CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

George Zimmerman Trial; Deadline Looms in Egypt; Snowden Not Aboard Bolivian Plane; Arizona Wildfire 8 Percent Contained

Aired July 3, 2013 - 10:30   ET

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


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: OK, so the attorneys are approaching the bench now. Sunny, I hope you heard my previous question. So what's up with this?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. Yes, I did. And I don't think he has become this great defense witness. There is no question that this type of testimony helps the prosecution, because, one, they get to now impeach what George Zimmerman said to Sean Hannity which is like Stand Your Ground law? I don't know anything about it. I learned about it after the shooting, which clearly, clearly is false.

And two, they also get to now argue because of this evidence coming in. George Zimmerman not only knew about Stand Your Ground, he knew about what reasonable apprehension of fear is. He knew all of the legal terms, so he knew enough to know that he needed to say what he was saying. He knew how to put the right story together.

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: Well this is where -- this is where -- this is where I'm kind of going with this, so in describing what self-defense means, this professor says "You don't have to have extensive injuries to be in imminent fear of your life. You don't have to have any injuries at all. It's only if you fear that your life is in danger that you have the right to defend yourself under Florida state law." This professor made that very clear.

HOSTIN: That's right. But the standard is on objective standard. What a reasonable person would believe and so when he's saying, "Yes, you have to be in reasonable apprehension of fear" the jury doesn't look at it from what George Zimmerman was thinking. They look at it from what a reasonable person and is it reasonable, I'm being told to wrap.

COSTELLO: We got to wrap because the prosecutor is standing up. And he's redirect. Let's -- let's listen.

(BEGIN LIVE FEED)

RICHARD MANTEI, PROSECUTOR: -- does that the concept, you are in line with that? Or is that what you are talking about?

CAPT. ALEXIS FRANCISCO CARTER, U.S. ARMY: What I'm talking about when it comes to imperfect self-defense is a situation where you do not meet the force that -- the force that you are encountering, you meet that force, disproportionately. It's excessive force.

MANTEI: So I guess in the ultimate level of force in these scenarios is deadly force.

CARTER: Is deadly force.

MANTEI: Like a gunshot?

CARTER: Like a gunshot.

MANTEI: No other questions, Judge, thank you.

NELSON: Thank you. May Captain Carter be excused?

MANTEI: Yes, your honor.

JUDGE DEBRA NELSON: Thank you very much Captain Carter you are excused. Call your next witness, please. Anybody need a recess? No.

Call your next witness, please.

MANTEI: I call Jim Krzenski, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear the testimony you shall present will be the truth and the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God.

JIM KRZENSKI: Yes I do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, sir.

NELSON: You may proceed.

MANTEI: Thank you. Mr. Krzenski would you please go ahead and spell your last name for us; in particular, tell us where you are -- I'm sorry, where you work and what you do?

JIM KRZENSKI, SANFORD, FLORIDA POLICE ADMINISTRATOR: The spelling of my last name is K-R-Z-E-N-S-K-I. And I'm the administrative services manager for the Sanford police department. I basically oversee all the administrational police department and report directly to the deputy chief.

MANTEI: And by administration, does that include the records that the department keeps and maintains?

KRZENSKI: Yes, sir. I have four technicians that report to me.

MANTEI: OK.

Sir I'm showing you state exhibit's 212. Is this one of the types of documents you just referenced kept by the Sanford Police Department?

KRZENSKI: Yes, sir.

MANTEI: And you have seen record like that before? KRZENSKI: Yes, sir.

MANTEI: And what is it?

KRZENSKI: This is a Sanford Police Department release form.

MANTEI: When does a person fill out a form like that?

KRZENSKI: When they request to ride along with a police officer.

MANTEI: And was this filled out by a particular individual?

KRZENSKI: Yes, sir, there was a particular individual.

MANTEI: And who was it?

KRZENSKI: George M. Zimmerman.

MANTEI: And when was it filled out?

KRZENSKI: It was filled out according to this on 3-15-2010.

MANTEI: OK.

And does the person indicate whether or not they have a reason for wanting to go on these ride-alongs?

KRZENSKI: Yes, sir.

MANTEI: And what is that reason?

KRZENSKI: It states here, solidify my chances of a law enforcement career -- a career in law enforcement.

MANTEI: Thank you. Your honor, I'd move states exhibit 212 then.

NELSON: We'll come into evidence with states exhibit 212. Cross. Please.

MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Very brief, your honor. Thank you.

Good morning, sir. How are you?

KRZENSKI: Good morning.

O'MARA: You of course reviewed all of your available records to come up with the one time that Mr. Zimmerman sought a ride-along with a police officer, correct?

KRZENSKI: Yes, sir. We searched for this record. We have literally hundreds of these, sir.

O'MARA: Sure and there was only one where Mr. Zimmerman did that back in 2010.

KRZENSKI: Yes, sir, to my knowledge.

O'MARA: Never requested it again.

KRZENSKI: To my knowledge, no.

O'MARA: Were you aware at all in your records that Mr. Zimmerman had responded after that ride-along talking about the officer he had rode along with?

KRZENSKI: Not directly, sir. No.

O'MARA: Not in any of the records that you keep when you are looking for that record?

KRZENSKI: No, sir.

O'MARA: OK.

KRZENSKI: I didn't find anything related to this ride-along other than this form right here.

O'MARA: Then I have no further questions. Thank you, your honor.

NELSON: Thank you, may Mr. Krzenski be excused?

MANTEI: Yes, your honor.

NELSON: OK thank you. You may be excused. Sir. Call your next witness.

MANTEI: Could we approach, your honor?

NELSON: Yes.

(END LIVE FEED)

COSTELLO: All right so -- so far in testimony this morning, we've learned that George Zimmerman of course took criminal justice classes, and he especially excelled in criminal litigation, he got an A in that class. We've also learned he applied for a job at the Prince William Virginia, Prince William County Virginia Police Department and he did not get it.

And we just now learned that he requested the police ride-along with the Sanford Police because he wished to become a police officer, so, as you can see the defense is trying to portray George Zimmerman as this overzealous guy, a wannabe cop.

And on that night, he overreacted, the night that Trayvon Martin died. And I'll start with you, Drew, effective on the prosecution's part?

DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think the most effective thing today was the 30 seconds of testimony that we just heard. And the reason is I really do believe that you know with due respect the guy that graduates law school gets a job as a public defender, and teaches job at night to make extra money is really not educating him and prepping him and getting him ready.

However, wanting to go on a ride-along to solidify your chances of being in law enforcement, I think most people in that jury box are going to assume he absorbed that evening. He absorbed the respect and what these officers do for a living and the deference that citizens have to show to them when you're told, back off and let us do the job, because you were in that car and you know what they do.

A good prosecutor is going to take this and hammer it home in closing argument. That was brutal to George Zimmerman just now.

COSTELLO: They are in recess until 11:00. So go on, Jason.

JASON JOHNSON, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes I don't necessarily think so. And this is -- it's not just my professor bias. I think what the defense did here is they basically told the wrong story they said, well basically, even if George Zimmerman started this fight, once he started losing it, he had reasonable fear for his life. But the problem is, how could you ever be that afraid in a fight when you know you have a gun. They basically laid out the prosecution story better than the prosecution did.

And when the end of the argument was you know with unequal force shooting somebody and the guy said yes, I thought that was a horrible mistake by the prosecution, and by the defense.

COSTELLO: Sunny, your take?

HOSTIN: Yes, I mean I think today is a really good day for the government. First, they get the win of having all these documents come in, all these witnesses are now testifying to George Zimmerman's ambitions to be a police officer. He not only wanted to be a police officer, he tried to be a police officer. He was rejected by -- by the police in Virginia. Then he took all these courses. He learned about, you know, what it is. He learned about the law.

And then finally, he goes on this ride along. And I agree with Drew, I mean my goodness, he gets to see cops in action. As a former prosecutor I've gone out on ride-along and it is really heady. It is unbelievable when you are in that car responding to calls for help.

You know, you really understand what type of job it is, the importance of the job. And so you take all of that as a prosecutor. And then you argue to the jury, he wanted to be a cop. And that's what he was doing that night. He was profiling Trayvon Martin as a police officer, a quasi-cop. He was on the beat.

I think that could be very, very powerful evidence for the prosecution.

COSTELLO: I have been on police ride-alongs, myself and it's amazing. You get this huge adrenaline rush when police respond to a call and you suddenly realize that you have to control that you have to find some way to control that and as a human being, you want to ride it. You want to go along with it.

JOHNSON: Right.

COSTELLO: And perhaps that's what George Zimmerman felt that night. We don't know.

JOHNSON: Well we don't know, but I think it's interesting. If you are trying to build a case and I thought this was interesting when they brought in his previous 911 tapes last week, if you are trying to build a case that he knew better.

This is a guy who certainly knew enough about police work, enough about his classes to not get out of the car, to know better than to, you know, pursue someone when you don't know who he is. If they're -- if they're going to that line, I actually think that makes sense.

But again I think the most damaging thing is how can you pretend you were afraid when you had a gun and I -- and I -- and plus I think it goes against the defense's story that Trayvon hit him first. Why would you ever -- why would Don West ever suggest, what if -- if you push someone first and then you are losing the fight, you're still in self defense I thought that was a mistake.

COSTELLO: All right well we're going to take a -- we've got to take a break. So we'll come back with much more right after this. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Welcome back to NEWSROOM, 43 minutes past the hour.

Court is in recess in Sanford, Florida until the top of the hour. So let me fill you in on what's happening in the rest of the world, including our own country.

Time may be running out for Egypt's President. Reuter says Egyptian troops have taken control of state television. The military has given an ultimatum to President Morsi, agree to share power or step down. Military leaders have vowed to oust Morsi if he does not comply. The government crisis has sparked violent clashes. Health officials say 23 people have been killed today.

Reza Sayah is in Cairo. These pictures Reza are unbelievable.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, for four consecutive days, the opposition factions the liberals the moderates, these are the critics of President Morsi have been coming out. And they're coming out once again. And you can tell that they sense the ouster of President Morsi is tantalizingly near. That's what they want. They want to get rid of President Morsi. And they feel that it's coming. Of course, the armed forces has injected themselves into this political conflict 48 hours ago giving an ultimatum to President Morsi to either fix this conflict, resolve matters with the opposition or the military saying they're going to step in.

That deadline for the ultimatum is here. Now we wait to see what it brings. Will the president back down? Will the armed forces convince all these factions that are going face to face to sit down and reach some sort of solution?

We can report in the past couple of hours, the armed forces senior military leaders have been meeting with leaders of various political factions, religious groups, youth groups obviously, trying to negotiate some sort of political consensus. It's not clear if representatives of the president's are in that meeting.

So this country is bracing itself for what's coming and we're just waiting to see what the coming hours bring, Carol.

COSTELLO: I know you will be there. We will get back to you if anything happens. Reza Sayah, live in Cairo, Egypt this morning.

The president of Bolivia is on his way home. That's after his flight from Moscow was forced to land in Vienna amid rumors that Edward Snowden was on board. An Austrian police officers searched the plane, did not find the NSA leaker. The (inaudible) again has us asking, "Where is Edward Snowden?"

CNN's Atika Shubert is following this story from London. Any word?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, no word on where Edward Snowden is exactly. Presumably he's still back at that Moscow airport. But he definitely was not on the Bolivian president's plane.

Basically, it was supposed to refuel in Portugal but they got turned away. They didn't get permission to fly through Italian, French, and Portuguese and Spanish air space. That's why they landed in Vienna.

All the passengers were taken out. All six of them and five crew had their passports checked. And then a police officer walked through the plane and verified that Snowden was not on there. It was a voluntary check because, of course, normally, when presidents fly, it is considered part of their sovereignty and they don't have -- they can't be boarded as it were. And as you can imagine, the Bolivian government was incredibly upset. The vice president even said that this was a case of the president being kidnapped by imperialism. So it seems to have been quite a diplomatic incident in Vienna.

COSTELLO: What does that say about Edward Snowden that he can delay the leader of a country's plane?

SHUBER: It probably says more about international politics and who is on whose side, particularly, perhaps, more importantly, who does not want to take Snowden in for asylum? He applied to 21 different countries. He's already withdrawn his application to Russia. But the vast majority of them have said either no or that they will not process any application until he applies in person in a country or an embassy. And so a lot of this seems to be fueled by the fear that if he lands in a country, he may actually apply for asylum.

COSTELLO: Wow. Atika Shubert reporting live from London for us this morning.

There are signs of progress against that massive wildfire that killed 19 members of an elite firefighting crew. The fire is now eight percent contained after burning 8,400 acres. Firefighters also getting a boost from the military; four especially equipped planes, similar to the one you're looking at will help battle the flames. In the meantime, a crowd of people attended a vigil to honor the 19 fallen firefighters. Many also wore purple ribbons at the event.

A key part of President Obama's sweeping health care overhaul is being delayed. Businesses with more than 50 employees will now have to wait until 2015 to provide their workers with health insurance before they face penalties. Most of them probably like that. Business owners have expressed concerns about the complex reporting requirements.

An American serving 15 years in a North Korean prison is asking to be set free. You're looking at exclusive video of Kenneth Bay. CNN obtained it from a pro North Korean organization that's based in Tokyo. Bay was sentenced in April after the North accused him of trying to use religion to topple Pyongyang. They said he spends eight hours a day during farm labor and his health isn't so good. He also says he hopes to be free by his dad's 70th birthday, which is tomorrow.

In the meantime, NBA star Dennis Rodman tells "Sports Illustrated," he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for lobbying North Korea to let Bay go.

Ariel Castro is competent to stand trial. That's the finding of a psychiatric evaluation delivered just moments ago in a Cleveland courtroom. The judge also ruled that jury selection will start on August 5th. Castro as you know is accused of holding three women captive in his Cleveland home for nearly a decade. He faces 329 charges, including aggravated murder, rape, kidnapping.

During this morning's hearing, Castro told a judge, he wants his children to be able to visit him in jail. He said that would not include the young daughter he fathered with the alleged kidnapping victim Amanda Barry.

We'll be back with much more in the NEWSROOM, stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: All right. The Zimmerman trial is in recess for just about eight more minutes. But a couple of interesting things happened in testimony this morning. George Zimmerman usually remains very stoic in the courtroom. No expression at all on his face.

But when his former teacher took the stand -- the guy that taught him Criminal Litigation at Seminole State, his face changed. And you can kind of see the relationship between the two men, the teacher and the student. You see the professor, Alexis Carter waving at George Zimmerman and George Zimmerman waving back.

In fact, Captain Carter was quite complimentary of George Zimmerman in class. He said he was a very good student. He listened carefully. He actually got an A in his class.

There was another point in the testimony on cross. The defense attorney, Don West, was questioning this witness about self-defense and what it meant and if you had to have any extensive injuries to be in fear for your life. George Zimmerman also reacted to that testimony. I'm going to play you that part of the testimony now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAPT. ALEXIS CARTER, U.S. ARMY PROSECUTOR: But the fact that there wasn't an injury at all doesn't necessarily mean there was a reasonable apprehension of fear, you know.

WEST: You don't have to wait until you are almost dead before you can defend yourself?

CARTER: No, I would advise you probably don't do that.

WEST: I take it when you are under attack you never really know where that moment will be?

CARTER: No, unfortunately, you don't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: I don't know if the jury actually saw Zimmerman's reaction to that. I don't know where the jury is sitting in relation to the defendant. But sometimes the jury can see expression on faces, he has been so still. It was surprising to see a change of expression, Drew.

FINDLING: Yes, absolutely. Here's the thing about Alexis Carter. The captain is a nice guy. I mean what a nice guy, when he testified. He seemed to really enjoy his teaching role. He seems to be enjoying his career both as a public defender and now in the military. And he was a likeable guy. And I think for that split second, if they did look at Zimmerman, it humanized him, because everybody got a chuckle. You heard the chuckle in the courtroom. In a murder trial, you need to be stoic but there was some levity there and he joined in and I think it humanized him.

COSTELLO: I don't know, I'm unsure about George Zimmerman's reaction, because it's a murder trial, after all.

JOHNSON: That can be problematic. I think what's interesting, if you believe in some sort of transference, like you know Dr. Carter was probably the nicest witness that we've had. We've had some pretty volatile people. So if the feelings that they have towards him were translated to George Zimmerman. It certainly helps.

Maybe laughing isn't the best thing to do but gosh, it's stressful for George Zimmerman. I mean -- you know at some point maybe he does crack a smile.

COSTELLO: OK. So before the courtroom resumes, I have a couple of more minutes Sunny Hostin. I'm going to leave it to you to sort of give us -- Sunny is gone, I guess she needs a brake. That woman has been working since 6:00 a.m. Eastern. She is amazing. She's like super woman. I think she works until midnight.

OK. So I have one minute, Drew, did the prosecution have a good day? FINDLING: I think, again, I felt at the end the ride-along was the best thing they did. I think bringing the educational records in the course I really think it's stretching it. I'll tell you why, Carol. You see this type of evidence when a spouse allegedly plans to kill their spouse for insurance money. Ah, you studied criminal justice back when you were in college so you knew what you were doing.

This was a split second decision and immediately thereafter giving a statement to law enforcement. I think it's stretching to think the Zimmerman the whole time was going, "I remember Stand Your Ground Law. Oh it's time to give a statement. I remember that course."

I think that's stretching it.

COSTELLO: OK. But Jason, the testimony from other witnesses that said that George Zimmerman went on a police ride-along and that he applied for jobs at police departments but didn't get them.

JOHNSON: Right.

COSTELLO: That kind of like says what his state of mind might have been that night.

JOHNSON: Very much so. And I also I think it works to this sort of state' case that he knew better. But if the biggest thing the defense did today -- and I thought some of their cross were OK. Seeing that guy smile for the first time in two weeks is probably more important than anything the defense managed to say. To see George Zimmerman not seem like a stoic detached monster for the first time was the thing.

It struck me too, the change of expression.

Thanks to you both for being with me. I sure appreciate it.

That does it for me. I'm Carol Costello. We will continue live in Sanford at the top of the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome, everyone. Live in Sanford, Florida, I'm Ashleigh Banfield with our live coverage of the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial.

You are not missing a moment of testimony inside this courtroom. The cameras are trained on the seal of the state of Florida because they are in a brief recess and any moment now they're expected to resume this live testimony.

And already, just a few hours into this day, and the testimony is riveting. When it comes to the philosophy of a trial, it like a ping- pong match, one moment you think the prosecution's got it in the bag. The next moment the defense does the old hijack. And that seems to be the case this morning.

It looked real good for the prosecution off the bat. They won key rulings and motions before trial testimony even began. Ten came the witnesses, laying out one by one, guess what, this defendant knows a whole lot about the law. This defendant knows a whole lot about self- defense. This defendant knows a whole lot about Stand Your Ground.

Is it because the prosecution wants to say this defendant knew how to crack the story the minute the cops got there? Thus we have the story we're talking about in this courtroom today.