this murder trial. Give us some of the major points.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There were a number of them actually, Wolf, and a lot of interesting testimony once again. One of the last people to get up and take the stand was Dr. Valerie Rao (ph). She is a medical examiner.

Now, what was interesting about her testimony was that, usually when you hear M.E. and taking the stand, you figure that that person is going to be talking about a body, going to be talking about an autopsy, going to talk about maybe Trayvon Martin and what could be learned from anything on his body. She did not.

Instead, she went into great lengths talking about someone who's very much alive, that's the defendant, George Zimmerman, and about the injuries that he suffered as a result of the altercation that he had with Trayvon Martin on that fateful night. Specifically, what she was getting to was that she said she did not find his injuries to be significant.

In fact, you know, she talked about the wounds to the back of his head and said that it did not appear that his head had been repeatedly slammed to the ground, which is a key part of the defense because they say that's why George Zimmerman had to shoot the team. He thought he was going to lose his life. Here's some of the exchange in court today.


MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: You said earlier that those injuries could be consistent with one shot.


O'MARA: And now, I think you may have said it could be consistent with two shots.

RAO: If the way it's depicted like you have depicted, yes.

O'MARA: Just so we're clear, you don't know how Mr. Zimmerman was hit by Mr. Martin, correct?

RAO: Correct.

O'MARA: So, you're saying it's consistent with one, potentially, yes?

RAO: Yes.

O'MARA: And it also is consistent with two, correct?

RAO: With the way it was portrayed, yes.

O'MARA: Which you don't know.

RAO: Correct.

O'MARA: So, could you just say is it consistent with two as well?

RAO: It could be, yes.


SAVIDGE: Defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, getting the witness there to sort of walk back from some of the conclusions that she made at the beginning which was that it looked like maybe his head had been pushed to the ground once. You began to see that her story sort of here (ph) somewhat.

Then, we had another person to take the stand. That's Mark Osterman (ph). He is, by his own admission, George Zimmerman's best friend. And Osterman is an interesting character in all of this. He is a member of federal law enforcement. He is also the person who advised George Zimmerman to buy a gun and he is the person who, at one point, housed George and Shellie Zimmerman at the very beginning of the whole controversy.

And the issue that's talked about on the stand is the gun, who was reaching for the gun. He recounts what George Zimmerman told him. He actually wrote about it in a book in which he says that Trayvon Martin was reaching for George's gun on his hip and actually got a hand on it. Listen to that exchange.


BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Trayvon Martin went for the gun, correct?


DE LA RIONDA: OK. And I think you quoted him as saying he took his hand that was covering my nose and went for the gun saying something at that point, correct?


DE LA RIONDA: He said -- what words did he utter?

OSTERMAN: He said "you're going to die" and he used the MF term again. I'm sorry I don't like to curse in front of ladies.

DE LA RIONDA: And for the record, he used the word "you're going to die now (expletive deleted)", correct?

OSTERMAN: That is correct.

DE LA RIONDA: And then, I think you got the defendant quoted as saying, "Somehow, I broke his grip on the gun when the guy grabbed it between the rear sight and the hammer," correct.

OSTERMAN: Could have been leather, could have been the gun.

DE LA RIONDA: Well, I think he quoted him on page 29, and refresh your memory if you need to --

OSTERMAN: Correct.

DE LA RIONDA: -- as under quotations, "Somehow, I broke his grip on the gun when the guy grabbed it between the rear sight and the hammer." So --

OSTERMAN: That's where the leather strap is, though. That's what holds the gun in.

DE LA RIONDA: So he's -- the defendant is claiming that the victim actually grabbed the gun, grabbed the --

OSTERMAN: That was my understanding that he grabbed the gun.


SAVIDGE: There's a reason the prosecution kept going over specifically about that, because George is saying that Trayvon reached for the gun, actually, grabbed the gun. The prosecution is saying that there was no DNA evidence and no fingerprints that were found on that weapon, thereby, George Zimmerman is not telling the truth and that is what the prosecution has consistently tried to show with his inconsistencies of retelling of events.

BLITZER: You know, it's interesting. I wonder if we're making too much of it, not enough of it. You were in the courtroom, Martin. If it was very, very hot, I know it's very hot outside, but we did see Mark Osterman repeatedly wipe the sweat off of his brow. And I wonder it was unusually hot in there today? Because, sometimes, when people see somebody sweating like that, they wonder what's going on.

SAVIDGE: Right. I think there is a lot of interpreting of that, but the courtroom at that time was comfortable. I mean, there were people wearing sweaters. There were other people wearing coat jackets. So, it was not exceedingly hot. No different than any other today. It was just quite clear that the witness on the stand at that time was sweating profusely, whether that is natural for him.

There's also a lot of nerves. I mean, let's face it. It's being televised across the country and a lot of focus. So, I'm not about to begin to guess why. It just happened.

BLITZER: Yes. Sometimes, you just start sweating. Thanks very much for that. Martin, we'll get back to you.

Let's dig a little bit deeper right now. Joining us to talk about what we heard, especially from that medical examiner who was on the stand, the former Broward County Florida medical examiner, Dr. Joshua Perper, is joining us. He was the medical examiner in the 2007 death of Anna Nicole Smith.

Also joining us, our legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin and Mark Nejame, as well as the former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, Marcia Clark. She was the prosecutor in The O.J. Simpson murder trial. She's also the author of a new novel entitled "Killer Ambition."

Dr. Perper, let me start with you and play a little bit more of what we heard from Valerie Rao, the medical examiner, who took a look at both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Let me play the full context of what she said, and then, we'll discuss.


O'MARA: It's your position that there are at least three impacts between that head and cement?

RAO: Yes.


RAO: Concrete. O'MARA: Concrete. However, and you said it sort of consistent, so I'm going to walk you through some of that. I'm not going to use pictures right now. Let's just chat a little bit about it, OK? I think you used the suggestion that if you hit yourself in the nose, that it could be all one shot, correct?

RAO: One blow, correct.

O'MARA: You're not suggesting that it was only one blow, correct?

RAO: No, but consistent with.

O'MARA: And you say consistent with to minimize the number of shots that it could possibly be, correct?

RAO: Not minimize, but if you gave me another scenario, I could look at that scenario and see if it's consistent.

O'MARA: Let me give you this scenario. He gets hit in the nose like this, just like that, but it does not go up here. So, here is the first shot and here's the second shot. How many is that?

RAO: Two.

O'MARA: Consistent with that picture?

RAO: It could be, yes.

O'MARA: Is it any more consistent or any less consistent than the fact that there was one shot?

RAO: I'm sorry, I didn't get that.

O'MARA: I'm sorry. You said earlier that those injuries could be consistent with one shot.

RAO: Correct.

O'MARA: And now, I think you may have said it could be consistent with two shots.

RAO: If the way it's depicted like you have depicted, yes.

O'MARA: Just so we're clear, you don't know how Mr. Zimmerman was hit by Mr. Martin, correct?

RAO: Correct.

O'MARA: So, you're saying it's consistent with one potentially. Yes?

RAO: Yes.

O'MARA: And it also is consistent with two, correct?

RAO: If the way it was portrayed, yes.

O'MARA: Which you don't know.

RAO: Correct.

O'MARA: So, could you just say it's consistent with two as well?

RAO: It could be. Yes.

O'MARA: OK. And it could be consistent with one?

RAO: Yes.

O'MARA: OK. And, it actually could be consistent with another couple of hits with the palm or, as you said, another couple of hits with a fist that just didn't leave visible injuries.

RAO: Yes.

O'MARA: So, you're certainly not telling this jury that Trayvon Martin only hit Mr. Zimmerman in the face one time?

RAO: I'm just telling you what the injuries are and what it's consistent with.


BLITZER: All right. Dr. __, you're a medical examiner with an enormous amount of experience. She was called by the prosecution, but in the cross-examination, she seemed to be helping the defense of George Zimmerman. But I'm anxious to get your assessment.

DR. JOSHUA PERPER, FORMER BORWARD CO., FLA., MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, my assessment is very clear. The medical examiner is supposed to be an objective observer and not supposed to take sides. And if he's doing that, he's doing something improper. In this particular case, basically, the major question is a question of intent, whether it fulfilled the so-called mensary (ph) or the evil intention to commit the act.

And medical examiner can sometimes conclude about that if there are marked gunshot wounds, if there are inconsistency in the forensic findings, if the person threatens to kill someone. But this is a very difficult question the question of intent, and in this particular case, this is extremely difficult because there's no, as I see, any specific, certainly not just physical evidence but circumstantial evidence which is showing it beyond any doubt.

In other words, if there's a reasonable doubt, you cannot convict someone, even if the person is guilty. And I think the medical examiner is proper in her behavior.

BLITZER: So, you think she did a good job, because one other point she did make in the cross-examination by Mark O'Mara that was an important point, she pointed out, for example, that there were all sorts of wounds to George Zimmerman's head, the front of his head, the blood coming out of his nose, some bruises in the back of his head, supposedly from being pounded on that cement, on that sidewalk, if you will.

When she examined Trayvon Martin's body, there was obviously a gunshot wound to the heart, but the only other wound she saws were some bruises on his knuckles where presumably he was trying, at least, that's the impression we got from her testimony that maybe those bruises on his knuckles came from him punching George Zimmerman in the face. So, if that's the testimony of where, what does that say to you?

PERPER: Well, it says to me that, obviously, there was some period of time during which the assault on Zimmerman occurred. If there had been only one injury, there would be something which would be more or less spontaneous. There are several injuries in different spaces -- in different places according to the medical examiner.

This would indicate that even for a very short time, there was some assault going on with very little injury on the other hand. Now, this doesn't mean that Zimmerman was not, in fact, the assailant, but what it means is there's no evidence which prove it to such an extent that there's no reasonable doubt that he was really in fear of his life.

BLITZER: Let me bring Jeffrey Toobin in, because you were watching this closely. What did you think of that whole exchange that the medical examiner who examined George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, Valerie Rao, had in the direct questioning by the prosecutor and then the cross-examination by the defense attorney?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Wolf, I swear, I am not sitting here all day, thinking of new ways to criticize the prosecution, but yet, this was another witness who was a so what witness in terms of, you know, proving whether George Zimmerman is guilty of any crime. Was he hit once? Was he hit more than once? Could he have been hit a whole bunch of times? Yes. That's the conclusion you can draw from this testimony, which doesn't help the prosecution at all.

I thought this witness was very conscientious, was very knowledgeable, was very fair, and she acknowledged that long after the fact based on the injuries that she saw in George Zimmerman, she could not tell how many times he was hit, thus, she is a very little to prove that George Zimmerman, you know, committed this crime.

BLITZER: So basically, Jeffrey, your bottom line is she wound up in her testimony helping Zimmerman, is that right?

TOOBIN: Or neutral. There was plenty of other testimony during the day I thought that helped Zimmerman. I thought her testimony was sort of a wash.

BLITZER: We're going to get to a lot of that other testimony in the course of this hour. But let's bring in Mark Nejame to get your assessment on how that went down. What was your bottom line?

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, as Jeffrey says, you know, neutral does not get a conviction. You've got to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. And once again, the state seems have been neutralized with these witnesses. You also see them changing track here. And you know, for the first part of the trial, you saw them try to establish that it was, in fact, George Zimmerman who was atop Trayvon Martin.

As this case unfolded, it's pretty clear that it was Trayvon Martin who was atop George Zimmerman. So, now, we're seeing them making a shift, and they're going do have to concede that point, in my opinion, if they're going to have any credibility to the jury and they're going to want to establish that in fact George Zimmerman should not have been in fear for his life and he overreacted, and hence, that's their best shot of getting a conviction.

But trying to do the other way around, I think they're going to continue to lose credibility in front of a jury and I think it's a dangerous road for them to continue to go on.

BLITZER: Marcia Clark, let's bring you into this conversation as well. At the beginning of the questioning during the cross- examination of Valerie Rao, the medical examiner, the defense attorney, Mark O'Mara made a point -- pointing out that she, Valerie Rao, had been appointed by the state attorney, Angela Horey (ph), as if he was beginning to raise some questions about her credibility, her objectivity, if you will. Was that wise?

MARCIA CLARK, FORMER DEFENSE ATTORNEY/PROSECUTOR: Well, it's good groundwork to neutralize some of the testimony that was not helpful to Zimmerman, and she did give some.

In her direct examination, she gave her opinion that the injuries on Zimmerman were rather inconsequential, were no particularly -- nothing like life threatening and, in fact, opined that those injuries could have been caused by a single blow, one blow to the head, to the face that knocked him down, and then he hit his head on the pavement and that might have been the result of one blow.

So, that's actually helpful to the prosecution that she said that, and that she found the actual injuries to be inconsequential, minor injuries. That's helpful to the prosecution as well. So, when he started out his cross-examination, Mark O'Mara would want to first start by trying to show some kind of bias on her part to undermine those opinions and wound up getting better than that by having her concede that there were possibilities that the injuries were more significant than she attributed or at least were the result of more blows than she initially opined about.

But, I do think she was helpful to the prosecution. A slam dunk? No. She certainly wasn't that. But, she added something to it. I think in the case like this, which is a very close case, you're going to have a lot of these instances where a witness adds to the prosecution but also adds to the defense. It frequently is the case in criminal trials that evidence has two sides to it and there's an upside and the downside to everything, and she's no exception.

BLITZER: All right, guys. Everyone stand by because we have a lot more to discuss. We're going to hear more of the testimony of George Zimmerman's closest friend, when he heard George Zimmerman say the night Trayon Martin was killed. And we also heard from George Zimmerman in this trial today, once again, on videotape in an interview he did with Sean Hannity. Stand by. More analysis coming up.


BLITZER: George Zimmerman's best friend was also on the stand today, appeared to be sweating at times, while also revealing what George Zimmerman told him about the night Trayvon Martin was shot. It's an account he wrote about in a book. Our legal panel is back, Jeffrey Toobin, Mark Nejame, and Marcia Clark.

I'll play a little clip. This is the friend, best friend of George Zimmerman, Mark Osterman, on the witness stand today.


DE LA RIONDA: 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, one hand was trying to cover his mouth to keep him from screaming.

DE LA RIONDA: Right. And I think you quoted Mr. Zimmerman is saying that Trayvon Martin out his hand -- "takes one of his hand and puts it over my nose and pinches it close while his other hand goes over my mouth."

OSTERMAN: It was described to me something like this. Maybe a pinch -- not like that. Pinch like that and cover (ph).

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

OSTERMAN: Something to that effect.

DE LA RIONDA: And then, what does Mr. Zimmerman definitive say happened then?

OSTERMAN: He said that because his jacket rode up a bit, that with, perhaps, the inside of his leg he felt or looked down and saw that he had a holster and a firearm.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. Before he -- the defendant said that he say that "he desperately got both of my hands around the guy's one wrist and took his hand off my mouth long enough for me to shout again for help?"

OSTERMAN: Right. That was the main thing he did with his hands was to try to clear his mouth, because with his mouth free, he could scream and he could breathe. He said that he went for the gun.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. He said Trayvon Martin went for the gun, correct?

OSTERMAN: Grabbed for the gun. DE LA RIONDA: OK. And I think you quoted him saying, "he took his hand that was covering my nose and went for the gun saying something at that point," correct?


DE LA RIONDA: What words did he utter?

OSTERMAN: He said "you're going to die" and he used the MF term again.


BLITZER: Let's bring back the legal panel. Jeffrey Toobin, your analysis of how George Zimmerman's best friend, Mark Osterman, did today. Did he help the prosecution or did he help the defense?

TOOBIN: Well, one thing we know for sure is that he's his best friend. And, if you're the prosecutor and you're going to call the defendant's best friend, you better have an awfully good reason because you know that defendant is going to shade his testimony -- that friend is going to shade his testimony in every way to help the defense.

I don't think he was a particularly powerful witness for the prosecution. The idea behind his testimony is to show that there were inconsistencies in how Zimmerman has described the attack, whether Trayvon Martin really went for the gun or not and the order in which events took place. I'd followed this trial carefully. I didn't see glaring inconsistencies in Zimmerman's account.

So, what you have was this extremely sympathetic witness talking about how much Zimmerman was telling the truth and how upset he was and what a good person he is and maybe you got some inconsistencies out of it, but they did not strike me as very significant inconsistency.

BLITZER: The major consistency I heard, I'll bring Mark Nejame and Marcia into this conversation. Mark, first to you is, apparently, what Mark Osterman said, what he had been told by George Zimmerman is that Trayvon Martin actually got his hand on the gun and then he managed to get it out of his hand, whereas in his own testimony, George Zimmerman never said that Trayvon Martin got his hand on the gun.

NEJAME: Exactly. Those are the inconsistencies that you're going to have. The state has to put together in order to sustain a case, because you're probably not going to see George Zimmerman taking the stand in this case. He's now got, I think, five different statements that have come out so there's really no reason for him to take the stand. So, they're going to have to attack they being the prosecution his credibility.

And how will they do that? They'll lay atop each of the other (ph) with the various statements he's made and try to bring out these various consistencies. Additionally what the prosecution attempted to do with this is to lay a foundation for the subsequent witness and that was the fingerprint expert to show that, in fact, there were no fingerprints on the gun.

And again that George Zimmerman overreacted to the situation and did not need to kill Trayvon Martin because he was not grabbing for the gun and there's no independent verification of that.

BLITZER: Is that a major inconsistency, Marcia, that Zimmerman, himself, said he felt that Trayvon Martin was reaching for his gun and never got it, whereas this best friend says, he was told he actually got to the gun and they fought over the gun. How big of a deal is that?

CLARK: Well, if you believed it, I think it would be a big deal, because that's a glaring inconsistently. Someone who never actually gets close to the gun versus someone who actually touches the gun, that means in danger of grabbing it. That's a very compelling argument for self-defense. A complete self-defense for George Zimmerman.

The problem is, if I'm a juror, I don't buy the testimony. I'm not sure how this helps the prosecution, because I look at it and I say, number one, he's his best friend. So, he has a certain bias. Number two, he didn't take notes.

He heard this conversation -- he heard this statement from George Zimmerman while he was driving somewhere from here to there, and then he, number three, wrote it all down, recounted George Zimmerman's conversation with him sometime later, months later, and in the interim, had no contact with George Zimmerman in order to confirm that that was actually what he said and that it was accurate.

For the purpose of, of course, putting it in his book, which, number four shows kind of a bias and an effort to sell books as well as to defend his friend. If I'm on the jury, I look at this and I go, wash. I don't even thing I believe it necessarily. And if I do, I ascribe it to something a lot less than George Zimmerman's conscious desire to create or fabricate a story.

BLITZER: Stand by, guys. We're going to continue this conversation. There's more to discuss, including the judge early in the day striking testimony by the lead detective in the case from the record. What happened? Our panel of legal experts is back in a moment.


BLITZER: Happening now, the death toll climbs as the clock ticks --


BLITZER (voice-over): -- for the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, to, quote, "meet the needs of the people."

Plus, the moment the prosecution tried to suggest George Zimmerman was racially profiling Trayvon Martin. You're going to find out how the lead detective in the case responding.

And why Paula Deen is hoping last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage could help her defense against the racial discrimination lawsuit that nearly has destroyed her empire?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: All that coming up. Let's get some more testimony now from the lead detective in this case, Chris Serino, who was back on the stand for a second day answering questions about whether he thought George Zimmerman was racially profiling Trayvon Martin. Significant element in this case.

Our legal panel is back to break all of this down. Marcia Clark, Mark Nejame, Jeffrey Toobin also joining us. Jean Casarez, our CNN legal correspondent.

All right. I'm going to play the clip. This was at the end of his testimony yesterday. Chris Serino, the lead detective in the case. Listen to what he said.


MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: Is there anything else in this case where you got the insight that he might be a pathological liar?


O'MARA: As a matter of fact, everything he told to you date had been corroborated by other evidence that you were already aware of in the investigation that he was unaware of.

SERINO: Correct.

O'MARA: OK. So if we were to take pathological liar off the table as a possibility just for the purposes of this next question, do you think he was telling truth?



BLITZER: All right. Very significant moment, do you think he was telling the truth? Yes. That's Chris Serino from the Sanford police department, the lead investigator. Then all of a sudden at the start of the trial today before whatever was going on, the -- they met with the judge, Debra Nelson, and then they decided to do this.


JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SEMINOLE CO. CIRCUIT COURT: Ladies and gentlemen, my instruction to you is that that is an improper comment by a witness as to the truth and veracity of another witness, and you are to disregard the question and the answer.


BLITZER: Let's bring back the panel and Jean Casarez, I'll bring you in first this time. That's hours later. The jury actually heard Chris Serino make that assertion, then many, many hours later on the next day, the judge says that is not really admissible. What does that mean?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a great point, Wolf. They slept on it, right? You see, the prosecution didn't object when it was made yesterday, and they must have slept on it and that's when they asked the prosecutor said, Your Honor, we ask you to strike this and we want to you read an instruction to the jury because this is his opinion and the jury may rely more heavily on a law enforcement officer's testimony. And so that's exactly what happened.

But what still stands is any inconsistencies he believes were minor, and there were no inconsistencies he believes in regard to George Zimmerman and the witness statements.

BLITZER: So that's like many hours later, Marcia Clark, you're a former prosecutor. How unusual is this that what -- 12 or 17 hours later, all of a sudden, it dawns on the prosecution maybe we should ask this comment by this lead investigator be stricken from the record?

MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I don't think it took them 17 hours. I think they heard the question, they heard the answer. They probably had the hesitation moment, oh, should I object? Any time you object, you do underline the moment. And if you don't want to draw more attention to it, you're a little bit hesitating. And they probably thought about it later, maybe even five minutes after recess because it was toward the end of the day and thought I should have had it stricken. Because now they can go and argue it to the jury in closing argument if it's still in evidence. So get it stricken.

So you know, yes, in theory, I think they should have objected to the question before the answer came out. It is an improper question, it's an improper answer. The jury is the trier of fact. They're the ones who determine credibility, they're the ones who decide what is truthful and what is not and what should be believed. And so, it's unfortunate that came out.

Unringing the bell I don't think is going to be possible. But what I'm hoping the prosecution will argue about this is that this is the guy who got in an awful lot of trouble -- one of the many, not just him. I don't want to center just on him. But this office got in trouble for not filing the case for begin with. There was a big, long delay and there a great deal of outrage about the fact that there were no charges filed. And so for him to say anything other than the fact that he believed George Zimmerman's story only puts him back in the hot seat for not having filed the charges to begin with. He kind of has to defend himself that way.

BLITZER: But Jeffrey, you know, those jurors, the six women on the jury, they're human beings. They heard the testimony. You can say from now until forever ignore what you just heard from the lead investigator, but these are human beings. They're going to remember what they heard. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: And think about the whole context of his testimony. This was the lead investigator in the case. When I was a federal prosecutor, we called it the case agent. It was the person who sort of summed up the prosecution's case, put all the most incriminating evidence in front of the jury, if that is possible.

And here we're having a conversation about how the lead investigator was giving evidence that was so pro-defense that it wound up being inadmissible. Well, he gave plenty of other pro-defense evidence as well. And I just don't see -- I frankly have never seen a situation like this in any criminal case ever where the lead investigator turns into a character witness for the defense.

BLITZER: Have you, Mark Nejame, have you ever seen anything like this as far as a day later the prosecutor asking that the statement be stricken?

MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, there was no objection, so I think the state had a break by even having it stricken. And I do take a different twist than I heard Marcia say, and that is that only one person is allowed to make the objection. And even though you've got a team of lawyers there, I think the prosecutor simply missed the objection, and then when they counseled afterwards and realized how the prosecution had gotten so beat up by their lead investigator, they go that wasn't permissible anyway. So they did their best to in fact salvage it.

But I don't think they can salvage it. I think the defense was able to go ahead and corroborate it. That in fact the statements were each truthful to the other by bringing it in through the back door as they did as soon as the judge read the curative instruction. So I think that the fatal mistake.

I think also that interestingly that this particular lead investigator was almost singularly the one person who wanted Zimmerman prosecuted. He recommended manslaughter charges. So the irony of this continues to baffle me because you've got the one investigator, the lead investigator wanted the charges brought, the state attorney said no. And yet he's been very pro-defense, very interesting turn of events.

TOOBIN: Can I ask a question that I'm confused about, Wolf?


TOOBIN: Does the jury know about this business about whether the investigator wanted manslaughter charges filed and he was overruled?

CLARK: I can answer that.

TOOBIN: Marcia, tell me.

BLITZER: Jean, go ahead.

CASAREZ: There was a motion in limine (ph) before this trial began that is disallowing the opinions of law enforcement, those in governing rule in this area as to whether they wanted or didn't want a prosecution. So I don't think that's going to --

TOOBIN: Yes, that's what I thought. Because, you know, the idea of a -- it doesn't matter what his opinion was about whether the charges should be filed. The jury doesn't know that. So he's just the lead investigator as far as the jury knows, and he's testifying in effect for the defense.

CLARK: And in essence --

BLITZER: Go ahead, Marcia.

CLARK: And in essence, giving his opinion about the truthfulness or lack thereof of a witness is really not his place to do regardless of whether he has a motive to support Zimmerman's credibility or not. And he fact that he wanted manslaughter filed is still in conflict with what was filed, which is second-degree murder. So it's a very unusual situation that you have here, and very unusual that a defense attorney would risk asking a lead investigator do you think a defendant was truthful or not. Just an incredible set of events.

BLITZER: At the end of day seven, a lot of people are asking - are suggesting maybe Chris Serino was right. The prosecution would have been better, would have been on stronger ground going with a manslaughter charge as opposed to a second-degree murder, which is much more difficult to prove, especially to a jury down there right now watching based on all that we've seen.

All right, guys, stand by. We're going to continue this conversation, but we're also watching huge breaking news developing out of Cairo right now. You're looking at pictures. Anti-Morsi, Mohamed Morsi, the president of Egypt. These crowds are enormous. Millions of people have taken to the streets. Mohamed Morsi, the president, he has just taken to the airwaves to address the country. We're going live to Cairo. There are enormous demonstrations and enormous developments. Stand by.


BLITZER: The Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi now, you're looking at live pictures addressing the people of Egypt on national television. Acknowledging, yes, yes, he has made major mistakes in the year that he has been in office, in effect going forward and asking his people to give him more time to deal with these issues. As you know, millions of people are on the streets of Egypt, whether in Cairo or Alexandria or elsewhere. Supporters of Morsi, many of them from the Muslim Brotherhood and elsewhere, as well opponents, a lot of secularists and others who are deeply, deeply angry at him. They want him to step down, step down right away.

President Obama has weighed in. He actually called Mohamed Morsi, the president, yesterday while he was still in Africa, urging early elections, dealing with this in a democratic fashion. We're monitoring what President Morsi is saying right now. I'm sure everyone in Egypt is listening. We'll see where we go from here.

The military, the Egyptian military, which is so powerful an institution in Egypt right now, the Egyptian military is basically saying to Morsi, you got to move on, you got to deal with this, you have until tomorrow. Basically otherwise the Egyptian military is going to step in.

All right. Stand by. We'll let you know what Morsi says. We'll get back to Cairo in a moment. Our reporters are also standing by as well. And in the next hour we have Christiane Amanpour, Fareed Zakaria. Full analysis of the historic moments unfolding right now in Egypt.

But let's get back to the Zimmerman trial, day seven of what happened: crucial testimony in this trial. We're back with our legal panel.

And Jeffrey, let me start with you this time and ask you this question. Once again, the prosecution allowed the interview that George Zimmerman gave Sean Hannity of Fox News to be played in court today. An interview that I must say was sympathetic to George Zimmerman and the case that he's making. Explain why you believe the prosecution allowed more actual statements from George Zimmerman, even though he's not on the stand and won't be subject to cross- examination?

TOOBIN: Wolf, you can't ask me these hard questions because I have no idea. I thought it was a terrible idea. I thought it was, again, helpful to the -- to the defense. You know, maybe some of those jurors really don't like FOX News so they won't like Sean Hannity. But other than that, I mean, I suppose someone who is following the ins and outs incredibly closely could identify some inconsistencies between the version he told Sean Hannity and other versions he's told.

But they certainly didn't jump out at me and, again, I thought it was showing the defendant in a sympathetic environment without any opportunity for cross-examination, putting forward at least on the surface a credible version of what happened on this tragic night.

BLITZER: What was the strategy, Jean, of the prosecution in allowing this videotape to be played before the jurors today?

CASAREZ: It's just another inconsistency, but I agree, it was tough to see inconsistencies just jump out. And I was really focused on the jury during this. And let me tell you, it's a big multi-media screen. So I mean, it's -- you're watching a full movie screen as you're watching all of this. And remember George Zimmerman was described as meek by one of the witnesses today. And you saw a meek person as they were talking right there in the minds of some.

The jury was not taking notes but the minute it was over with, and it took a while, they started writing notes in their notebook from what they had just watched on the screen.

BLITZER: Did you see some inconsistencies that would be beneficial to the prosecution, Mark, in that interview that George Zimmerman granted to Sean Hannity?

NEJAME: As a background I thought that was a terrible mistake to let any client go on TV and give a statement because you know it's going to be used against you. But they very well may have lucked out. The issue is that he came across looking not like a depraved individual, not with evil intent. He came across as a decent guy, at least outwardly.

Some things could offend some people that it was the will of god. That could be a big, you know, issue for some people. And then not having any regrets and not doing anything different. Somebody could look at it the other way, though, saying, he didn't have any regrets because it was either Trayvon Martin's life or his, at least that's what he believed.

The biggest -- you know, we've already touched on one inconsistency they have to be concerned about, about reaching with the gun. The other one that is really -- being focused on by the state is that George Zimmerman has said that after the shot, after the fatal shot was fired, he then went ahead and rolled atop Trayvon Martin, and then he laid his arms out. There's no other witness anywhere that says that his arms were later tucked in. Because that's when the first -- when the first responders came, they saw that Trayvon Martin's were not laid out -- Martin's arms were not laid out but that he was atop him.

Now it does him because it shows a reason why he would have been atop, Trayvon Martin, as some of the other witnesses from the apartment -- or condo said. But there's nobody to say that which suggests, at least that's where the prosecution is going, that George Zimmerman made that whole thing up about laying him out and he was really never atop him.

BLITZER: All right, guys. Hold on for a moment because we have -- we'll have more analysis on what happened on day seven in the George Zimmerman trial. There's other news we're following here in THE SITUATION ROOM as well, including Paula Deen. She plays an unusual race card in the harassment lawsuit that triggered her sudden downfall.

And once we're going to be going back to Cairo. The Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, is addressing the people of Egypt right now. We're monitoring what he's saying. Stand by. The ramifications of this could be enormous.


BLITZER: Mary Snow is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

Mary, what's going on?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, in Arizona a growing memorial to the 19 firefighters killed in the Yarnell blaze Sunday. Officials have identified the only surviving member of the elite crew. He was serving as a lookout when the wind shifted trapping his colleagues. The average age of the victims is 22. Autopsies have to be completed before the bodies can be released to the families for funerals.

Asylum options for NSA leaker Edward Snowden are rapidly dwindling. Eleven of 21 countries where he's applied say he has to be inside their borders to consider his request. Three other countries have flat-out said no. And Russia says Snowden has withdrawn his request for asylum there. Snowden is wanted by the U.S. for revealing details of government surveillance programs.

And Russian officials are investigating what went wrong with this rocket launch which ended in a fiery explosion. You can see the rocket veering off course and beginning to nose dive just seconds after its liftoff in Kazakhstan. No one was on board and there's no word of injuries on the ground. The rocket was carrying three satellites into orbit -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Mary, thanks very much.

Coming up, the lead detective, the medical examiner, the best friend. They were all on the stand today in day seven of the George Zimmerman trial. We're going inside their testimony. Stand by.

Also, here's a question. Why Paula Deen -- why is she invoking the U.S. Supreme Court's Proposition 8 decision on the same-sex marriage issue in her own lawsuit, her harassment lawsuit? Jeffrey Toobin is standing by.


BLITZER: Very unusual legal twist in the lawsuit that triggered Paula Deen's meteoric downfall. A former employee at Deen's restaurant claims she was subject to a hostile work environment, in part because of Deen's use of the -- the N word. Now Deen's lawyers invoking the U.S. Supreme Court decision on California's Proposition 8 saying the plaintiff in Deen's case doesn't have standing to sue over the racial epithet because she's white.

Let's get some more from CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Is the assumption here, Jeffrey, that a white person can't be offended by a racial slur aimed at another race?

TOOBIN: Yes, that's the assumption. The only problem is that's not the law. The courts have consistently held that a hostile environment can include racial slurs and bigotry against all sorts of people. So that is not going to get this case thrown out. I'm not saying this case has any merit. I certainly don't know. But that claim alone that the Proposition 8 case somehow helps Paula Deen, I don't think that's what's going to end this case if this case ends at all.

BLITZER: Because obviously if you and I were both white, if we heard someone in a work environment use the N word we would be deeply, deeply offended. And that would be -- that would horrible.

TOOBIN: That's right. And there are lots of cases that say the insults don't have to be directed at you personally, they don't have to be directed at whatever ethnic group or racial or gender that you are. A hostile work environment can be created in a number of ways, and that's not -- that's not a stand -- that's not a winning standing argument. It is true that every plaintiff in federal court needs standing, but Proposition 8 is not going to help Paula Deen.

BLITZER: So where does she go from here? What does she hope to achieve by -- her lawyers at least, by making this argument?

TOOBIN: Well, I -- you know, the -- they always make as many arguments as they can to get a case thrown out. And it may well be that this case has no merit. I don't -- I obviously have no familiarity with the working conditions in Paula Deen's operation. But a white woman is legally allowed to complain about a hostile work environment that includes racial epithets, and so she will have the opportunity to prove that. Whether she can or not is of course a very separate question.

BLITZER: All right. Jeffrey, we're going to have you back in the next hour. We're going to continue our analysis on what happened in the George Zimmerman trial as well. Stand by for that.

By the way, the woman who brought the harassment lawsuit against Paula Deen is breaking her silence. In her first statement since the scandal broke, the plaintiff in this case, Lisa Jackson, says, and I'm quoting her now, "This lawsuit has never been about the N word. It is to address Miss Deen's patterns of disrespect and degradation of people that she deems to be inferior. I may be a white woman, but I could no longer tolerate her abuse of power as a business owner nor her condonation of Mr. Heirs' despicable behavior on a day-to-day basis. I am what I am. And I am a human being that cares about all races. And that is why I feel it is important to be the voice for those who are too afraid to use theirs."