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George Zimmerman Trial Continues
Aired July 8, 2013 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Have you seen that in fighters that you have worked with?
ADAM POLLOCK, GYM OWNER: I have seen that in people, and generally not in fighters after, you know, after they have been competing for a while. A little bit different. He had the look of a human being who had been through an extremely traumatic experience and was traumatized from it, almost like a state of shock that was continuing.
O'MARA: The -- did he have a conversation with you where he discussed shrimping in regards to this event?
POLLOCK: Yes, he did.
O'MARA: And what was that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Hearsay.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please approach.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield coming to you life from Sanford, Florida, at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center.
We are in live testimony in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman. And you can see the parents of Trayvon Martin. By the way, if you didn't already know this, they are divorced, but they have been side by side throughout this trial.
And I dare say really for the last year-and-a-half, they have been united in their efforts to get to the bottom of what happened to their 17-year-old unarmed child the night he died back in February of 2012. They are just at sidebar, but they have got the personal trainer, the guy who knows a lot about mixed martial arts on the stand to talk about just how good a student or athlete George Zimmerman is/was. Let's listen in.
O'MARA: As far as you had testified regarding his athleticism, what words -- within that context how would you define George Zimmerman?
I think probably the best way of describing it, I had happened to have had a meeting with one of my other trainers that I saw. It happened to be yesterday. I had a very brief conversation with him. And when I first mentioned what I was going to be coming to testify, you know, he didn't realize that this was the same person that we were referring to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge, I'm going to object again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sustained.
O'MARA: Hold on a second. I was asking you for you to describe Mr. Zimmerman. And I think you were going to give us a story about maybe how somebody else described him. That's been objected to, sustained, which means you can't tell us what the other person said.
O'MARA: But if you can tell us in your words.
POLLOCK: He was -- and I really don't like to use this type of terminology.
O'MARA: We have heard words that we don't want someone to use.
POLLOCK: Soft. He's just physically soft. He's not a -- you know, he was an overweight, large man when he came to us and a very, very pleasant, very nice man, but physically soft. He was predominantly fat, not a lot of muscle, not a lot of strength.
O'MARA: A moment, Your Honor?
BANFIELD: Soft, fat, not a lot of muscle, not a lot of strength. Let's continue to listen as Mark O'Mara continues this direct exam.
O'MARA: You mentioned a couple of different ways to end a fight, tapping out.
POLLOCK: Yes, sir.
O'MARA: Does screaming for help work?
POLLOCK: If you're in a competitive situation, you can -- you know, you can verbally tap out by saying I quit, and then the referee will step in and assist.
O'MARA: Nothing further, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cross?
RICH MANTEI, PROSECUTOR: Thank you, Your Honor.
Good afternoon, sir.
POLLOCK: Good afternoon.
I'm going to let you plug your gym for a minute. Would you tell us what your slogan is?
POLLOCK: I'm sorry? MANTEI: Tell me the slogan of your gym, if you would.
POLLOCK: The slogan of our gym is learn without getting hit.
MANTEI: You ever call it the -- anything about being the most complete fight gym in the world?
POLLOCK: Well, some time ago -- we have got a rather large facility, and so some time ago, we had set up on our Web site, because there was really no facilities around that had full weight training facilities and full fight training facilities.
So we put it as the most complete fight gym in the world. At that point, that was accurate, you know. Things have changed. Now there's a lot of gyms that have followed suit to what I do. And they have updated their facilities now to have weights and whatnot as well.
MANTEI: Speaking of other gyms, I understand that Mr. Zimmerman was going to yours for, I guess, somewhere I think you said between October of 2010 and the end of 2011, that he took a couple months off and then came back?
MANTEI: OK. Do you know if at all he might have been going anyplace else, whether that was another gym like you mentioned or just working out at home or working out at, for example, some apartment complexes or -- communities have fitness centers, that sort of thing? Any idea whether he was doing any of that?
POLLOCK: Not to my knowledge. You know, we have got a very unusually complete facility. And it makes it really easy, and we kind of give a lot of leeway of access to the facility for the members.
So he's got access to a place that would be unlike anyplace else that would be available to him. So it wouldn't make a lot of sense for him to be going somewhere else. And he was a very loyal type of individual. So I don't foresee him going to some other facility.
MANTEI: Would you have encouraged him to sort of work out on his own? I mean, as simple as going for a run on his own or lifting some weights at home or anything like that?
POLLOCK: Generally, I encourage my students to come to as many training sessions as possible so they can have supervised instruction so that they're not creating bad habits.
MANTEI: Would you tell him not to work out alone?
POLLOCK: I would tell them to come in for more training sessions at our facility.
MANTEI: The weight that the defendant lost was in the ballpark of 90 pounds or better, right?
POLLOCK: I don't have an exact measurement, but when he first started, he was in -- I want to say between 250 and 260 pounds. And he would have lost, you know, between 50 to 80 pounds.
MANTEI: And, actually, I think you testified before that his body mass index was somewhere between 15 and 20 percent body fat.
POLLOCK: I don't have the exact amount because I didn't do a body fat analysis on him. But I would think that he probably would have a little bit more body fat than that.
MANTEI: OK. Do you remember talking about somewhere between 16 and 20 percent?
POLLOCK: I remember hearing and looking at a deposition on that. And I saw the numbers on there. And when I saw the numbers on there, it seemed a little odd to me because it seemed a little bit low for him.
MANTEI: You certainly don't deny that that's what you said, right?
POLLOCK: I'm not arguing whether I said that or not.
MANTEI: As far as -- I guess let's talk about the first-blow advantage type of thing first, right?
MANTEI: The first blow can be a very good advantage in a combat situation.
MANTEI: And you would have taught, I guess, all of your students this fact.
POLLOCK: Well, I'm not going to start teaching somebody about strategy if they don't have the basic fundamentals.
MANTEI: Would they have absorbed this or seen this or heard it talked about? Any chance of that?
POLLOCK: Is there a chance of that? Sure. You can turn on the TV and figure some things out. But that's not something that I'm going to teach a beginner as far as strategy goes if they don't have the basis of fundamentals.
MANTEI: It's not a big advantage, though, if you don't execute it properly or well.
POLLOCK: It's not going to do anything for you if you don't do anything with it.
MANTEI: It could you actually in a worse position.
MANTEI: Leaves you open for a quick counterattack.
POLLOCK: Potentially. MANTEI: As far as grappling itself goes, you said that that was actually what you started the defendant in, right?
MANTEI: And I think you characterized it as sometimes when you're rolling around on the ground, a lot of things can happen to you.
MANTEI: Scuffed up, marked, scraped, sometimes even cut?
POLLOCK: Depending on what you're rolling around on, absolutely.
MANTEI: OK. And you talked about some techniques, bridging and shrimping and that sort of thing. Those are designed actually to move you from an unfavorable position to a less unfavorable position.
MANTEI: And they're designed to effect that change of position as quickly as you can do it.
MANTEI: Because when you're grappling, that's actually a fairly exhausting situation.
MANTEI: And is that why they played in I guess some -- we could call them short rounds, but obviously you have been a professional. You know that sometimes even a three-minute round can seem like forever.
POLLOCK: A one-minute round can seem like an eternity if you're not in condition for it.
POLLOCK: And so the goal of some of those techniques that were taught, the shrimping, the bridging, that sort of thing, is actually to take yourself from being, as you put it, in perhaps if someone had you in a mounted situation, to be able to reverse that or at least get out of where you are.
POLLOCK: To get into a not quite as bad situation for sure, or reverse it.
And you say you also taught submission, arm locks and that sorts of thing.
MANTEI: Those are also designed to be applied in a grappling scenario even perhaps if you're not able to do much of anything else. In other words, when you can't strike, sometimes you can use a different type of hold.
POLLOCK: I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about with this.
MANTEI: OK. If you can't -- you mentioned that a person on the bottom sometimes, it's going to be hard to strike upward.
MANTEI: Could you grab ahold of, for example, an arm and apply one of the grappling holds in lieu of actually being able to punch?
POLLOCK: Potentially, yes, depending on the position that you're in. If you're in a mounted position, grabbing someone's arm to attempt to submit them from simply grabbing their arm is not a particularly practical thing. It's not going to work.
MANTEI: It wouldn't work well, but that would be a grappling maneuver, the arm lock?
POLLOCK: Well, the arm lock is not going to be applied. If you're on your back being mounted, you can't arm lock somebody from that position.
MANTEI: So it wouldn't be even possible to do?
POLLOCK: You have to be extremely skilled, and you have to have -- there's a couple of obscure angles that that could be implemented from, but you would have to be extremely skilled to do it.
MANTEI: Would you say someone like the defendant had the skill to be able to do that?
POLLOCK: Absolutely not.
MANTEI: No way?
POLLOCK: No way. No way.
MANTEI: And if he said he did it, you wouldn't believe him?
POLLOCK: No, absolutely not. As far as submitting somebody with an arm bar from while he's being mounted, no.
Let's talk about striking for a little while, if we could.
POLLOCK: Sure. MANTEI: And I know that the muay thai, you get into the kicking and the knees and the elbows. Punching, you would teach a number of different strikes, right? The jab, the cross, the hook?
MANTEI: All of those?
MANTEI: And you said you had him working with a heavy bag. Would you ever do the sparring mitts with someone where you...
POLLOCK: If they don't know how to control their body to throw a punch properly without hurting their wrists or elbows on a heavy bag and shadow boxing, putting them on focus mitts is -- I'm not going to do that.
MANTEI: Is that a no, you never put him on mitts?
MANTEI: What weight were his gloves?
POLLOCK: He had bag gloves, which are going to be light, as opposed to a 16-ounce boxing glove or sparring glove. Generally, an old- school bag glove is probably four to six ounces.
MANTEI: OK. And he would be -- you would have him wrist-wrapped and everything like that?
MANTEI: So to help avoid hurting himself when he punched?
MANTEI: Because the idea is you punch hard enough that you should hurt the thing you're striking.
POLLOCK: Well, if you don't have good support in your hands and you hit hard, you can hurt your hands and your wrists.
MANTEI: And when you would have him do these workouts or I think you said like the first hour was the calisthenics and the cardio and that sort of thing, and then the second hour would be the skill development portion?
MANTEI: So for this...
BANFIELD: So real quick break as Adam Pollock continues his conversation on the stand. We will fit this in. We will get you right back in right after the break.
BANFIELD: To get you back up to speed on what missed during commercial break, Adam Pollock is still on the stand. He's the personal trainer who was teaching George Zimmerman all those mixed martial arts moves at his gym.
He also says he lost about somewhere between 50 to 80 pounds during his year-plus that he was a member of this gym. And during the break, he talked about grappling classes. Two to three times a week, George Zimmerman went to this gym for grappling classes, but that there were striking sessions. That's fancy talk for boxing on top of that. Let's continue to listen.
POLLOCK: He did.
MANTEI: Aren't the sessions two hours?
POLLOCK: Two hours' long. And if he trained three times a week, that would have been six hours.
It wouldn't have been anymore than six hours. That would have been a max. And there were certain weeks that he had things come up that he didn't show up at all.
POLLOCK: And when a person works out at your gym, I guess you all take care to try to make sure people don't hurt themselves.
MANTEI: That they don't get in situations they can't handle.
MANTEI: And you would never want them to put themselves in a situation that they weren't ready to handle.
MANTEI: Let me just ask you, occasionally that would happen anyway?
POLLOCK: I'm sorry?
MANTEI: Would that occasionally happen anyway, not on your supervision? But you said that you have seen people try and get in the ring and fight and do things that they're just not ready to do?
POLLOCK: I have seen that not in my facility. I have seen that in other gyms before.
MANTEI: People think they can do it and they're not ready to do it?
MANTEI: OK. It doesn't stop them from trying it. It just stops them from having a good outcome?
MANTEI: Anything else? Thank you. No other questions, Judge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Any redirect?
O'MARA: Very briefly, Your Honor.
So as to when we were talking about the progression and his proficiency in boxing, jabbing and in other things, hooks and whatnot, had he gotten any level of proficiency where you could work with him on other strikes, or was it still just punching the bag?
POLLOCK: Just punching the bag and shadow boxing.
In actuality, he really predominantly just worked on throwing the jab and the right hand and just barely starting to learn how to throw a hook.
O'MARA: OK. So he had not yet gotten proficient in the jab, would that be accurate?
POLLOCK: He had truly not gotten proficient, truly proficient with all of it.
O'MARA: Or with any of it?
POLLOCK: I mean, he was doing pretty good within his own scope, with the stretches and exercises. You know, and he was a hard worker. But he was not an accomplished athlete in any way, shape or form.
O'MARA: When Mr. Mantei asked you about arm locks and things like that, you were talking about someone who was fairly proficient in it, correct?
POLLOCK: They'd have to be from the positions he was discussing.
O'MARA: Did you train Mr. Zimmerman at all in anything having to do with arm locks or things like that?
POLLOCK: He wasn't accomplished enough for that.
O'MARA: OK. So he had not gotten any experience in arm locking?
POLLOCK: Well, he had been around in a class when we were covering things of that nature as far as chokes and arm locks, but that was not something that he could pull off.
O'MARA: But even if I never came to your gym, if you jumped on top of me, I might grab your arm and try and take it away, right?
POLLOCK: Absolutely. Absolutely.
O'MARA: And that would not be what you would define as an arm lock, would it?
POLLOCK: Not even close.
O'MARA: There would just be a grabbing of a hand?
POLLOCK: It's a reflex. Understand what we do is we try to go and train a skill set to where you're having conditioned reflexes. That takes quite a bit of work.
O'MARA: OK. You had said you defined Mr. Zimmerman as soft sort of in the beginning of all of this.
O'MARA: How was he when he left your gym? How would you define him?
POLLOCK: Well, he had lost quite a bit of weight. So he was in physically better shape as far as the amount of fat he was carrying comparatively, but he still had a long way to go. He wasn't, you know, shredded and ripped like, you know, a competitive fighter or a bodybuilder or something of that nature. He still had more body fat to lose. He still could have stood to go and gain a bit of muscle.
You know, he was greatly improved from the way he had first started, but he was by no means a -- you know, ready for being a competitive athlete by any stretch.
O'MARA: And as far as his...
POLLOCK: ... dealing with any type of competitive athlete.
O'MARA: As far as his athleticism, at the end when you last saw him in the gym, would you still consider him soft?
O'MARA: Nothing further, then, Your Honor. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
May Mr. Pollock be excused?
O'MARA: Yes, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much. You are excused.
Call your next witness, please.
O'MARA: Any chance this might be a decent time for a break?
BANFIELD: And as we wait to find out if they're actually going to call a break in the session, we are mid-afternoon at 20 past 3:00 Eastern time. This jury is working so hard. But let's not forget, they're sequestered. So oftentimes they prefer to work hard so they can get out sooner.
They have been working for two weeks. And this is their third week at it, folks. We want to squeeze in a quick commercial break.
But we will wrap up the reason that witness hit that stand and if that witness helped the defense or helped the prosecution coming up next.
BANFIELD: Welcome back. We are broadcasting live from Sanford, Florida. I'm Ashleigh Banfield, everyone, at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, where you are not missing any testimony. How do I know that? Because the great seal is in the full purview of the camera, which means the mikes are dead. It's a quick recess, but they're getting back to live testimony any moment now, and you will go right back in as soon as they do.
In the meantime, it's a great opportunity to figure out just what happened a moment ago on the stand. We had a little display in court. We had a little talk back and forth about someone being too fat to be a great athlete, or someone going to a gym that was one of the greatest fight gyms in the world.
I want to bring in attorney Faith Jenkins, former prosecutor, now defense attorney, and very smart lady, as well as CNN legal analyst Mark NeJame, who is here watching gavel-to-gavel coverage with me.
I want to start with you, Mark NeJame, and the assessment. Look, sometimes it's no fun being in a courtroom especially if you're the defendant because even your own people can beat you up and call you awful things, which is kind of what we just saw happen here.
MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: When you're looking at life in prison, that's the least thing you have to worry about is being called overweight. The fact is, is that there was a risk by putting this person on with the defense because it emphasizes the MMA issue. It really shows that he was training to fight, and he was there for a year.
This defense obviously felt like the state had made some points with that, that he had some training, and they wanted to be able to neutralize it or at least minimize it and show that he wasn't a superior athlete and he wasn't somebody that was really physically in a position to take care of himself.
BANFIELD: I think the words that were used were nonathletic, overweight, fat, not a lot of muscle, not a lot of strength. I give him a five out of 10 in terms of general abilities. I give him a one out of 10 in terms of his ability at grappling.
(CROSSTALK) NEJAME: Hold on. It was actually 0.5.
BANFIELD: Oh, pardon me.
NEJAME: A 0.5. He didn't give him a five. He gave him 0.5.
BANFIELD: Faith, look, you're a former prosecutor here. So put on your prosecutor's hat and tell me how you're going to neutralize this guy is awful at fighting? How do you do it?
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: And that's exactly what they're saying because the state wants to argue that George Zimmerman completely embellished his statements when he said that he received this pummeling at the hands of Trayvon Martin. And so the defense is putting this witness forward to say, yes, he was a member of this gym, this MMA-style fighting gym, but he wasn't any good.
What's the state going to argue? How will they counter that? He didn't have to be good enough to be bold to confront Trayvon Martin. He was carrying a loaded gun. When you know you're carrying a loaded gun, with a bullet in the chamber, you don't have to be concerned about fighting. You know you have a gun. You know it's a fight that you can win.
BANFIELD: But aren't we trying to assess at this point if we're the prosecutors that he was doing the beat-down, that he, according to a neighbor who thinks he saw an MMA-style punch-down, but thinks he saw the right jacket that matches George Zimmerman's, don't you need to try to figure out how to neutralize that in a way?
Here's the weird part. You have a neighbor who says I think I saw George Zimmerman doing MMA-style punching -- excuse me -- that I saw Trayvon Martin doing MMA-style punching down on -- let me back it up. That Trayvon Martin, on top of George Zimmerman, doing the MMA-style punching, but the only guy in the case with the MMA-style background is George Zimmerman.
Jump in here, Mark NeJame. This is a really, really tricky little line to walk.
NEJAME: It is. It's a very dangerous line because MMA is just brutal fighting. There's no way around it.
BANFIELD: Although I have got to say if we could roll that video while Mark is talking, it doesn't look so brutal as you see the actual demonstration done in court. It looked pretty darn tame.
Watch as this is Adam Pollock who is on the stand. He's asked to get off the stand and show a few of his moves and show a bit about what he taught Zimmerman.
(CROSSTALK) NEJAME: You have got guys in suits and ties in an air-conditioned courtroom, not the normal MMA training that is typical. Here it was very gentlemanly and it was basically just meant for purposes of illustrating to the jury what a ground and pound was and what some of the moves were.
BANFIELD: I just want to let our control room know that this isn't the video I'm looking for. I'm looking for that demonstration video if we have it handy. But this was the testimony.
Look, they're smiling and oftentimes a witness will smile. There's moments of levity in every trial, and no one should ever read into that. But, OK, so, if you're Mark O'Mara, you don't want to see an aggressive demonstration. But if you're the prosecutor, is it too risky to say get back down off that chair and really show me if I came at you what you would do to me?
NEJAME: Yes, it's risky if you don't know what the answer is going to be. You never ask the question if you don't know what the answer is going to be when you're in court.
If the prosecutor did not address that in depositions and if he's not fully prepared as to what this witness may say, who was clearly pro- defense, you don't take that risk.
BANFIELD: Not the best view in the world, but we're doing the best we can with the pool camera shots that we have. Clearly courtrooms are not set up so that the television audience gets a view of the well, you know, the best view of the well because that's never where the action takes place except for a few short moments.
But you can see that, you know, there's Adam Pollock trying to show a little bit what he was teaching George Zimmerman.
After the break, Faith Jenkins, I want you to weigh in on the fact -- and this is a critical fact -- there is an overweight defendant sitting at defense table. On the videos that were played the night of the shooting the next morning when George Zimmerman goes to that scene of the incident, he is a much thinner man, and it is apparently all in thanks to working out six hours a week and dropping somewhere between 50 and 80 pounds.
That has to speak well to the prosecutor's case. Coming up after the break, Faith is going to weigh in on that. Back in a moment.