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Zimmerman's Friend Testifies in Defense; 911 Call Played in Court

Aired July 8, 2013 - 09:30   ET

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


JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, FLORIDA: What exhibit are you playing?

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: It's part of the 911 non- emergency call that the defendant made. I didn't want to tip her off in terms of the reporting. That's why on purpose --

NELSON: Okay, go ahead.

MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I didn't mean to get in the way.

DE LA RIONDA: Well, now you know what I'm going to play for you. I was trying to do it so that -- but you have heard this recording before, correct?

SONDRA OSTERMAN, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I don't know.

DE LA RIONDA: Okay, let me play it. See if you recognize this. Do you recognize that voice?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: And who is that voice as saying, pardon my language (AIDIO BREAK) George Zimmerman?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: You know in court we're supposed to give -- I apologize. Do you recognize this? Did you recognize that voice?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: Was that Mr. Zimmerman, too?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

And was that Mr. Zimmerman too?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: When he uttered the word (AUDIO BREAK)

OSTERMAN: Oh, I didn't hear that.

DE LA RIONDA: You didn't hear that. I can play it, again, if you want. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down towards the entrance to the neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which entrance is that he's heading towards?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The back entrance. (AUDIO BREAK)

(END AUDIO CLIP)

DE LA RIONDA: Do you recognize that voice as being George Zimmerman?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: Now, you had never actually heard the 911 tape other than when you heard it that it was being played by George Zimmerman, but you had not heard the defendant screaming before, had you?

OSTERMAN: Like that, no.

DE LA RIONDA: Thank you very much, ma'am.

(CROSSTALK)

O'MARA: That's okay. So, you heard him say the word "assholes," right?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

O'MARA: On the tape?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

O'MARA: And you heard him talk for years now, correct?

OSTERMAN: That's correct.

O'MARA: Did that word, the way he said "assholes," did that give you a sense that he was acting with spite or ill will or hatred in that sense?

OSTERMAN: No.

O'MARA: Did that seem to just be an offhand way of talking to whoever it was he was talking about?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

O'MARA: Did you, knowing as you do George's voice throughout the years, did you even hear -- by the way, the second time, did you hear him say the expletive that Mr. De La Rionda repeated?

OSTERMAN: I didn't hear that, no.

O'MARA: So, even the second time when you were answering it, you were saying generally that's George Zimmerman's voice. OSTERMAN: Correct.

O'MARA: But you couldn't even hear the words "fucking punks" on that?

OSTERMAN: No, I didn't hear that.

O'MARA: Even turned up as loud as it could be, you still didn't hear it?

OSTERMAN: I still didn't hear it, no.

O'MARA: In everything you heard him say on that tape, was there anything in George's voice that gave you the impression that he was angry or acting with ill will with spite or hatred on that phone call?

OSTERMAN: No.

O'MARA: So, since you've never heard him scream like this before, how are you certain it's his voice?

OSTERMAN: I just felt it. I knew that it was him. I just knew it. And I saw the reaction that his wife had and listening to it. I mean, we were all together. It was definitely George.

O'MARA: But it is your own opinion, separate and apart from everybody else's that the voice just heard was George Zimmerman screaming for help?

OSTERMAN: Absolutely, yes.

O'MARA: Thank you. Nothing further, your honor.

DE LA RIONDA: You were asked about, I'm not going to play it, again, the two clips, correct?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: Where he uttered (AUDIO BREAK) that he speaks that on a normal basis?

OSTERMAN: I'm saying I've heard him say it before.

DE LA RIONDA: So, you're saying when he is following somebody and he's referring to (AUDIO BREAK) invite them out to dinner?

OSTERMAN: I don't think I said that, no.

DE LA RIONDA: Okay, well you were asked in terms of your impressions whether it was ill will or hatred. Somebody talking to somebody else in that manner you think they're saying, hey, come on over and let's talk and let's go out to dinner.

OSTERMAN: I don't think he was angry.

DE LA RIONDA: You don't think he was angry?

OSTERMAN: Not at all.

DE LA RIONDA: You were there that night?

OSTERMAN: I was not. I only have what you have to listen to.

DE LA RIONDA: So, you're speculating as to how he was feeling based on just those two terms, correct?

OSTERMAN: I guess we both are.

DE LA RIONDA: Right? Is that correct?

OSTERMAN: I guess so, yes.

DE LA RIONDA: What you're saying is that when somebody tells the police that (AUDIO BREAK) he's not upset that in the past people have gotten away and this time they're going to get away. This time Mr. Trayvon Martin is going to get away. You don't take it as that?

OSTERMAN: I don't take it as he's angry, no.

DE LA RIONDA: And when somebody as Mr. Zimmerman did in this case, the defendant (AUDIO BREAK) that's a normal term that he uses?

O'MARA: May I object, your honor. Foundation in that she testified she --

NELSON: So speaking of --

(CROSSTALK)

O'MARA: Proper foundation.

NELSON: Okay.

DE LA RIONDA: I'll be glad to play it, again, your honor.

NELSON: Please do so.

O'MARA: Second, well, the second one would be speculation, even if it's played again. But let him play it again.

DE LA RIONDA: And we can get you some headphones, if you need to.

O'MARA: Also (INAUDIBLE) six request in the rule of completeness that the entire tape be played.

NELSON: Go ahead and play the entire tape. Do you want headphones?

DE LA RIONDA: Yes. I want to play her this part and then I'll be glad to play the entire tape, but I want to focus on this part.

O'MARA: I have requested a rule of completeness that is the entire tape --

NELSON: He's going to do it. He said he will do it. O'MARA: Thank you.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, which entrance is that that he's heading towards?

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: The back entrance.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

DE LA RIONDA: Okay. Did you hear him say, Mr. Zimmerman, you recognize his voice, correct?

OSTERMAN: I do recognize his voice.

DE LA RIONDA: And you heard (AUDIO BREAK) you could tell he's out of breath, can't you?

OSTERMAN: I don't know about that.

DE LA RIONDA: You can tell his voice changes, doesn't it?

OSTERMAN: I don't think so.

DE LA RIONDA: Do you want me to play it again?

OSTERMAN: I've heard it three times, I don't think his voice is changing.

DE LA RIONDA: You think his voice is just constant throughout that?

OSTERMAN: It seems to be, to me.

DE LA RIONDA: Okay. All we're asking you is what you believe having heard that (AUDIO BREAK)

OSTERMAN: I don't hear that, I'm sorry.

DE LA RIONDA: I will play the whole recording.

(INAUDIBLE)

O'MARA: Yes, that's just the Lauer call.

DE LA RIONDA: Okay.

(INAUDIBLE)

DE LA RIONDA: Yes, your honor part of state's exhibit 173. Thank you.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sanford Police Department, (INAUDIBLE). ZIMMERMAN: Hey, we've had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there's a real suspicious guy. The most bast address I can give you is 111 (INAUDIBLE). This guy looks like he's up to no good. He's hunkered over something (ph). It's raining. He's just walking around, looking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. This guy, is he white, black, or hispanic?

ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you see what he's wearing?

ZIMMERMAN: A dark hoodie, like a gray hoodie, and jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes. He's standing around, and he's just staring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, just walking around the area.

ZIMMERMAN: And now he's just staring at me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. Address 1111 Ridgeview? Or 111?

ZIMMERMAN: That's the clubhouse.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's near the clubhouse right now?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes. Now he's coming towards me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay.

ZIMMERMAN: (INAUDIBLE) He's a black male.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old would you say?

ZIMMERMAN: I'm not really sure. Late teens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Late teens? Okay.

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have them on the way. Let me know if this guy does anything else.

ZIMMERMAN: Okay.

(AUDIO BREAK)

ZIMMERMAN: When you come to the cross, you come straight in and make a left. Actually, go past the clubhouse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the left hand side from the clubhouse?

ZIMMERMAN: Straight through the entrance and then you make a left. You go straight in. (AUDIO BREAK) He's down towards the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. Which entrance is that that he's heading towards?

ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. We don't need you to do that. All right, sir, what is your name?

ZIMMERMAN: George.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, George, what is your last name?

ZIMMERMAN: Zimmerman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George, what phone number are you calling from?

ZIMMERMAN: 407 - 435 - 2400.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, George, what do you have by the way -- do you want to meet with the officers when they get out there?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you going to meet them at?

ZIMMERMAN: I think come in through the gate, go straight past the clubhouse and (AUDIO BREAK) go past the mailboxes, that's my truck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What address are you parked in front of?

ZIMMERMAN: I don't know. I don't know the address.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you live in the area?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your apartment number?

ZIMMERMAN: It's a home. 1950 -- I don't want to give it all out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want to meet with them right there by the mailboxes?

ZIMMERMAN: That's fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, George, I'll let them know to meet you.

ZIMMERMAN: Could you have them call me and I'll tell them where I'm at?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's no problem. I got it. Okay, no problem, I'll let them know to call you when they're in the area.

ZIMMERMAN: Thanks. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

DE LA RIONDA: I believe that was the entire tape. The phone call that he made. Do you recognize the defendant's voice?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: You were also asked by Mr. O'Mara in terms of you being positive of the voice you heard on the other call, do you want me to play that again for you?

OSTERMAN: No.

DE LA RIONDA: Ok you recognize it as being you believe George Zimmerman, is that correct?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: Ok and in that call when you heard the cries for help, correct?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: Did you ever hear any interruption at all? Did they interrupt or were they continuous cries for help? Weren't they continuous cries for help?

OSTERMAN: Yes, appeared to be.

DE LA RIONDA: Ok -- thank you, ma'am.

OSTERMAN: You're welcome.

DEBRA NELSON, PRESIDING JUDGE: Any re-redirect.

MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There is some based upon the new information presented, your honor. Now that you've had a chance to listen to the entirety of the phone call, I want to ask you some questions about that, ok?

OSTERMAN: Ok.

O'MARA: Anywhere on that call, any word, any sentence, any phrase, did you hear anything that, to you, knowing George Zimmerman's voice as you do, evidence that he was angry or acting with ill will?

OSTERMAN: No.

O'MARA: That he was spiteful in his presentation to the law enforcement officer?

OSTERMAN: No.

O'MARA: When he said things like he looks black, did that come across to you as spiteful or hateful?

OSTERMAN: No.

O'MARA: What about when he was right after (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to the clubhouse. You heard the word "assholes" correct?

OSTERMAN: Yes.

O'MARA: And I know these are uncomfortable for you. We're just throwing out curse words like we can. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) live with the evidence, ok?

OSTERMAN: Ok.

O'MARA: So (EXPLETIVE DELETED) evidence to you any ill will or hatred?

OSTERMAN: No.

O'MARA: How about the words right afterwards when he said that and then he said and gave directions to the clubhouse. Did he seem exasperated or angry in that?

OSTERMAN: No.

O'MARA: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) asked him where he's running, and he said down towards the back entrance. Did that have -- that language to you evidence any angry -- anger or hatred?

OSTERMAN: No.

O'MARA: How about when the officer asked we're you following him and he said, we don't need you to do that and George said ok. Did you hear any anger in that?

OSTERMAN: No.

O'MARA: Did you -- could you identify what that that wind noise or that sound was during that part of the conversation?

OSTERMAN: No, I didn't know.

O'MARA: When he said, when they were talking about where to meet and Mr. Zimmerman gave him his telephone number, any anger that you heard in that?

OSTERMAN: No.

O'MARA: When he said the word "crap" that he had just given out his telephone number sort of out there in the open, when he said that word "crap" did it evidence any anger or -- or ill will in spite or hatred to you?

OSTERMAN: No.

O'MARA: And how about right after he used that word when he just said, "Yes, I'll meet you at the mailboxes" and, "No, just have him call me." Did you hear anything in his voice that gave you an idea that he was getting upset or that he was angry at anybody, never mind the person who may have been him talking about.

OSTERMAN: No I didn't.

O'MARA: And Mr. -- Mr. De la Rionda asked you whether or not those screams were continuous and you said, you thought so.

OSTERMAN: Yes.

O'MARA: Did there seem to be scream, time, scream, time scream time or -- or was it -- which is the alternative. Ok.

NELSON: Rephrase your question.

O'MARA: May I give an alternative which --

NELSON: Rephrase your question.

O'MARA: Ok did you hear gaps between the screams, gaps in time between the screams? Let me ask it this way. Was that one long, continuous scream without any stopping or was it individual screams?

OSTERMAN: I don't think it was long and continuous. But there were a lot of cries for help.

O'MARA: Yes a lot of separate cries?

DE LA RIONDA: Objection, leading question.

NELSON: Sustained.

O'MARA: Nothing further then, your honor.

NELSON: Ok thank you may Ms. Osterman be excused?

DE LA RIONDA: Yes your honor.

NELSON: Thank you very much. You may be excused.

OSTERMAN: Thank you.

NELSON: Call your next witness please.

O'MARA: Defense calls Mark Osterman, your honor.

(END LIVE FEED)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "SITUATION ROOM": So there you see Sondra Osterman. She's leaving the witness stand. We believe Mark Osterman her husband will be re-called as the next witness.

All this is very significant because in order to convict someone of second degree murder, second degree murder, the prosecution, the state in this particular case, among other things, needs to point out that the murder the shooting was done from quote, "ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent."

Here you see Mark Osterman being sworn in. That's why all the discussion of ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent. They were trying to show on the one hand the prosecution that he did have ill will, George Zimmerman. On the other hand, the defense saying he did not.

Let's listen in to the testimony of the husband of Sondra Osterman, Mark Osterman.

(BEGIN LIVE FEED)

O'MARA: Good morning. Please state your name.

MARK OSTERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FRIEND: Mark Osterman.

O'MARA: And of course you testified before the court in this case before correct?

M. OSTERMAN: Yes sir. That's right.

O'MARA: I think you were placed under oath again but you certainly acknowledge that you're still or presently under oath as you testified before the jury?

M. OSTERMAN: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And I know that we don't go very far into your background. And I know that it was talked about before, but you are a Federal Air Marshal?

M. OSTERMAN: I am.

O'MARA: You lived your life within the confines of law enforcement?

M. OSTERMAN: I have.

O'MARA: Ok and you do know George Zimmerman, obviously?

M. OSTERMAN: I do.

O'MARA: Well I'd like to focus your attention on a couple of subjects, first of which is any information you have regarding Mr. Zimmerman accomplishing a concealed weapons permit, are you aware of that process?

M. OSTERMAN: I am.

O'MARA: If you would, tell the jury, what discussions you had with Mr. Zimmerman in that regard.

DE LA RIONDA: Objection -- calls for hearsay.

NELSON: Overruled.

O'MARA: Go ahead. M. OSTERMAN: In reference to the concealed weapons permit, we had talked about him getting a concealed weapons permit and how to go about it. There was a local sports store, I think it was Gander Mountain, that was putting on a class for the concealed weapons permit and he -- he had signed up for it and his wife and they both took the class together, which provided training and -- and actual fingerprinting and elements.

O'MARA: And did you have discussions with him about gun safety?

M. OSTERMAN: Often. We had -- we had gone to a shooting range on several occasions, probably eight or ten occasions and each time fire arms safety is -- was always -- always at the first -- at the top of our lists of discussions.

O'MARA: And generally speaking -- tell the jury what you mean by firearms safety.

M. OSTERMAN: Well, firearms safety at a range means always being safe and aware of where your firearm is being pointed. Making sure that it's -- it's in a safe condition until you're ready to fire it or if it's not being pointed in a direction that shouldn't be pointed and just making sure that it's handled correctly and -- and George was -- was very safe all the time.

O'MARA: And that was, in part, based upon your instruction to him?

M. OSTERMAN: That is possible.

O'MARA: And did you discuss with him the type of weapon to purchase and the purpose for it?

M. OSTERMAN: Yes, we did.

O'MARA: Would you explain to the jury about.

M. OSTERMAN: Well, there are many different times of firearms for many different purposes him. Some are for competition, if you wish to compete and travel and compete in firearms competition, you would use a certain type of firearm for that. Some are for self-defense and those would be a little more compact, a little smaller -- able to keep on your person with a concealed weapons permit. Some, of course, would be for let's say home defense. And they may be a little larger in size, but for the ones that you would have for personal defense, those would probably be the ones that I'd recommended George to get, if he was going to get a concealed weapons permit.

The type of firearm that we chose was the Kel-Tec 9 millimeter. It was chosen for the reason it didn't have an exterior safety. When you have an exterior safety on a firearm, it sometimes can be dangerous to the person who owns the firearm. Such as if you need to use it in a very stressful situation, sometimes your mind will lock up a bit, will not allow you to think that extra step of pulling the safety down before you need to use it to defend yourself.

So as most law enforcement agencies or all that I'm aware of, they don't have an exterior safety on your firearm, which means there is no extra button to push. The only natural safety that you would have is an extended trigger pull. It means the trigger is not what people sometimes call a hair trigger. It's an extended trigger pull to where it can't be just accidentally squeezed and have the firearm go off.

BLITZER: All right. So let's take a quick break. We'll resume the coverage -- a quick break right now. This is Mark Osterman described as George Zimmerman's best friend testifying on how he initially got that firearm permit. Let's continue our coverage right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The defense attorney Mark O'Mara continuing his questioning of Mark Osterman, described as George Zimmerman's best friend. They're going through all the details of the firearms that George Zimmerman had the permit, how it was used. Let's listen.

M. OSTERMAN: But in today's firearms, especially with the Kel-Tec, there is no reason I can think of why you wouldn't after loading a round into the chamber, why you wouldn't add another into the magazine in case you needed that. There is no reason why not to have that -- to leave an extra available round not in your fire just didn't seem to make sense.

O'MARA: And you had an opportunity to be with Mr. Zimmerman when he was at the firing range?

M. OSTERMAN: Often.

O'MARA: What hand does he shoot his firearm with?

M. OSTERMAN: He shoots right handed, I believe. But if I remember correctly, he is left handed when he writes.

O'MARA: But his firearm shoots with -- first of all, when you hold a firearm, obviously, do you use two hands if you can and, if so, which dominant hand would you use?

M. OSTERMAN: Well, the hand that squeezes the trigger would be your dominant hand. I believe he was right-handed when he fired his firearm. So the right hand would be holding the firearm, and then of course, the right index finger is what pulls the trigger.

O'MARA: If there was evidence and you may not by aware of it of the gun being on his right side, what would be the normal process for removing the holster from the firearm to fire it?

DE LA RIONDA: Objection, this is speculation.

NELSON: Sustained.

O'MARA: Do you know of any training which would suggest sort of the cross-body presentation going across one side and bringing it out rather than going up and out? Are you aware of that?

M. OSTERMAN: Absolutely. DE LA RIONDA: Objection.

NELSON: What's the objection?

DE LA RIONDA: Irrelevance as to this case.

NELSON: Sustained.

O'MARA: Did you have discussions with Mr. Zimmerman as to how and where to maintain --