Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Zimmerman Trial Analysis
Aired July 3, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Crucial testimony in the Zimmerman trial. The gun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And that's all someone would need to do to fire a shot, if it was fully loaded?
AMY SIEWERT, FIREARMS ANALYST: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The hoodie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON WEST, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Do you know whose blood that was?
ANTHONY GORGONE, DNA ANALYST: I just got a partial DNA profile and that matched Trayvon Martin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The DNA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORGONE: This would be a buckle swab taken from George Zimmerman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I'll ask my experts where does the case stand right now as the prosecution begins to wind down its case. Also the Zimmerman trial in black and white. My exclusive with the man who defended O.J. Simpson in his murder trial. Robert Shapiro tells me whether he thinks Zimmerman should take the stand.
But I want to begin tonight with CNN's Martin Savidge, as always live for us outside the court live in Sanford, Florida.
Martin, another day, another gripping series of witnesses giving really what could be vital testimony, the gun, the DNA and so on. Tell me about what happened today. MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a lot of forensics, Piers. Experts and evidence. Much of the afternoon talking about DNA, specifically whose DNA was found where or not found. And the focus became upon the gun. The gun that George Zimmerman used to shoot 17- year-old Trayvon Martin. Remember George Zimmerman has said at one point Trayvon was he believed reaching for his gun and they have got a hand on it. So what did the DNA testing find? Take a listen.
WEST: The DNA you developed from the pistol grip of the defendant's gun, it was positive for blood, correct?
WEST: And then there was a mixture, the major matched the defendant, George Zimmerman?
WEST: And you were able to exclude Trayvon Martin as having DNA on the pistol grip, is that correct?
GORGONE: Yes, Trayvon Martin was excluded as being a possible contributor to this mixture on the grip.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Simply put, it means that Trayvon Martin's DNA was not found on that gun, and that could, of course, hurt the defense -- Piers.
MORGAN: Yes, we sort of -- we thought that was the case, but I guess what we saw today was incontrovertible evidence under oath, that is likely to have been the case. Where are we left then in terms of George Zimmerman's claim that his life was at risk?
SAVIDGE: Yes, well, you know, we should point out, of course, that the jury here, most of them came in with a very limited knowledge of this case. We know it all. We discuss it all every night. They did not know what the DNA test results were. So for them this was truly new information.
How they digest it and what they get from it that remains to be seen. But, you know, self-defense is still the maintaining issue here that the defense is putting out, and they believe that they had held up very well despite the very worst that the prosecution has delivered. The prosecution is not quite done, but they are pretty close -- Piers.
MORGAN: They're not quite done but may have their trump card up their sleeve because I saw one of the family attorneys, Ben Crump, on Anderson's just now saying it's very likely that Trayvon's mother and brother may both give evidence on Friday. Now that could be highly emotional, very difficult to cross examine, I would have thought. The mother of a young dead teenager.
How effective could that be for ending the prosecution's case? They're going into a weekend, 48 hours for that jury to think about it before the defense really get a chance to come back?
SAVIDGE: Yes. Extremely powerful. And in fact that's probably the way it's going to play out. That's what most legal minds have been following here. I mean, just think of it, I mean, you would have the brother but then on top of that you have Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, who gets up there and says yes, the voice that you hear screaming for help is my son.
And that's just seconds before he dies. It would be so powerful for that jury to hear it. On top of that, there is nothing the defense can do. They are not about to cross examine a grieving mother, you just simply cannot. So, you know that that is how the prosecution will end it and most likely let the jury think about it for Saturday and Sunday, over the weekend -- Piers.
MORGAN: Right, and the word down there -- I think, Martin, is this could all be over even as early as next week, and early part of the week after. So this is coming to a dramatic end.
Martin Savidge, thank you very much indeed.
Trayvon Martin's parents have been sitting in the courtroom day after day, of course listening to testimony about the last moments of their son's life, but will they take the stand?
Joining me now is Natalie Jackson, an attorney for the Martin Family.
Natalie, welcome back to you.
NATALIE JACKSON, MARTIN FAMILY CO-COUNSEL: Thanks for having me.
MORGAN: I heard Ben Crump earlier suggesting that it's pretty likely that Sybrina Fulton and Trayvon's brother will both take the stand. Is that the case?
JACKSON: Well, you know, there has to be a voice identification of that screams. And I think that those are the best candidates for that. We heard the audio expert say that in this type of case with a limited amount of data that they have that the best person to identify who is screaming on that tape will be someone familiar with the voice.
MORGAN: There's been a lot of criticism of the prosecution from legal experts, and you'll have heard a lot of this, that you haven't collectively established enough incontrovertible evidence to get a murder charge against George Zimmerman. How do you feel as you approach the end of the prosecution?
JACKSON: I disagree with that. I think that they still have closing arguments where they'll tie all the loose ends and they have also rebuttal if the defense puts on a case. So here, the -- the trial isn't over and I think that we haven't seen them tie up loose ends, and I've seen some loose ends that I know will be tied up in closing.
MORGAN: It's interesting talking to Martin Savidge there, that of course, although we in the media and indeed you on the legal side, have all had great knowledge of this case, it was probably the first time today that the jury actually heard evidence directly from an expert -- forensic expert there was no Trayvon DNA on that gun. How significant was that moment in court do you think today?
JACKSON: I think it's very significant because we also heard evidence there was no George Zimmerman DNA on Trayvon's hands or under his fingernails or on the cuffs of his sleeve. And we've seen a bloody picture of George Zimmerman. There also was no DNA of -- of Trayvon except for a few spots on George Zimmerman's jacket. So I think that's very important because I think the jury is going to wonder why are Trayvon's hands not -- you know, they don't have the DNA and why the gun doesn't have DNA.
MORGAN: There's another theory that the prosecution case was from the very start destined to fail but you went for the murder charge because it was more likely that you could then get a lesser conviction of manslaughter. Is there any merit to that argument?
JACKSON: I think there is no merit to that because we've heard all these theories that the star witness of this case would be Jon Good or Rachel Jeantel, when all along George Zimmerman has given at least five statements. He is the star witness of this case. All you have to do is listen to the non-emergency call that he made where by his own admission he categorized Trayvon in the group of these A-holes and f-ing punks. And by his own admission, Trayvon Martin was running away from him and he got out of his car to follow. That is enough to show that he was the aggressor here.
COOPER: Natalie Jackson, thank you for joining me.
JACKSON: Thank you.
MORGAN: Well, maybe the biggest unanswered question in this case, will George Zimmerman take the stand? My next guest has a unique perspective on that.
Robert Shapiro defended O.J. Simpson in his murder trial and he joins me now exclusively.
Robert, good to see you.
ROBERT SHAPIRO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nice to see you.
MORGAN: What is the answer to that question, do you think?
SHAPIRO: Well, let me give you the background. First, it starts with the jury selection. Let me just ask you, Piers. Do you consider yourself a fair person?
SHAPIRO: And as a fair person before you make a decision you like to hear both sides of the story.
SHAPIRO: And I take it, you would like to hear my client, Mr. Zimmerman, tell his story? Would that be true?
MORGAN: That would be true.
SHAPIRO: Well, let me ask you something, while we're talking here, you're a professional but most people who would not be a professional, if I'm asking you questions that are on television, would you think you'd be a little bit nervous?
MORGAN: I mean, I wouldn't be, but I understand that having interviewed many, many people that most people are quite nervous.
SHAPIRO: OK. And as quite nervous, do you think people interpret somebody's being nervous as perhaps not being truthful?
MORGAN: Or being overly defensive.
SHAPIRO: Or being overly defensive.
MORGAN: And for that reason, there is nothing to gain by putting Zimmerman on the stand given we already have five different effective statements from him?
SHAPIRO: So I would first make sure that every one of the jurors understood that the decision to take the stand is going to be my decision, and the reasons why I wouldn't have somebody take the stand, just being nervous, perhaps that alone would make you think maybe he's not being truthful.
SHAPIRO: Maybe he's not being forthright. On the other hand, we established the fact that people want to hear both sides of the story. So then I would talk to the jurors and say in a simple case you get to do that. That's the way fair justice happens but only money is at stake. In a criminal case, the burden of proof is on the prosecution and it never ever changes. So we're not required to do anything.
MORGAN: Is there anything to be gained, Robert, by Zimmerman taking the stand given the amount of material from his own mouth that we've already heard?
MORGAN: What is that?
SHAPIRO: The jury can see him, look him in the eye, and that's the best way to make a determination if you're believing that person was actually in fear for his life.
MORGAN: How much could the defense's decision on this process and indeed, George Zimmerman's, rest potentially on Trayvon's family taking the stand? Because that could be a very powerful moment. It could be the moment when the balance, if you'd like, in this trial switches back to the prosecution case. Could that be a tipping point for them to say, we've got to have George up there? SHAPIRO: You know, it is so hard to evaluate. Obviously, when the family members testify and the defense then gets a chance to cross examine, what I would probably do is say, other than offering my sympathies, I have no further questions of you.
MORGAN: Right, because you can't win a cross-examination of a grieving mother, right?
SHAPIRO: Or of any relative of a victim. That just is not going to work. And so now the defense is really faced with a dilemma. Zimmerman has, in fact, testified. He's testified on the video. He's testified on the audio. He's been interviewed by the police who gave their version of his testimony. So the jury at least knows his story.
It would be icing on the cake if they heard it from him, but there is tremendous risk, and that is anxiety, nervousness, inconsistencies. You say something a little bit different than you said it before. And the other thing is that chair is the most difficult chair in the world to sit in. I don't care how good a witness you are, you could be a cop that has testified --
MORGAN: I gave -- I gave evidence once in a court case in Britain. It was terrifying. Five hours on the stand with a top lawyer coming at me like a 10-ton truck and I -- even though I had a lot of experience in courtrooms as a reporter, I found it a terrifying experience.
SHAPIRO: And that's true with everybody, and you're a professional, and most people, they get up there and they are scarred.
MORGAN: What is your view of how the prosecution has done so far? A lot of lawyers I've been hearing and Mark Geragos have been very vocal about this, saying, he think they've been so bad it's almost like they deliberately want to throw the murder charge knowing they can't get it so they get the manslaughter.
SHAPIRO: Here's what happens in these types of cases. The prosecution generally overcharges in a case that's a high-profile case, and the other thing is they over try the case. They call many witnesses that are totally unnecessary. They call a witness to tell you that if you hit your head on the ground, you may bleed. That insults the jury.
MORGAN: Have they ever played the hand, do you think? Well, have they overcharged to start with?
SHAPIRO: I think they have overcharged.
MORGAN: Really, it should have been a manslaughter charge.
SHAPIRO: Absolutely. Absolutely.
MORGAN: Would have had more chance of winning.
SHAPIRO: I mean, there -- I haven't heard any evidence whatsoever that there is malice on the part of George Zimmerman. MORGAN: What about the tape, though --
MORGAN: What about the tape when he says these punks, these A-holes, and so on? He's clearly in his head identifying Trayvon Martin who he doesn't know at all as a potential A-hole punk. Isn't that malice? Isn't that intent there to think badly of this person?
SHAPIRO: Well, malice is a legal term. It's not a generic term and legal malice is that you do have ill will towards someone.
MORGAN: Isn't that ill will?
SHAPIRO: I think it possibly could be interpreted by people as ill will, but it -- again, you have the reasonable doubt standard that you have to get over. Could it be? Yes. Is it --
MORGAN: But without -- see, here's my point, Robert. Without George Zimmerman looking at Trayvon Martin and thinking A-hole, f-ing punk, and so on, and getting out of his car despite the police telling him on the car you don't need to follow him, he in his head -- he's, you know, he's a busy body neighborhood watch guy. He's got his gun, he wanted to be a cop. He didn't quite make it.
This is one of his moments and he's had quite a few of them. He didn't need to do any of that stuff. But in his head he's thinking A- hole punk. And I keep coming back to that. That is what with racial profiling or just profiling of this is a bad person, he's still coming at him with malicious intent, isn't he?
SHAPIRO: I don't know but that's going to be the question.
MORGAN: Is that a key question?
SHAPIRO: That is a key question and that's what the lawyers are going to be arguing in their closing argument and that's what the jury is going to be sitting on and deciding. They're going to decide two things. They're going to decide whether as a matter of law, there was malice and whether or not they believe Zimmerman's testimony that it was self-defense.
MORGAN: Do you believe him?
SHAPIRO: I haven't heard him testify directly --
MORGAN: From what you've seen in the statements and the interviews?
MORGAN: We're in Los Angeles. A lot of people fearing that if there is no conviction at all here, there could be race riots and so on. Do you feel that it's as a motive, as, say, the O.J. Simpson case?
SHAPIRO: You know, I don't want to compare anything to the Simpson case and I don't really talk about the Simpson case. This is a highly strung divisive case. It's divided among African-Americans and Caucasians, unfortunately, and I just hope that people believe in the jury system, that they don't judge people on moral guilt. They judge people on legal guilt. And if they do, and they believe in our system of justice, then hopefully we'll have a peaceful ending of this.
MORGAN: Final question, Robert and briefly, if I may. The Stand Your Ground law, which actually hasn't been used in the end in this case but could have been potentially at one stage, does that have any place really in a modern civilized society? Is it just not an excuse for almost every gang banger thug in America to say hey, I was just acting in self-defense?
SHAPIRO: You know, we're going to see the opposite side of that in the Oscar Pistorius case where in South Africa you cannot use deadly force unless deadly force is being used upon you.
SHAPIRO: So I agree with you.
MORGAN: Robert Shapiro, fascinating. Thank you very much.
SHAPIRO: Thank you.
MORGAN: Come back soon.
When we come back, the state is closing in at the end of the case. What does the jury think?
And later, Egypt's president is out, but is it a coup? We'll go live to Cairo.
MORGAN: The prosecution is almost done with its case. Did it convince the jury of Zimmerman's guilt, though? Let's bring in an expert. Alex Ferrer is a former Florida circuit court judge and host of "Judge Alex." Welcome back to you, Judge Alex.
ALEX FERRER, HOST, JUDGE ALEX: Thank you.
MORGAN: Where are we now? The prosecution is about to win, but as I said earlier, a potential trump card, the highly emotion testimony of both Trayvon Martin's mother and his brother. How significant could that be in tipping the scales back in the favor of the prosecution case?
FERRER: I think it can be significant in the sense that it's going to be very emotional testimony. I -- no doubt it's going to have a huge impact on the jury to hear Trayvon's mother testifying. I'm sure she will probably break down, as you would imagine. My mother actually lost two sons, so I know how horrible and tragic it is to lose a child.
But will it add any elements to the case? No, it will not add any elements. The ill will, hatred, spite, and evil intent is still noticeably absent. Those two phrases that were uttered just do not do it in Florida because they have to be inextricably tied to the act that resulted in the death. And there is this huge intervening cause here, which is that fight.
So I don't see them getting second-degree murder through, and I don't see the elements for manslaughter. But what it could do is motivate a jury that otherwise wasn't going to convict to say you know what, this is so tragic that even though they haven't proven the case, we won't go with murder, but we're not going to walk him, and we'll go with manslaughter as a compromise --
MORGAN: Tell me this.
FERRER: (INAUDIBLE) that's another question.
MORGAN: Right. See to me, looking at this dispassionately, if you ended up with a manslaughter conviction and he got two to three years in jail, I might stand back and go you know, that's pretty a fair conclusion to a very complex case. I don't think he's a cold-blooded murderer. But at the same time, I don't think he should get away with killing a 17-year-old unarmed boy.
But is that possible? Because from what I've been hearing so far, if he's convicted of manslaughter, he could get as much as 10 to 15 years because of Trayvon's age.
FERRER: I tend to believe it actually would be -- could be a lot more than that. I mean, what happens is under Florida law, manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years. But if the person is under 18 and it was actually -- this was actually charged as a crime against a minor, then it automatically goes up to 30 years as aggravated manslaughter. And also it can be enhanced to 30 year because of the use of a firearm.
So in my analysis, I believe he would face a maximum of 30, which would mean the minimum might be -- the minimum might be 10, 12 years. I would have to calculate it. And this judge may very well give him 20, 25. I have no idea what she's thinking.
MORGAN: Right. So it makes all the difference. So it makes it all different. It makes it different whether he's convicted of second- degree murder or manslaughter under that situation. So it really is all or nothing for George Zimmerman, isn't it?
FERRER: If it is enhanced the way I think it will be, they could win the battle and lose the war, absolutely.
MORGAN: Would you put him on the stand, particularly if the Trayvon family members' testimony is heart rendering and you sense the jury had been moved by him?
FERRER: Honestly, Piers, I just don't see any percentage in that. The jury's already heard his testimony. The -- you're just going to subject him to cross-examination on the inconsistencies, and there are inconsistencies but I'll tell you this: they are really minor. I press anyone to give a significant inconsistency here that sets aside his self-defense claim. And you run the risk of him looking nervous and being perceived as being a liar.
But when you look at the whole case, the inconsistencies in the state's prosecution has benefited in creating a doubt. The problem is that's what the defense is usually trying to do, create a doubt. The prosecution has to prove it beyond every reasonable doubt. And they are just so far short of that standard.
MORGAN: I mean, the real problem - and I've been saying this now for quite sometime, as have others -- is that the key witness, the one who could really answer all the unanswered questions is dead, is Trayvon Martin. You take --
MORGAN: -- him out of the equation because he can't give evidence and you're left with just George Zimmerman's word of what happened.
FERRER: And that's not the prosecution's fault and that's not the family's fault and that's nobody's fault. I mean, the prosecution is playing the hand they were dealt. I read an article that was wondering whether the prosecution was intentionally throwing this case. I guarantee you they are not intentionally throwing the case. They're fighting to make a silk purse out of a sausiere (ph).
Many times we see cases like where the prosecution believes they know a crime was committed but they just don't have the evidence. And they can't create it; they have to work with what they have. And that's why it looks like a bad case and that's why it looks like the prosecution is ineffective, because this was a case that probably was not brought for the right reason. They knew they couldn't get a conviction, and then somebody thought better and said we have to prosecute this case.
MORGAN: Final question and briefly, Judge Alex, we're expecting potentially a decision maybe as early as next week, certainly the early part of the week after. What do you think that will be?
FERRER: If I was looking at it from a pure legal standpoint, I would say an acquittal. If I'm looking at it from an emotional standpoint after hearing from his mother, perhaps the jury will reach a compromise verdict. They're not supposed to do that. If the evidence isn't there, it's not there. But it certainly happens that they do things like that, so it could be a manslaughter.
I think if it comes back with the second-degree murder, if the evidence doesn't change in the next day -- and let's face it, the fat lady may not be singing but she's certainly clearing her throat at this point, there isn't much more to put on. I just don't see a second-degree murder conviction being upheld on appeal and maybe not even a manslaughter for what we've seen so far.
MORGAN: Judge Alex, as always, compelling. Thank you very much indeed.
And when we come back -
FERRER: Thank you.
MORGAN: -- after the break, a new panel of experts to give their opinion on what they think will happen with what is a gripping case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. ALEXIS CARTER, ZIMMERMAN'S FORMER INSTRUCTOR: The fact alone that there isn't an injury doesn't necessarily mean that the person did not have a reasonable apprehension of fear.
RICHARD MANTEI, ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A laugh and a rare show of emotion from George Zimmerman, but what did the jury think of it? I want to ask my legal experts. Civil rights attorney Gloria Allred. Also Rod Vereen, he's the attorney for the prosecution's star witness, Rachel Jeantel. And Brian Copeland, the host of The Brian Copeland Show on KGO Radio in San Francisco and author of "Not A Genuine Black Man."
Welcome to all three of you. And Gloria, may I wish you a very happy birthday.
GLORIA ALLRED, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Thank you very much, Piers.
MORGAN: Twenty-six again.
ALLRED: Thank you.
MORGAN: Let's start if I may with you, Rod Vereen, because your client was obviously one of the key witnesses here. We're approaching the end of the prosecution case. Many people, legal people, criticizing the prosecution for just not establishing hard enough George Zimmerman's murderous intent.
ROD VEREEN, RACHEL JEANTEL'S ATTORNEY: Well, I think it's very important. First of all, the prosecution has an uphill battle with regard to presenting the evidence sufficient to establish all of the elements necessary for a conviction. Let's look at it, first of all, that way.
With regard to the evidence that has been presented, taking away or not taking away from what has been presented today when the jury has to consider the element of ill will, spite, evil intent, they need to go to the tapes that were played to try to get into the mind of George Zimmerman. And so they had the good start from that point, you know, and tried to figure out what is it he was thinking about what he first decided to confront Trayvon Martin. And you've had -- he's had a number of statements that have been introduced into evidence. So they need to go through these statements and decide for what it is that they believed he was thinking about when he first confronted Trayvon, and if they believe that he had an evil intent at the time that he confronted him, they may be able to meet the threshold with regard to the element sufficient to get a second-degree murder conviction in this case. If not, then they will be looking at possibly a manslaughter conviction.
MORGAN: OK. And if you're watching this, we got lots and lots of tweets about this. Tweet me at piersmorgan and give me your views. It's a very contentious case. It's dividing a lot of opinion.
Gloria, here's the point that I keep coming back to. I don't think George Zimmerman set out to murder Trayvon Martin. I just don't. And I've seen no evidence to suggest he did. But do you see enough evidence that he saw this young man and thought he's trouble, and I'm going to deal with him in some way? Had he not done that, Trayvon Martin would not be dead. Doesn't there have to be accountability for that?
GLORIA ALLRED, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Not necessarily in the criminal justice system. That's the problem. That's not sufficient to convict. And even if he followed him, and today, Captain Carter testified, someone for the prosecution who ultimately testified with some evidence or testimony that could be very compelling for the defense, that even if a person is an aggressor initially, and let's just assume for purposes of discussion, that in fact, George Zimmerman was the aggressor, that something can happen and that the person against whom he is aggressing, in this case Trayvon Martin, if you believe what some of the testimony is, then it's still -- he, the aggressor, could possibly under some circumstances claim self-defense.
He could, as a matter of law, claim that. So that would not be sufficient even if he were the aggressor. Even if he shouldn't have gotten out of his car to convict him.
Let me turn to you, Brian Copeland. You wrote a very powerful book. "Not A Genuine Black Man: My Life as an Outsider." You talked about growing up in San Leandro, California, and being stopped repeatedly by police officers. And this, I guess, cuts to the other part of this case that has divided so much opinion, is it clearly in his mind, George Zimmerman saw a young black boy, young man, walking around and thought trouble. He profiled him just as trouble.
We know that from the way he described him in the call to police. In the same time you've got what Trayvon Martin said when he -- knew he's being followed by George Zimmerman, which was that he was a creepy ass cracker, and so on. On both sides, you have fear and distrust.
Now you grew up with a lot of fear and distrust. Tell me about that.
BRIAN COPELAND, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I grew up in San Leandro, California, which borders open to the south. We moved there in the early 1970s at the time when it was 99.99 percent white. It was a white flight destination from Oakland and other major cities in the area as they were becoming more and more diverse. And the problem is in communities like that, the face of crime is young and black, and so that being the case, you are a suspect just by walking down the street. And I think that that's the fundamental question we have to answer in terms of the verdict for this case and that is, can an African- American male, a young African-American male walk down the street in a neighborhood where he, quote-unquote, doesn't belong without being looked at as a suspect? And this whole idea that you can kill somebody if you are afraid of them, well, you know, there -- as I said, there are a lot of people that look at the basic crime as being young and black, so they are afraid of you from the moment that they set eyes on you. If that's the defense then we are in real, real trouble.
MORGAN: Yes, I mean, Rod Vereen, you know, I do agree with a lot of that. I do think that there's something fundamentally wrong with the justice system that allows George Zimmerman to basically play the cop he always wanted to be but wasn't and to act like a vigilante, go after this guy who's unharmed, minding his own business, had no harmful intent that we can deduce at all and ends up -- and ends up dead.
I just don't think that you can be completely unaccountable for that. There has to be some form of justice for Trayvon Martin, doesn't it?
COPELAND: Absolutely. And you have to look at the fact, as well, that, you know, George Zimmerman has lied. George Zimmerman has lied. He says Trayvon Martin reached for his gun. Had his gun, he had to break the grasp -- Trayvon's grasp off the gun, yet there's none of Trayvon's DNA on the gun. He's lied about how many times his head was supposedly banged against the concrete. If his head was banged against the concrete 25 times, why did it only take two band-aids in order to take care of the wounds?
He was -- you know, got out of the car and supposedly -- put away his cell phone and then was attacked by Trayvon, yet the phone records show that Trayvon was on the phone for a full two minutes after Zimmermann hung up -- hung up his phone. So, you know, and on top of that, if you look at the interview he gave to Hannity, he has no remorse, he is not repentant. There's no contrition whatsoever. He claims that it was God's will.
You know, there's got to be some kind of accountability here. You can't make it open season on young people, particularly young African- American males because you are afraid.
MORGAN: OK. Let me bring in -- let me bring in Gloria.
I mean, this comes back to your point, though, that we're talking about a criminal action here in a criminal court. That is a different ball game, just as even in a civil action, right?
ALLRED: Absolutely. And of course, it is absolutely tragic that there is a 17-year-old who is dead. I mean, there is no dispute about that. The problem is there are legal standards and the challenges for the defense to prove that George Zimmerman had a reasonable belief that he was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.
It's not enough that many African-American teenagers, in fact, are targeted sometimes because of their race in certain parts of their country -- of this country. It has to be proven that in this case, George Zimmerman did not act in a way that is going to constitute legally self-defense. That's the challenge.
MORGAN: Let me bring back, Rod. Final word from you, if I may. In a funny way, I would put George Zimmerman on the stand if I was the defense particularly if we have very emotional heart-rending testimony coming from Trayvon's family on Friday because Zimmerman could put up a very good eloquent case for how his own life is being destroyed by this. He could express a remorse that he has not had a chance to so far, perhaps. And he could explain to a jury, look at them straight in the eye, why he did what he did all over again, and that in itself could be quite powerful and could help him.
VEREEN: Well, let me just say if I was representing Mr. Zimmerman, I would not put him on the stand. One, he has given a number on statements that in some parts have been inconsistent and, you know, I've heard so far a couple of attorneys say that it is their decision whether the client takes the stand and testifies or not, and that is absolutely untrue.
In every case, it is the defendant who makes a final decision as to whether or not he testifies. In state court, if he wants to testify and his lawyers stops him from testifying, that lawyer will be facing the Rule 3.850, a motion to set aside that conviction based on ineffective assistance of counsel. If it happens in federal court that lawyer will be facing --
ALLRED: You know, I would agree.
VEREEN: That lawyer would be facing a motion which would be referred to as post conviction motion filed under 2255.
ALLRED: You know I --
VEREEN: But what most do when the defendant decides he does not want to testify is that he will or she will colloquy the defendant to make sure and be satisfied that it is the defendant who's making the ultimate decision not to testify and not the attorney.
ALLRED: And it should be --
VEREEN: But as a representative --
ALLRED: I agree -- I agree with that.
ALLRED: I agree with that and I think it's just from the defense's point of view, I think it will be far, far too risky to do it. Here are two reasons why George Zimmerman should not testify. One, Jody Arias. She testified and testified and testified, and was convicted. Two, O.J. Simpson. He did not testify in his criminal case, he was acquitted. He did testify in his civil case, and as a result of his testifying, the jury in the civil case found that he was liable for the death of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
ALLRED: So here's -- so if you do a risk analysis, risk versus benefit, generally it comes out that the defendant should not testify.
MORGAN: Gloria Allred, Rod Vereen and Brian Copeland, thank you all very much, indeed.
When we come back, breaking news on the revolution in Egypt. The nation's first democratically elected president ousted by the military and reportedly under house arrest tonight. Thousands of protesters refuse to leave the streets of the capital. We'll go live to Cairo. That's next.
MORGAN: Breaking news in Egypt. Chaos on the streets of Cairo tonight and the former president under house arrest as supporters reportedly being been rounded up.
CNN's Ben Wedeman and Ivan Watson are live for us in Cairo.
Ben Wedeman, let me start with you. My question really is, what on earth is going on now in Egypt? Who is in charge?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are very much the strongest institution in the country and they laid down the law 48 hours ago to Mohamed Morsy and the opposition saying, that if you don't get your act together, you're out and we're in, and what happened was last night we heard a speech from Mohamed Morsy who, as he made it clear, that he wasn't going to give in to their ultimatum.
And the army is an institution here in Egypt you don't trifle with. He trifled with it and we see the result now.
MORGAN: Ivan Watson, you know, we have here the first democratically elected president of Egypt, depose in a year by what many are calling a coup, others are saying it's an inappropriate word because the military have effectively acted on behalf of the people. But where does it leave democracy in Egypt, the democracy that everyone celebrated with the Arab spring now looks to be in taters?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a good question. And certainly the electoral process has been shaken, if not smashed, because now the question comes up the next president who comes in, if people get frustrated because there are fuel shortages or some other complaint, can they just come out into the streets and protest and topple that person when they get sick of them?
And that is an argument that the people who are still firing fireworks here behind us, they don't seem to really want to hear that. When you mention the word coup to them, many of them get very angry and they insist that this is not a coup, that the army is simply carrying out the will of the people who got very frustrated at undemocratic moves that were being made by the President Morsy himself. Of course, his backers are very much calling this a military coup and there are some signs to suggest it is because we're getting reports that the military and the security services are shutting down the Muslim Brotherhood media outlets, and rounding up top officials in the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Mohamed Morsy himself. That looks an awful lot like the symptoms of a coup.
MORGAN: Right, I mean, Ben Wedeman, one of the reasons they don't want to say it's a coup, is it, there are billions of U.S. dollars at stake here which may or may not depend on whether people interpret it like that. President Obama issued a statement tonight, and said, "The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt. We believe ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people, and I've also directed the relative departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the government of Egypt."
So a clear warning there, I would say, from the White House that unless people are very careful about how this non-coup plays out, then the funding, the billions of dollars from America could be at risk.
WEDEMAN: I don't think that funding is at risk because fundamentally U.S. interests are better served by the military than by a Muslim Brotherhood president, a president who has come out and said some very embarrassing things in the past. For instance, saying that Jews are the relatives -- the offspring of apes. That sort of thing is embarrassing for the United States.
Keep in mind that the military has a very long relationship with the United States going back to the '70s. Many of the senior members of the Egyptian officer corps received training in the United States are on first-name basis with many of their American counterparts and therefore it's unlikely that this relationship is going to be ruptured by whatever happened today, coup or popular coup, people's coup, whatever you want to call it.
And the United States has invested billions in billions of dollars in the Egyptian military. They're not about to let it go simply because what happened today doesn't quite fit into their dictionary.
MORGAN: And Ivan Watson, is one of the problems, as with Iraq, as with Afghanistan, is that whoever takes charge when we try and implement any kind of Western-style democracy refuses to do business with their rivals, and until you have a more inclusive government in somewhere like Egypt, you're just going to have this problem recurring all the time.
WATSON: Well, and that's one of the big complaints about Mohamed Morsy during his short year in office. Many of the critics, in fact, one Egyptian I spoke with today who said he voted for Morsy and now supports this move to topple Morsy, the big criticism they had was hey, we thought this guy was going to come in and be a president for all Egyptians, but instead he seemed to very much focused on consolidating power and also reaching out only to people within the Muslim Brotherhood, and not crossing the ideological lines to other sectors of society. And it's very interesting that when the top military general made his announcement that Morsy was going to be replaced as president and that the constitution would be suspended, he kind of dressed up that presentation by inviting the head of the Coptic Christian Church, the top Muslim cleric in the country to sit alongside him.
And one of the chief liberal voices in Egypt, Mohamed ElBaradei, the Noble Peace Prize winner and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who is also a loud critic of the military in years past. So that was clearly a military effort to appear more inclusive and to reach out to other sectors of society while making this really momentous announcement that has transformed the political landscape here.
MORGAN: Yes, and Ben Wedeman, I mean, it's a crushing blow to the Muslim Brotherhood. It's deeply humiliating for them. We're now having reports tonight that their members have been rounded up, all their officials have been rounded up and arrested, and so on, in this non-coup, but then they're going to take this just lying down and doing nothing. There must be a real threat of violence, Islamic violence perhaps, by way of retribution for the way they have been treated.
WEDEMAN: Certainly. That is a definite possibility. Now back in the 1970s, the Muslim Brotherhood did officially renounce violence but the danger is, as has always been the case, is that there are splinter groups that are dissatisfied with the traditional leadership. So we saw in Egypt the creation the offsprings of El Gama'a El Islamiyya, Islamic jihad, some of these groups were involved in the 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat. They were involved in more than a decade-long urban war between these Islamic groups and the regime here. The regime of Hosni Mubarak.
So there's a definite danger that they're going to say look, we've been excluded from politics, we tried to play the game but we were driven out, our leaders were jailed, our media has been shut down, and this system isn't going to work for us. So we're going to destroy the system. I think that probably the majority of members of the Muslim Brotherhood may learn some lessons from this bitter experience.
But there are definitely some members who are going to say our leadership was too moderate, and it's time to take a harder approach and directly challenge power here in Egypt and challenge it with violence.
MORGAN: Ben Wedeman and Ivan Watson, thank you both very much indeed. Stay safe out there. It's clearly an unpredictable, tensely dangerous situation. And thanks for your terrific reporting.
Next, extreme weather for the Fourth of July. We'll tell you where the storms are heading. That's coming up next.
MORGAN: For many across America, Independence Day could bring a different kind of fireworks. We're talking extreme weather with powerful thunderstorms, scorching heat and heavy downpours.
CNN's Samantha Mohr is tracking all the dangerous weather for us.
Samantha, how bad is it going to be?
SAMANTHA MOHR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's already been pretty bad today across much of the Deep South, Piers. And here's the reason why. You can see it on the water vapor satellite imagery where you see the whites and the pinks and the greens, that's where we have tropical moisture being imported from the Gulf Coast all the way up into the Ohio Valley.
High pressure is building in from Bermuda, this is known as the Bermuda High, and it's bringing all that tropical moisture right and across Florida's Deep South and then up towards the Great Lakes.
And also what's happened here is kind of good news for the East Coast and the northeast. Actually drying out a little bit as high pressure is starting to build in to where you live. So that means fewer showers, fewer thunderstorms. You are finally getting a break. But now in the crosshairs is the Atlanta area. And we have seen rain all day long. Two to three inches across north Georgia.
We'll likely see those amounts tomorrow and then even into Friday, so we're expecting flooding all across the region. And into that middle Atlantic, these are improving in D.C. but you can see it's moving back to the west here across West Virginia and the Ohio Valley. That's where we'll see the showers and thunderstorms.
Peach Tree Road Race is tomorrow morning. It is a big road race down Peach Tree and we're going to end up seeing heavy rain at that time. They haven't called the race yet. They're going to go on and they're going to brave it out.
During fireworks, it's still unsettled across the Deep South, and that wet pattern continue into Friday. So we do have concerns about flooding. We've had flash flood warnings across the Atlanta area tonight, across north Georgia. And look at all the heavy rain. We're expected to see this through Friday. So we'll be keeping our eyes on the flooding conditions here as we head into the next 48 hours.
And remember, it only takes 18 inches of rain to move a car, an SUV. So these are the threats here. High threat in the pink, that is flash flooding and river flooding. So if you live in a flood zone, just be apprised of the situation.
We do have a threat from lightning, as well. So we'll be watching for the possible lightning threat. But as far as tornadoes, just a low threat. This is a tropical air mass, and if we do see any tornadoes, they will be very weak ones.
So high pressure is building in towards the west. That's going to dry out parts of the East Coast. Meanwhile the heat is still on here across the west and it's firecracker hot, Piers, with the heat on here. In fact, I almost can't even talk, my mouth is dry, as I look at these heat advisories. And that pattern is going to continue. In fact, it's going to stretch across the country as we head into the next few days. So that ridge of high pressure is going to broaden.
MORGAN: Samantha Mohr, thank you very much indeed. And we'll be right back after this short break.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. And to end, we're wishing you all a very happy Independence Day. Obviously, we Brits do not celebrate July the Fourth with quite the same enthusiasm. But I wish you a very good time anyway.
Anderson Cooper's CNN special, "Self-Defense or Murder: The George Zimmerman Trial" starts right now.