Return to Transcripts main page


George Zimmerman Trial Today; Testy Exchange Between Doctor And Defense; Attorney's Examined Medical Examiner's Notes; Continuing Coverage of the George Zimmerman Trial; Jobs Report Better than Expected

Aired July 5, 2013 - 13:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: -- take you back to the Florida courtroom live when they return from their lunch break. In the meantime, the last thing jurors heard before the recess was a very testy exchange between Zimmerman's attorney and the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on the body of Trayvon Martin. Dr. Hsiping Bao did not want his notes to be reviewed by attorney Don West. The doctor's testimony has been so contentious throughout cross- examination. In fact, let's play a portion of that exchange.


DON WEST, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: In other words, you know, from your training experience as a medical examiner, that if clothing is wet, it needs to be packaged in paper bags?


WEST: If plastic bags are used --

BAO: Actually, before we (INAUDIBLE) them, we would let them dry a little bit.

WEST: Did that happen in this case?

BAO: Again, I tell you, I do not know.

WEST: OK. So, the procedure would have been --

BAO: Yes.

WEST: -- to dry the clothing --

BAO: Yes.

WEST: -- and package it in paper.

BAO: Yes.

WEST: But you don't know if that's what happened here.

BAO: Yes. In this case, I do not remember. I cannot tell you anything -- WEST: You do know --

BAO: -- beyond my notes.

WEST: -- you do know, though, from the photograph of the sweatshirt, --

BAO: Yes.

WEST: -- the hooded sweatshirt, that it looked wet?

BAO: Yes.

WEST: So, it would be inappropriate and a violation of protocol to take a wet sweatshirt and seal it in a plastic bag?

BAO: There are no plastic bag other than the plastic bag to carry the body.

WEST: So, in other words, that you would never in your lab take a wet piece of clothing that's potentially evidence and seal it in a plastic bag?

BAO: If anybody do that, he'll be gone next day. He'll be fired.


WHITFIELD: All right. That was tape -- testimony a little bit earlier. Meantime, live pictures right now. We understand that Hsiping Bao is back on the witness stand. They are back now from their lunch break. You're looking at Don West, the defense attorney for George Zimmerman in these live pictures right now. And, of course, until they are able to begin testimony and have the microphones back on, we will take you back there live, including audio. Meantime, we're going to keep a watch on the ongoings there in the courtroom.

I want to bring in some analysis now from former prosecutor Sunny Hostin who has been in the courtroom throughout much of the testimony over the course of the past couple of weeks and criminal defense attorney Mark Nejame will be joining us from Sanford, Florida. We're going to first go to Sunny, if we can. So, we heard a little bit of that testimony one more time as a reminder to people just how contentious it became between the attorneys that who were cross examining Mr. Boa. And why is this relevant wet or dry evidence versus whether Mr. Bao can recall from his memory or needs notes? What is relevant here --


WHITFIELD: -- to jurors?

HOSTIN: -- well, there's no question that the defense wants to shake his credibility in front of the eyes of the jury, because I will tell you, having been in the courtroom, the jury seemed charmed by him. They seemed to like him. He was very analytical. And so, now the defense has to call his credibility into question. They are going to question him about these notes. I will tell you, it is so highly unusual, Fredricka, for a witness to draft these notes in preparation of testimony and never tell anyone. Witnesses just don't do that.

WHITFIELD: What do you mean by that?

HOSTIN: In fact, when I was prosecuting --

WHITFIELD: What do you mean? Meaning he should have submitted these notes to the prosecution and said that you're going to enter this into evidence? What do you mean by this?

HOSTIN: Yes, he -- I mean, anything that a witness is going to testify on the stand uses to refresh his recollection or in preparation for testimony is discoverable by the defense and by the prosecution. You have to turn that over especially if you're an expert witness. So, often times, other than the report and other than whatever documents that he or she relies upon, they don't make any notes. Prosecutors will often tell witnesses, you know, do I have everything? You don't need to make any other notes? We're good because the minute you start doing that, making other notes, you have to turn it over to the defense. So, the fact that this is happened is just so strange. I can't overestimate how strange it is. It just simply doesn't happen. He has been a witness qualified as an expert over 20 times I believe he's testified.


HOSTIN: But -- so, clearly, --

WHITFIELD: It's not that he's in unfamiliar territory?

HOSTIN: He must have been because it's just -- it's just -- it's just very odd --

WHITFIELD: All right.

HOSTIN: -- for a medical examiner to have done that.

WHITFIELD: Well, let me bring in Mark Nejame. He's in position there in Sanford as well. So, Mark, you know, is this an issue of shaking the credibility of the prosecution witness or, you know, is there some real strategy here beyond that? It, at the very least, seems like a distraction?

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's really a lot more than all that. First of all, one of the key points that the defense is bringing out is that how was -- how was the clothing wrapped and all? And we know from prior testimony that Gargone (ph), I think I'm pronouncing his name correctly, said that they were wrapped in plastic. We know that that can cause a deterioration or breakdown and it's not possible to get proper DNA and everything else from that. So, that relates all the way back to some of the prior testimony, very, very critical. That's why so much time was spent on was it paper or was it spent on -- or was it plastic? And then, as Sunny was just saying, look, everybody has work product. Work product, you're not going to turn over to somebody, but you don't bring it to court and refresh your memory on that because as soon as you look at it and you say, this is what I'm relying on to refresh my memory, boom, the other side's got it. I've used it against I can't tell you how many law enforcement officers who were not properly prepared by the state and that's what happened here. The M.E. brought it in, relied on it and they got caught and now the defense is going completely through their personal file.

WHITFIELD: Oh. So, it may take the jurors some time to digest what is taking place here, especially as attorneys are on sidebar right now, to digest exactly what this medical examiner's testimony means. When we come right back, Mark and Sunny, I want to ask you about the powerful testimony of Trayvon Martin's mother earlier today. We're going to take a short break for now and when we come back, more of the George Zimmerman trial, right after this.


WHITFIELD: All right. More on the George Zimmerman trial now. We continue to watch live pictures there. Testimony has not resumed as of yet but when it does, we'll go straight to it.

Meantime, I've got with me former prosecutor Sunny Hostin and criminal defense attorney Mark Nejame, again, to kind of reflect on what we have seen. We talked earlier about the medical examiner's testimony. He'll be making a return to the stand there to continue his testimony.

Meantime, earlier, we're talking about testimony that really goes to the heart of this case. And we're talking figuratively and literally, you have the mother, Sybrina Fulton, who talked about the loss of her son and identifying the voice on that 911 call. And, of course, you heard from the medical examiner who talks about the entry wound of the bullet to the heart of Trayvon Martin.

Earlier, we heard Sybrina Fulton talk about identifying her son knowing that this was her son that was on that gurney. Let's listen to her description of the tattoos on the body of her 17-year-old son.


MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You were asked about hope. Did you hope your son wouldn't be dead, Trayvon Martin? You were asked by defense counsel about hope. Were you still hoping that he would still be alive?

SYBRINA FULTON: I hoped he was still alive.

NEJAME: And I don't know how else to ask this. Did you enjoy listening to that recording?

FULTON: Absolutely not.

NEJAME: Thank you. No further questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, Miss Fulton -- yes.

O'MARA: (INAUDIBLE) another issue (INAUDIBLE) I don't mean to put you through this anymore than what's necessary or than we need to. But you certainly would hope that your son Trayvon Martin did nothing that could have led to his own death, correct?

FULTON: What was your question again?

O'MARA: You certainly hope -- as a mom, you certainly hope that your son, Trayvon Martin, would not have done anything that would have led to his own death, correct?

FULTON: What I hope for is that this would not have ever happened and he would still be here. That's what I -- that's my hope.

O'MARA: Absolutely. And now, dealing with the reality that he's no longer here, it is certainly your hope as a mom, hold out hope as long as you can, that Trayvon Martin was in no way responsible for his own death, correct?

FULTON: I don't believe he was.

O'MARA: I know. And that's the hope that you continue, correct?

FULTON: I don't understand what you're trying to ask me.

O'MARA: Honey (ph), I don't mean to put you through more than you need to. No other questions, your honor.


WHITFIELD: All right, well, that's a different moment than the tape I was calling for. But this one, too, pointed nonetheless, Sunny and Mark, now, we've the defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, there trying to make her testimony fit their strategy. What was the reaction of the jurors as you were in the courtroom, Sunny, to listening to this exchange and the mother, you know, Sybrina Fulton, saying, you know, she doesn't quite understand what you're -- what you're asking me here. Instead, she answered very clearly what she wanted to answer.

HOSTIN: Well, the jury was riveted by her testimony. Remember, five out of the six women on that jury, they are mothers. I can tell you that they didn't take their eyes off of her. I saw one juror, in particular, when the 911 call was played and you could hear the screaming, she was staring intently at Sybrina Fulton. And I can also tell you that my perception was that Mark O'Mara's cross-examination wasn't perceived well by the jury.

WHITFIELD: How do you know that?

HOSTIN: I was actually surprised -- just having been in courtrooms so many times, Fredricka, having tried my own cases, reported on cases. I'd like to think that I have a good sense of juries. And I am surprised that he went down the path that he went during this cross- examination. I think he's a fine attorney. I think he's a good attorney. And most attorneys will tell you that cross examining a grieving parent is generally not a good idea and it's especially not a good idea when your line of questioning goes to whether or not a mother believes that her son is the -- his own -- he's responsible for his own death. And I think it was really ill-advised and it wasn't received well in the courtroom.

WHITFIELD: Oh, all right. Mark, I want to get your take on it in a moment. We're going to take a break for now. We'll have much more of the George Zimmerman trial as we continue to wait for testimony to resume following recess.

Meantime, when we come back in the CNN NEWSROOM, we're going to bring you up to date on all that's taking place in Egypt as well. Still unrest throughout Cairo and beyond as a result of that coup -- military coup taking place, removing a democratically elected president. Much more straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: We'll have much more of the George Zimmerman trial in a moment. Again you're looking at live pictures right now. They have just come back from recess. Testimony will resume momentarily of the medical examiner, Shiping Bao who you see on the witness stand right now. But right now audio is cut. You're only seeing the visuals. We'll take you there to Sanford, Florida as soon as court resumes.

Meantime, overseas, flashes of violence erupt in Egypt two days after the military deposed the country's first democratically elected president. The Health Ministry says at least two people have been killed. Supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsy are in the streets calling for Morsy to be restored to power.

Egyptian state television says several pro-Morsy demonstrators were wounded when they tried to storm the republican guard headquarters in Cairo. The military says no live ammunition was used. Morsy supporters, including members of the Muslim Brotherhod, said his removal from office was illegal. They are calling today's protest a day of rejection.

Anti-Morsy demonstrators are out in Tahrir Square again today, but in much smaller numbers than what we saw a couple of days ago. Their massive protest earlier this week did help bring about the coup that removed Morsy from power.


WHITFIELD: On Wall Street today lots of happy traders as stocks shot up in early trading. Thos gains come on the heels of today's strong federal jobs report showing the U.S. economy added more jobs than experts had predicted. Alison Kosik is at the New York stock exchange with more on this. So, Alison, market is up. Unemployment steady. Is there another edge to this sword, or is it all wine and roses and happiness down on Wall Street?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Let's talk about the happy stuff first. This is a good looking report. Employers added 195,000 jobs in June and many more were added in April and May than first reported As you said, the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent, but you look deeply at these numbers and you see that the gains were led by a sector calling leisure and hospitality jobs, meaning lots of restaurant jobs. That's interesting because it's a sign we're all going on vacation and that we're spending more at restaurants because they need to hire more.

And then you look at the trend of job growth, and it's looking pretty good, because employers have added an average of 202,000 jobs every month for the past six months. So, we may finally be on track to break two years of stagnant growth for the labor market.

You hinted some bad news the bad news is the participation rate is still low. That means how many people are actually counted in the labor force. The problem is we're not seeing much change there. There's still a lot of discouraged workers. People out of work not even looking for work. And also many of the new jobs that are coming out, they're part-time with the number of Americans saying they would prefer to work full-time. That number jumping the most in eight months.

So you've got a little bad, but mostly good. This was definitely a beat (ph) for Wall Street. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Okay. We always like that. At least one thumb up if we can't get two. Thanks so much.

The family of Sarah Murnaghan has released the first video of the 10- year-old girl since she had lung transplant surgery. Sarah mouths the words "hi" and "I love you" to her mother, who is actually shooting this video . The young girl cannot speak because she remains intubated as you see right there. In a Facebook post, Janet Murnaghan says her daughter's transplant appears to be successful and her body is showing no sign right now of rejection. Sarah's family sued to change a policy that put children under 12 at the bottom of a waiting list for adult lung transplants. Sarah has cystic fibrosis.

A woman who found herself at the bottom of a deep sink hole says her faith helped keep her calm. This is Pamela Knox and her rescuer climbing out of a ten foot hole that opened beneath her car. A busted water main caused the street to suddenly crumble, but Knox didn't know at the time what was going on. She only knew that something was very wrong.


PAMELA KNOX, TRAPPED IN SINK HOLE: I had just finished doing some errands and as I was driving down the street it's an area that I've driven down before over many, many years, all of a sudden the street underneath me caved in, and the street gave way, and I found myself falling in my car into this deep, deep hole.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you think in that moment? KNOX: I couldn't understand what was going on. I didn't know what was happening. I'm like, oh, my gosh I'm actually falling. Is this really happening to me? As I was falling like that I just started calling out on the name of Jesus. I just kept saying Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Over and over again, because I didn't know.


WHITFIELD: Wow. And the Lord answered her prayers. Pamela Knox is okay. She was on CNN's NEW DAY this morning. She wasn't hurt, only shaken up, but her car was beginning to fill with water.

Celebrity chef Paula Deen is parting ways with her long time agent. In a statement released by her publicist today, Deen said she wished Barry Weiner (ph) well in all of his en endeavors. It is just the latest in a series of upheavals for Deen. More than a dozen retailers have said they will no longer do business with her after she admitted to using the N-word.

We're keeping a close watch on Sanford, Florida right there. The attorneys at the beach there. When the testimony resumes we'll take you live to Sanford, Florida.


WHITFIELD: Welcome back. We continue to watch the courtroom there in Sanford, Florida. You see the attorneys at the bench there discussing come matter with the judge there. The jurors are not in the room, by the way. However, the medical examiner who was testifying before their lunch recess is sitting on the stand. His testimony will resume.

Let's bring in our legal analysts to talk further about all that has happened thus far. Former prosecutor Sunny Hostin, who's also been in the courtroom, and criminal defense attorney Mark Nejame, who is joining us from Sanford, Florida.

Mark, it's unclear what they might be discussing but it perhaps may have something to do with the fact the medical examiner would need to refer to some notes in order to give a fuller picture of what he recalls from the night or the days thereafter of the murder of Trayvon Martin, the autopsy was conducted. What's your guess as to what is taking place right now? What kind of issue are they trying to nail down?

MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: One of the things I would be discussing is the judge's order that once they had copies of them that all notes would be destroyed. You need to be able to submit this into the court files so you've got an appellate record, to that you have a proper -- documentation of the proceedings in the event there's a conviction for appellate review. I don't quite understand the judge's ruling on that because everything has to be put in a court file. Albeit, it would be under seal, appropriately so, but you can't destroy something and have it not subject to appellate review.

I think all the analysts have pretty much agreed we have been dumbfounded by this. Any time you reference something and referring to it while on the stand it's fair game no matter which side you're on, prosecution or defense. I've had it happen with police officers where all of a sudden the prosecutor presume they wouldn't be coming in with anything other than an arrest report and then they reference other notes and I say let me see your file. They're aghast like this M.E. was and the judges without exception over the years have required them to turn it over. I don't see how the judge cannot have these turned over and it's fair game now for the defense. The M.E. specifically said he relied on these notes and this file and hence it's fair game.

WHITFIELD: And again, jurors are not in the courtroom. They're not privy to this kind of discussion. They will just hear or be asked to enter once the judge makes a ruling on whatever motion is taking place here, but earlier, what is very profound was the testimony of Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton. Likely during that lunch recess the jurors are still thinking about the words from the mother. Specifically she talked about identifying the son, knowing the tattoos that were on his body which speaks to who he is, to his character. Let's listen to those sounds, as promised earlier, about what she said in the courtroom about the tattoos on her son's body and what it potentially says about him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had two tattoos on his body. Do you know where they were on his body?

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: He had praying hands on his right upper shoulder with his grandmother's and great grandmother's name. That's the first tattoo. They were praying hands and they had pearls going through them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know where the other tattoo was?

FULTON: The other tattoo was on his left wrist. He had my name there.


WHIFIELD: Sunny and Mark, okay, we're talking about five of the six jurors are mothers.