Return to Transcripts main page


Zimmerman on Trial; Military Coup Underway in Egypt; Thousands of Protesters in Egypt's Streets

Aired July 3, 2013 - 12:00   ET


MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Mentioned now talking anything that we haven't talked about with the gun and its safety features?


O'MARA: And you stated that a person, Mr. Zimmerman, since we know it to be his gun, right?


O'MARA: OK. Would have then wrapped (ph) it to make sure it was, in fact, ready to fire and then put another bullet in the magazine and reloaded it, correct?


O'MARA: Is that a usual occurrence in your experience dealing with fire arms?

SIEWERT: I typically see a wide variety of -


SIEWERT: Of what I observe (ph).

O'MARA: You did not - I'm sorry, I jumped (ph).

SIEWERT: I'm sorry.

O'MARA: You did not consider that to be an unusual occurrence certainly did you?


O'MARA: OK. As a matter of fact, the two officers here, and probably every other law enforcement officer gun that you have a chance to see that is normal, that is one wrapped (ph) in the chamber and a full magazine, correct?


O'MARA: The military do that, correct?

SIEWERT: I am unsure. O'MARA: In fact it is the way you make that gun as capable as it can be for whatever the need may be, correct?

SIEWERT: To have it fully loaded?

O'MARA: Yes.


O'MARA: And then we've talked about the shirts themselves and I'm not going to go into having you look at them just yet. Might be able to avoid that. But you had said that the two shirts sort of lined up, correct?


O'MARA: And by that you mean obviously there was a hole through one and a hole through the other and when you - and when you took the shirts and lined them up, they matched, correct?

SIEWERT: Correct.

O'MARA: You're not suggesting that because of that, that the shirts are in any particular configuration on the body, are you?


O'MARA: OK. They were where they were, but certainly the bullet went through both shirts where they were lined up with the bullet hole?


O'MARA: OK. And let's talk about the actual when you say contact. Mr. Guy (ph) suggested pressed into. And I think you corrected him to say it was touch, correct?


O'MARA: There was no evidence, for example, that would show up that you would take the gun nuzzle and push it into the shirt somewhere, where the shirt would fold around it, was there?

SIEWERT: No, it was consistent with the muzzle of the firearm touching. The sweatshirt.

O'MARA: It was consistent with this, correct?


O'MARA: Shirt, firearm.


O'MARA: Wasn't consistent with this, right, pushing or anything?

SIEWERT: No. O'MARA: That would have shown up completely different configuration to you, right?

SIEWERT: To me, contact is when the muzzle is touching the fabric.


SIEWERT: Whether it's a light touching or whether it's pressed in all the way. The fact that the muzzle was touching the garment itself was what I had determined.

O'MARA: Right. So certainly had the gun actually been sort of smothered by the shirt or by a sheet, then fired, you would have seen a much different patterning on that, right, because the fire then would have wrapped back around it somewhat?

SIEWERT: Potentially if it was wrapped around it.

O'MARA: Correct.


O'MARA: As a matter of fact, any configuration that suggest something other than flat would have shown some different stickling (ph) potential or burning from the way the flame would then have bounced around, correct?

SIEWERT: In terms of farther away or closer?

O'MARA: No. If it was in contact -


O'MARA: Pushed in to the extent that it folded the fabric around it, that would have showed a different type of burn pattern potentially, correct?

SIEWERT: Potentially if the sweatshirt had gone over the top of the ejection port area, there would possibly be marks from that. But otherwise, whether it was lightly touching or pressed in, it would be the same - same type of physical effects that I have seen.

O'MARA: And when you say touching, is that a term of (INAUDIBLE) actually was touching or, in this case, when you saw a couple of - I thought you said you saw a couple of little burn spots of maybe powder that had escaped, is that consistent with being an eighth of an inch away or a quarter of an inch away or what?

SIEWERT: Yes, it was consistent with the muzzle touching the garment itself.

O'MARA: OK. And that you could tell because there was some tearing itself, that is the way that a projectile at that range rips through the fabric?

SIEWERT: Yes. O'MARA: Did you do any examination to identify the distance that the bullet traveled before it hit Mr. Martin's chest?

SIEWERT: No. I only examined the clothing for distance determination.

O'MARA: May I have a moment, your honor?


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: So in any criminal trial that involves gunfire, you have an expert who talks about the mechanics. But this goes further. Let's listen.

O'MARA: Do you involve yourself then, ever to your experience with FTLE (ph), to actually look at the injury or flesh wound occurring by a bullet entering it?

SIEWERT: No. I do examination of clothing.

O'MARA: OK. So whenever the bullet, before it gets to the body, is where you stopped?

SIEWERT: Correct.

O'MARA: Your analysis?


O'MARA: Thank you. Your honor, no further questions.

NELSON: Thank you.

Any redirect?

JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: Just briefly, thank you.

Ms. Siewert, you were asked questions about whether or not that firearm could be used for self-defense. Could it also be used to commit a murder?

SIEWERT: The firearm can be used for any purposes.

O'MARA: We object, your honor. (INAUDIBLE) because that is speculation and would affect the ultimate fact before the jury. The ultimate question before the jury.

NELSON: Sustained.

GUY: You were asked about trigger pull. Can you give the members of the jury an idea of whether or not four pounds or a little bit more than four pounds is a relatively light or a relatively heavy trigger pull?

SIEWERT: Four and a half pounds is within the normal range of trigger pulls that I see in my case work.

GUY: So it's not a heavy trigger pull?

SIEWERT: No, it is not.

GUY: And you were asked questions about the firearm being fully loaded. Can you explain to the members of the jury that if the magazine's full and there's a live round in the chamber, on that particular firearm, what must a person do to expel a bullet?

SIEWERT: Pull the trigger to fire the gun at that point in time.

GUY: That's it? There's no other - there's nothing they have to turn off or adjust? You just pull the trigger?

SIEWERT: Correct.

GUY: All right. But they do make firearms with what you refer to as an external safety, right?


GUY: Can you explain to the jury just briefly how those work and the purpose of those?

SIEWERT: Sure. An external safety is a typically a button, a knob, something that you physically have to engage to prevent the firearm from firing.

GUY: And where is that - where are those typically located on the firearm?

SIEWERT: More times than not you'll find them right back here on either the left or the right side. But those are typically referred to as thumb safeties, as all you need is your thumb to disengage it or engage it.

GUY: And - but that firearm does not have any type of external safety?


GUY: All right. With the firearm in the condition that it is right now, unload, are you able to demonstrate for the jury how to pull the trigger and to make that sound?


GUY: Your honor, may she do that? May she demonstrate pointing it into the wall?


SIEWERT: I'll use my left just so you can see. (INAUDIBLE).

GUY: And that's all someone would need to do to fire a shot if it was fully loaded?

SIEWERT: Yes. GUY: Thank you, ma'am.

Judge, that's all I have.

NELSON: Thank you.

Any re-cross?

O'MARA: Very brief (ph) on that one point. This gun's safety mechanism requires that same amount of pull for every time you want to shoot the gun, correct?


O'MARA: You agree that there are other semiautomatic weapons, a number of them, where while the first shot may be a double action pull, the ones after that are single action, correct?

SIEWERT: Yes, there are some firearms designed that way.

O'MARA: And sig sauers are all that way? Colts are all that way, right?

SIEWERT: Some of them, yes.

O'MARA: OK. And what that means is while you can rack it and shoot with a four and a half, five pound pull our distance, every other one is featherweight, right?

SIEWERT: A single pound trigger pull is going to be lighter than a double action trigger pull. But when you have a firearm that's both single action, double action, pulling back on the slide and releasing while you chamber a cartridge will leave the pistol in a single action. So firing it that way will be the single action trigger pull, which will be lighter than a double.

However, a lot of these firearms also have what's called a decock safety, which is essentially another thumb where you depress it and it will allow the hammer to fall without causing the gun to fire. And then by pulling the trigger at that stage it's going to be a double action trigger pull while all remaining ones, if you do not decock, are going to be at the single action trigger pull, which is lighter.

O'MARA: So, with this gun, if I wanted to shoot it one time, four and a half inch pull, correct?

SIEWERT: Four and a half, to four and three quarter pass, yes.

O'MARA: All right, four and three quarter pound pull, correct?


O'MARA: And then the second shot, again, four and three quarter pound pull, correct?

SIEWERT: Yes. O'MARA: If I had my sig sauer .9mm with me, and I did the same thing, first one, let's say four and a half pound, correct? And -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge, I'm sorry, I'm just going to object to the relevance of a different firearm.

O'MARA: Well, any -

NELSON: Sustained.

O'MARA: Any other firearm that goes from double to single, I think you probably could --

NELSON: The objection was sustained.

O'MARA: I'm - now I'm moving on to the next question.

NELSON: But we're still talking on firearms other than this firearm.

O'MARA: Well, she has now identified, if I might be heard.

NELSON: I know, but the objection is relevance. That objection is sustained.

O'MARA: Then this firearm's additional safety measures, is that each pull has to be the full pull, correct, as opposed to shifting to single action after the first pull?

SIEWERT: That's a design feature of a pistol that's either only single action or only double action, where it has the same trigger pull for each shot.

O'MARA: Which means - which means that even the second, third or fourth shot require a full four and a half to four and three quarter pound pull?

SIEWERT: Yes. Each pull of the trigger requires the same amount of force.

O'MARA: And that is different than it would be if it was a single action, correct?


O'MARA: Thank you.

Nothing further, your honor.

NELSON: Any re-redirect?


NELSON: May Ms. Siewert be excused?


NELSON: Thank you very much. You are excused. Please put the lock back on the firearm and put it in the box.

Ladies and gentlemen, we're going to go ahead and break for lunch. During lunch you're not to discuss the case amongst yourself 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 use any type of an electronic device to go on the Internet to do independent research about the case, people, places, things or terminology and you're not to read or create any e-mail, text messages, twitters, tweets, blogs or social networking pages about the case. Do I have your assurances that you will abide by these instructions?


NELSON: OK. There's something different going for lunch today, so I'm going to give you some extra time. If - we will be back at 1:45. Please put your note pads face down on the chairs and enjoy your lunch.


BANFIELD: I have listened to the admonition hundreds and hundreds of times. And as we get more in tuned with social media, the admonition gets longer and more detailed. No Twitter, no Tweets, no nothing. And she is great at doing this, Judge Debra Nelson, reminding this jury, don't watch the TV, don't read your tweets, don't do anything other than what you're hearing in this courtroom.

And what you just heard in this courtroom is a big part of a murder trial involving a handgun. And that is, how does the handgun work and how does it play into this particular crime? And what you were also able to see is the defense say, isn't this the kind of handgun that you would use in self-defense? And then you heard the prosecution say, isn't this also the kind of handgun that you would use in a murder? A big objection to that. And this has been a fascinating moment.

The great seal is on display. We're going to take a quick break right now. But if you see in the right-hand side of your screen our live bug on the shot of Cairo, the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people who are gathered there, things are developing at warp neck speed in Cairo. And after the break, I'm going to get you up to speed on that as well here on this program live on CNN.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. We're following the breaking news out of Egypt right now, major reports, potentially, of a significant confrontation between the Egyptian military and the democratically-elected president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi. Millions of people have been out on the streets protesting Morsi's rule over the past year.

Let's go Tahrir Square right now. CNN's Ivan Watson is on the scene for us. Set the scene, Ivan, because, as you know, there are reports that we may be in the midst, right now, of a military coup. What's the latest? IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): (Inaudible) Tahrir Square here, on the ground are -- we're having some technical difficulties, so I'm on the phone, and our videographer, Mary Rogers, will show you the scenes of euphoria here.

The people gathered here at the very least by the tens of thousands starting about an hour ago when rumors started coming out, unconfirmed, that the embattled elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was under some kind of a house arrest. That's what the crowd was saying.

His spokesmen have denied those reports to CNN in the last hour. But they have also started announcing on Facebook sites and on Twitter that a, in their words, full military coup is under way in Egypt right now.

There's no question that there's immense pressure on Mohamed Morsi, the candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood, by demonstrators like the ones that are gathered here that are calling for him to step down about a year after he was elected. That's three years short of the completion of his term.

The crowd here, Wolf, has been firing fireworks in the air. The cheers doubled when a military transport helicopter circled overhead at very low altitude just about a half hour ago.

And you can sense these people feel that they are on the verge of a major victory over the president of Egypt from the Muslim Brotherhood.


BLITZER: So it looks clearly like the Egyptian military has thrown that ultimatum and now they are implementing the threat that they made, what, within the past 48 hours to go ahead and, effectively, remove the president, Mohamed Morsi, if he didn't abide by the demands, including a call for early elections.

We want to welcome our viewers not only here in the United States but around the world who are watching us right now on CNN and CNN International.

I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting from Washington. Ivan Watson is on the ground in Tahrir Square.

Ivan, do we know where the president, Mohamed Morsi, is right now, in which palace he may be holed up and if, in effect, he is under house arrest?

WATSON (via telephone): I do not know at this time where Mohamed Morsi is. We've spoken with one of his spokesman, Jahad al-Hadad (ph), who has denied that Mohamed Morsi is under any kind of house arrest, but he has also issued a tweet, saying that, quote, "There's a full military coup under way now in Egypt."

Now the people here, Wolf, will angrily dispute those types of claims and that characterization of that. They say this is the will of people, they claim, and that the army and the military is simply protecting the people.

The polarization in Egypt right now is like nothing I've ever seen before, the people here denouncing Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. They're calling them terrorists, and it's all the more surprising because some of the people I've talked to here voted for Morsi a year ago.

Meanwhile, I was at a Muslim Brotherhood gathering earlier this morning and there the Muslim Brotherhood supporters were calling the people we're looking at right now in Tahrir Square infidels, followers of the deposed dictator, Hosni Mubarak, and (inaudible), as if that is a pejorative term.

So it gives you a sense that two groups of people ,barely two miles apart as the crow flies, do not like each other right now and have fought each other with deadly results, at least 18 people killed, according to the Egyptian health ministry here in Cairo in clashes overnight.


BLITZER: All right, Ivan, stand by for a moment.

Christiane Amanpour, our chief international correspondent, is watching what's going on as well. Christiane, who would have thought within the past year that it would come down to this? In effect, it looks like the military is doing what the Egyptian military has done several times over the past 80 years, taking steps to effectively crush the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, what we know right now because we've had communications from a main Muslim Brotherhood spokesman in Egypt in Cairo near the pro-Morsi rallies.

He's told us that he's looking out his window and military vehicles, he says, are moving toward the pro-Muslim -- or the pro-Morsi demonstrations.

He's obviously calling it a coup. Muslim Brotherhood people have been saying over the last 48 hours that the military's ultimatum amounted to a coup, but now he is telling us that he's seeing military vehicles move towards those pro-Morsi demonstrations where he is in a different neighborhood of Cairo than, obviously, where the Tahrir Square, anti- Morsi demonstrations are taking place.

I think we need to be extremely observant of the fact, right now, that there are two huge competing demonstrations going on. This is by no means a whole nationwide story. Not everybody is on the same page, and we simply don't know where this is going.

We do not know where exactly President Morsi is. We're told by various security officials that he's still working in the so-called Republican Guard, but we don't know whether he's allowed to leave.

We've heard from the military, the latest from them on their Facebook page, is that they have confirmed they've been meeting with, quote, "national youth and other politicians, religious groups" and that they will soon have their statement.

Now their deadline for the ultimatum is about one hour and 23 minutes old, and we still have not heard from the military, but we are being told that there are military vehicles moving towards one element of Cairo right now.

BLITZER: Yeah, I just want to point out, on the left part of the screen, are the thousands, hundreds of thousands, who have gathered at Tahrir Square who are clearly anti-the president, Mohamed Morsi; on the right, his supporters, largely from the Muslim Brotherhood.

And let's not forget, Christiane, it was a year or so ago that Mohamed Morsi was elected, democratic elections. His party got 52 percent. The opposition got 48 percent, the country pretty much split since then.

But from what I understand is a lot of those folks who voted for Morsi have had second thoughts since then, given the economic ruin the country is going through right now and the severe -- the other severe problems that the Egyptians are facing.

AMANPOUR: Well, that's clearly what's happening. This is the third time there have been these huge rallies in Egypt, first to bring down Mubarak, then to insist that the military rulers at the time move back into their barracks and now what you have is them against Morsi. It was Morsi who had pushed the military rulers back into their barracks shortly after his election, and he was heralded by the people for having done that.

Now, in the year since he was president, they believe, at least a good number, maybe half the country, which is out on the streets, believe that he's squandered that year in power, that not only is the economy a mess, but so is security. But also they believe that he has tacked solely to the Islamist base and that they feel that there's no inclusion.

You can hear huge cheers going up. I know that there have been military helicopters flying over the Tahrir Square demonstration. And, as I say, Morsi's people are saying that a coup is under way right now.

We still do not know. We have not heard publicly from the military yet. They are telling us that they will make their statement after their meetings are over, but we haven't heard them, even though we're told they have taken over at least the operational aspects of the state television there.

Also we do know that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel here in the United States has called his Egyptian opposite number, al-Sisi, who is the chief of the Egyptian army and defense minister.

We do not know exactly when that conversation took place, apparently yesterday, and we're not being told the substance of that conversation. But this is an incredibly tense moment. It's by no means clear that whatever happens will be peaceful, and it is by no means clear what the road map to the future is.

BLITZER: As you know, Christiane, the Egyptian military -- over the past 48 hours when that deadline came and went about three hours or so ago, within Cairo, the Egyptian military now taking actions against Mohamed Morsi, the president of Egypt.

The Egyptian military has said he must step down. There must be early elections. In effect, they're -- they wanted to appoint an outside group of political leaders, if you will, technocrats, to rule Egypt over the coming months in advance of the elections, including Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

What do you think of that possibility?

AMANPOUR: Well, Wolf, to be frank, none of that is clear. And, in fact, in its ultimatum 48 hours ago, the military did not call on Morsi to step down. The military called on Morsi and the opposition to come to a solution to, quote, "meet the demands of the people."

And it was deemed that had not happened. The opposition refused, point-blank, to negotiate with Morsi. Morsi himself gave a defiant speech last night continuing to claim the legitimacy of the first democratically-held elections, which is true. He was democratically- elected.

But, obviously, people have said he's squandered that democratic mandate.

But today, just before this ultimatum expired, and it's one hour and 27 minutes since the ultimatum expired, just before then, Morsi posted to his Facebook a conciliatory message not saying that he was going to step down, saying he would stay, but that he would have a national unity government. He would pull in people from all over the political spectrum and that he would hold and arrange for fresh parliamentary elections within a few months.

That's what he said as well as hold meetings and the right talks to amend elements of the constitution.

That may be too little too late. We still don't know what the military is fully going to fully do, but it does seem the military vehicles in some way or another, for some reason or another, are on the street, and there may be some clashes in the neighborhood of where those military vehicles are, according to what we're being told, I'm being told right now.

BLITZER: Yeah, well, let's go to the scene, Christiane, good points.

Our Reza Sayah is right near Tahrir Square. Reza, tell our viewers where you are, what you're seeing, what you're hearing.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are overlooking Tahrir Square where the sun is going down here in Cairo. but the volume is turning up.

Remarkably, for the fourth consecutive day, Wolf, tens of thousands of people, maybe more, coming out here to demonstrate against President Mohamed Morsi, calling for his ouster.

Based on what we've seen throughout the day, it is very likely that in the coming hours we're going to be flooded with lots of rumors and statements that are vague and unclear.

We're going to do our best to verify these statements to figure out exactly what they mean. But we've seen a lot of mixed messages, and until an authority figure steps up in a televised address and clearly states what's happening, it's not clear what this country is going through.

Again, in the meantime, the protesters are filling Tahrir Square right now. And if you can take a step back and look at the past two and a half year, we could be nearing part two of the Egyptian revolution.

Remember, two and a half years ago, Egypt kicked out, booted out the dictator, Hosni Mubarak. In came Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist president, freely and fairly elected in Democratic elections.

But after a year, the opposition factions, the liberals, the moderates who accuse the president of imposing an Islamist agenda on Egypt and pushing aside all other voices, they feel that they are tantalizingly near and pushing him from power, and now much of Egypt waits to see what the coming hours bring, Wolf.

BLITZER: And, very quickly, Reza, we see a huge pro-Morsi crowd on the right part of our screen, a huge anti-Morsi crowd at Tahrir Square where you are on the left part of our screen, how close are these two groups, these thousands and thousands of pro- and anti-Morsi elements?

In other words, are they close enough that there could be direct physical clashes between them?