Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

More Live Coverage of the George Zimmerman Murder Trial; San Francisco Crash Update

Aired July 8, 2013 - 15:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Back live in Sanford, Florida, I'm Ashleigh Banfield, reporting from the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial.

Faith Jenkins is with us. Not only that, but Ryan Smith is joining us, HLN anchor and extremely smart lawyer, and as always, Mark Nejame is with me.

And, Faith, just before the break, I said, wow, did George Zimmerman ever lose a lot of weight, going to that gym, working out up to six hours a week. That's got to be good for the prosecutors.

FAITH JENKINS, ATTORNEY: Yes, because they're trying to show he was in physical shape. He could not have sustained this beating he said he sustained at the hands of Trayvon Martin.

And who's the one with the MMA-training here? John Good, this witness, said he saw someone throwing MMA punches, and he thought it was George Zimmerman, who he now knows -- George Zimmerman on top.

When you're in a fight, one second you're up. One second you're down. The positions can change in the middle of a fight. And I think the prosecutors are going to use that in this case.

BANFIELD: OK. I'm going to go back a little in time for any of our audience who missed this key moment in the courtroom.

And let me tell you, it is key because, all morning long, we heard from five different witnesses who said, I know whose voice that is on the 911 call screaming for help. That's George Zimmerman, my friend, my colleague, my other friend, my friend's friend. Five people certain, one wiping tears, that's George Zimmerman's voice.

And then came the detective, the detective who actually interviewed Tracy Martin. Tracy Martin is Trayvon's dad.

What did Trayvon Martin's father say when he was asked in an interview room by the Sanford police?

Let me play you a tape of some screaming. Actually, I don't think they prefaced it that way. They said we're going to play you a tape, and then when he was asked who was screaming. The response was crystal clear. Have a look at how that played out not long ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And that is the call that has the screams on it and the gunshot?

DETECTIVE CHRIS SERINO, SANFORD POLICE: Yes, sir.

O'MARA: And did you play that for Mr. Martin and Ms. Green?

SERINO: Yes, sir, I played all the recordings for him.

O'MARA: Focusing on the 911 call, tell me how you played that, what volume or how the setting of that occurred?

SERINO: I can't recall the number as far as the volume went, but it was audible. Relatively clear, as clear as I had. It was played off of a -- I believe off of a CD. It might have been digital, an e-mail. I don't quite remember. But it was played. And it was audible.

O'MARA: OK. And what was Mr. Martin's response?

SERINO: Emotional. Understandable. I let him listen first.

O'MARA: I'm sorry?

SERINO: I let him listen first before I asked anything.

O'MARA: OK. And what did you ask him?

SERINO: I believe my words were, "Is that your son's voice in the background," or -- I think I said it a little differently than that, but I inquired as if that was, in fact, his son yelling for help.

O'MARA: And what was his response?

SERINO: He -- it was more of a verbal and nonverbal. He looked away, and under his breath, as I interpreted it, said no.

O'MARA: Did he ever ask that the tape be played for him at that time?

SERINO: I don't believe so.

O'MARA: Did he ever evidence to you any concern with being able to hear the tape?

SERINO: No, sir.

O'MARA: Had that occurred, would you have simply played the tape for him a second time?

SERINO: Absolutely, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BANFIELD: Wow! A morning when you have five people saying, I'm sure that's George Zimmerman's voice ,and then you have a detective saying, I asked Trayvon Martin's dad if it was his son's voice, and he indicated to me no.

All right, Ryan Smith, dig in here. That's troublesome.

RYAN SMITH, ATTORNEY AND ANCHOR, HLN'S "EVENING EXPRESS": It is. It's a tough situation for the prosecution.

But there are a couple things to this. First, for the defense side, it does look like, hey, why didn't the prosecution offer Tracy Martin as a witness? Oh, now we see. He didn't think it was his son's voice.

Tracy Martin has since come out and said that was his son's voice. So will he be called as a defense witness, or will the prosecution try to bring him in in a rebuttal case? We'll have to see.

BANFIELD: Would you if you were defending this case, Ryan? Would you bring Tracy Martin as a defense witness?

SMITH: I think you should. I think the defense probably might because they could say, let's just get to that part of the matter.

Let's get to the fact that when you originally talked to police, you didn't think it was your son. And people ...

BANFIELD: Hold on, Ryan. Hold on, hold on, hold on.

Because one of the big arguments for the prosecution was, just a second, Detective Serino ...

SMITH: Right.

BANFIELD: ... are you sure that this grieving father wasn't looking away saying no, as in no, that's not my son dying. Please don't tell me I just heard a gunshot.

Don't you think Tracy Martin would take the stand and say that's exactly what I was doing?

SMITH: I think he will, and so that's the risk.

Doris Singleton, one of the other officers, talked about how bad she felt for him, playing that tape, having to put him through all of this. So it's a risk.

But at the same time, maybe you put him on the stand and have him do that

The other thing is, Ashleigh, let's say you don't. Does the prosecution then bring Tracy Martin up to then talk about how, yeah, later I realized that was my son on that recording, and then he faces cross-examination. The question is, do you feel as a prosecutor that something is dangling out there that may hurt your case that you in some way have to address? That might be why they call him.

Or will the defense want to really bring home that point by calling Tracy Martin up and having him say it for himself?

BANFIELD: I tell you what. I'm not a lawyer, and I don't even play one on TV, but I would not, not, not put the father of this young man, Trayvon Martin, up on the stand in my case and have that what could only amount to be hostility. This has been such an uncomfortable silence between these parties.

Ryan, hold that thought for a minute. We've got a bunch of other news that's breaking.

The great seal is still in full view of the camera. I have always wondered why it's not the seal of the great state, but it's always the great seal, as if the state isn't as great as the seal. Go figure, but every state's the same.

So we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, I want to take you live out to San Francisco.

There's been some updating on that crash of the 777, the Asiana flight that crashed on Friday, just a remarkable series of video analyses and also the NTSB coming up with new information for us.

We'll get you up to speed, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Oh, darn. There's nothing in this.

So we're watching the live testimony right now, and, in fact, they went to sidebar. Even though they came back from the recess, they actually went to sidebar. And you can see that little shot right in the corner of the screen where the lawyers are all talking to the judge. She's on the bench.

We're going to get you right back into the live testimony the minute it resumes. This is a good opportunity, though, to get you up to date on the additional details this afternoon that we've been getting on that Saturday -- I said Friday before the break. I apologize, long week -- Saturday's Asiana plane crash, the 777 that crashed at SFO

The investigators are slowly beginning to try to get those pieces together of the puzzle as to what caused this deadly crash.

The NTSB just briefed the media on what it's been able to pull off of the flight data recorders, and at this point, they're also able to tell what they've been able to gather together and what they've been able to find on the tarmac.

Also, in the ocean at the edge of the runway, the tail of the plane scattered on impact. I think by now you'll know that two teenage girls were killed in this crash, and, as if it could not be more tragic, we're now hearing that one of the girls might just possibly have died on the tarmac after being hit by some kind of fire department apparatus.

That's what they're saying, "apparatus," at this point, but some kind of apparatus that was rushing to the scene.

Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEPUTY CHIEF DALE CARNES, SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT: Approximately a half to two-thirds of the way through the incident as we were transitioning from the fire attack and rescue phase into both overhauling the fire and the aircraft and starting to concentrate on the treatment and transport of patients, it became aware to one of our fire attack battalion chiefs that there was a possibility that one of their two fatalities might have been contacted by one of our apparatus at an unknown point during the incident.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: That is so hard to hear. And of course, we also know that more than 300 people were able to walk away from this unbelievable crash.

We are expecting to hear the latest on the crash investigation as the afternoon progresses, and, of course, we will bring you live information just as soon as it's made public and as soon as we find out some of these details.

And we just heard from some of the first-responders, of course. So these are their accounts now. These are the men and the women who actually rushed to the scene.

They were saving lives, many of them running actually towards a burning plane, not knowing if it would explode, so it's pretty heroic, what they did, some of them trapped inside the wreckage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIEUTENANT DAVE MONTEVERDI, SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT: One lady who had fractures in her leg, couldn't move. I think they put her in back if I'm not mistaken.

Then we just had the one gentleman that was up further -- further in the back, maybe seven, eight rows up, and he was groaning. We were running out of time. The smoke started to get thicker and thicker, so we had no choice.

We just -- we stood him up, and amazingly, he started shuffling his feet. That was a good sign.

We got to the rear of the aircraft again, and we were able to get him out. That was pretty much the last person off the plane. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: So it's important to mention also here that we now know that the pilot who was actually in command of this flight was in his ninth training flight on this particular aircraft, and it was his first time landing this kind of aircraft at San Francisco.

He landed at San Francisco before, just never a 777 at San Francisco.

The NTSB is looking into his history, conducting interviews and finding out what the other three pilots on board knew and did not know, also blood-alcohol level.

All of that will be done in the forensic analysis of what happened before that incredible scene that's playing out on your screen actually happened on Saturday.

So what a perfect set of timing in terms of toggling between two very big stories on either coast.

I want to bring you back to the East Coast, Sanford, Florida, where I am live. The pic on your screen, that's playing out live, too.

We were supposed to be back in testimony by now. It was only a 15- minute recess, but they're at sidebar. They're conferring with the judge about something, and they do not tell us what.

Small fun fact here, when you are sitting inside that courtroom, when they go to sidebar, static plays.

We don't play the static for you because it's actually quite obnoxious sounding, but static plays fairly loud to mask any possible sound that could be coming from the bench.

You cannot hear anything, even if you strain your ears to do so.

A quick break, back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Back live in Sanford, Florida, I'm Ashleigh Banfield reporting from the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center.

Here's the reality of a trial. Sometimes it's slow, and this is one of those times.

There's no witness on the witness stand right now. They came right back from recess, and there you have five guys and I think they're all pretty much navy suits up with the female judge, and they're conferring about something.

We don't know what because we don't know what the next witness is going to be or where this is going to go

I can tell you this. Where we've been, here's the day in a nutshell. You ready? Sondra, Mark, Geri, Lee Ann, John, Chris, Doris and Adam. So why is that significant? Because the whole morning was spent by the defense laying out witnesses who all swear under oath, hand up, that that was George Zimmerman screaming for his life on the 911 call.

And then you had police officers taking the stand in the afternoon, swearing under oath, when I spoke to Trayvon Martin's father, he was pretty certain that it was not his son screaming on that 911 call.

But then you had that 311 call that kept coming in, as a cross- examining prosecutor should, really clever lawyering here. That 311 call was so significant.

Guess what was said? Stuff we can't air -- A-holes, "effing" punks, nasty language, the things that George Zimmerman said and his friends and witnesses had to concede it was him saying about Trayvon Martin, 17-year-old kid wearing a hoodie in the rain who had just been off to the convenience store to get some Skittles and an iced tea.

So pretty powerful stuff. Does it neutralize? I'm not the best at this. Mark Nejame has been sitting beside me.

Sometimes I have to look over to you just to see if you're getting the same thing I'm getting. We often disagree, often agree as well, but so far, how is the day playing?

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's a different strategy than you saw the prosecution lay out. The prosecution told a story. They wrote a book. It had a beginning, middle and an end.

Here you're seeing the defense extracting areas that they think that the state made points on, that they know they have to address. So rather than having a beginning, middle and an end, they're hitting every area they have determined that they needed to.

So they are hitting -- you know, right off they started dealing with whose voice it? Then the MMA issue because those were all issues that the state had, by some perception, scored good points with.

So the defense has taken those areas, wrapped their arms around it, bringing in their witnesses and moving on to the next topic.

BANFIELD: Faith Jenkins, put your prosecutor hat back on. I'm sure you were killing in court when you were practicing as a prosecutor, but this is so hard for them. Let's not understate here their job is to prove that George Zimmerman did not reason ably fear for his life and act that way. That is a really tall order. It's got to be long. You do need that beginning, middle and end narrative.

JENKINS: Right. And this tape is at the at the heart of the case and, as you can see, the defense is focusing on it.

What I found so interesting is George Zimmerman gave a statement to the police. When he first listened to this tape, he said, this does not even sound like me.

Then you heard witness after witness -- these are his friends -- people who said, some of them said they'd never even heard him scream who take the witness stand today and say, oh, this sounds just like George. I knew when I heard the tape it was him.

And that's on the backdrop of George Zimmerman saying it didn't even sound like him. So I thought that was interesting.

BANFIELD: Hold that thought. Hold that thought for a minute only because George Zimmerman is standing, and usually that means the whole court is up because the jury's come in.

I want to squeeze in a quick break before we find out who our next witness.

Don't worry, you're not going to miss anything because they often swear in, say their name, say their education.

I'll get you up to speed on that after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: Cutting the break short because Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, has just taken the stand.

Let's listen.

O'MARA: ... including today when we had a couple of officers testifying about an event where you had gone to meet with investigator Chris Serino at Sanford police department.

Do you remember that?

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FATHER: Yes.

O'MARA: Do you remember the event itself, having gone down there? I believe you met with Brandy Green (ph)?

MARTIN: Yes.

O'MARA: Did you have a conversation with officer Serino about why he wanted you down at the station?

MARTIN: Yes, initially we were going down to the police department to make sure that he had verified that Trayvon had been identified. Detective Serino didn't bring me to the station. I actually went to the station myself.

O'MARA: OK. With Miss Green?

MARTIN: Correct.

O'MARA: And at some point you did go back to his sort of office cubicle area and listen to some tapes; is that correct?

MARTIN: Correct.

O'MARA: My understanding is you listened to a number of tapes, one of which is the tape that we're identifying as the 911 call, correct?

MARTIN: Yes.

O'MARA: And he did play that for you?

MARTIN: Yes.

O'MARA: Were you listening to it as he played it for you?

MARTIN: Yes.

O'MARA: Understanding that it was difficult to listen to, it included the shot that ended your son's life, correct?

MARTIN: Yes.

O'MARA: At the end of that tape, do you recall Officer Serino asking you whether or not you could identify your son's voice?

MARTIN: Not those exact words but something to that extent, yes.

O'MARA: Do you recall the words he used?

MARTIN: As best as I can recall after he played the team he just said "do you recognize the voice"?

O'MARA: And what was the response?

MARTIN: I didn't tell him no, no, that wasn't Trayvon. I think the chairs had wheels on them and I kind of pushed away from the table and just kind of shook my head and said I can't tell.

O'MARA: So your words were, "I can't tell."

MARTIN: Something to that effect, but I never said that, no, that wasn't my son's voice.

O'MARA: You heard Officer Serino testify that you said no, correct?

MARTIN: Correct.

O'MARA: And you heard Officer Singleton also testify that she was about eight or 10 feet and she heard you say no, or an indication that you acknowledged it was not Trayvon's voice is that correct?

MARTIN: Before Officer Singleton testified, I had know idea she was in the vicinity.

O'MARA: But you heard her testify ...

MARTIN: I heard her testify to that, but I didn't see her in the room.

O'MARA: Did you ever ask to hear the tape a second time?

MARTIN: Not at that moment, no. O'MARA: Did you ever tell anybody that you had listened to a cleaned- up version of the tape and was unable to identify the voice of the tape --

MARTIN: What do you mean cleaned-up version, sir?

O'MARA: I'm asking you, sir.

MARTIN: To my knowledge, that's the only tape of know of. I have no knowledge of a cleaned-up version.

O'MARA: So my question is did you ever tell anybody, your attorney or anybody else ...

MARTIN: I never told anyone that I listened to a cleaned-up version of the tape.

O'MARA: Or an enhanced version.

MARTIN: I have no knowledge of an enhanced version.

O'MARA: Did you ever tell Sybrina Fulton you ever listened to the tape?

MARTIN: I didn't tell her, no. There was a lot of stuff going on. We had just buried our son, a lot of emotions and you just don't think of every little detail that you think of. Obviously, it was a tragic and still is a tragic time for us.

So just to answer your question, did I tell Miss Fulton that I listened to the tape, no, I didn't.

O'MARA: Now, you were at the mayor's office when the tape was played for the entire family, correct?

MARTIN: Correct.

O'MARA: And you were there as well listening to the tape?

MARTIN: Yes.

O'MARA: Did you ever take an opportunity to tell Miss Fulton or any of the other family members before the tape was played what they were going to hear?

MARTIN: No, I didn't.

O'MARA: Is there any reason why you didn't advise them of that?

MARTIN: I'm sure they were aware of what we were doing at the mayor's office, so there was no reason for me to confirm in fact that we were there to listen to the tapes.

O'MARA: And was it at that time in the room with everybody else -- when -- what did you say about the tape when you listened to it that time in the mayor's office? MARTIN: What do you mean what did I say?

O'MARA: Did you acknowledge anything about the tape to anybody?

MARTIN: After listening -- after listening to the tape for maybe 20 times, I said that I knew that it was Trayvon's voice. I didn't direct that towards any family members.

As a matter of fact, I think the family members had started leaving out of the room. It was too much for them. They couldn't take it. And I just decided to sit there and listen to it.

O'MARA: Had you listened to the tape from the time Officer Serino played it for you and the 16th of March when you heard it in the mayor's office?

MARTIN: No. I listened to it in Detective Serino's cubicle and then again in the mayor's office.

O'MARA: And no time in between?

MARTIN: No.

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

Thank you, your honor. I have no further questions.

JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SEMINOLE COUNTY CIRCUIT JUDGE: Thank you.

Cross?

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: Mr. Martin, even at this time is it hard for you to believe that your son is no longer living?

MARTIN: It's very difficult to believe that Trayvon's not living.

DE LA RIONDA: OK.

MARTIN: As I said over and over, that was my best friend in life, and to have him gone is tragic.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. You were asked two areas that I want to cover with you that Mr. O'Mara asked you about, the 911 call that you heard -- or the calls, the recordings that you heard at SPD, or Sanford police department, you remember going there?

MARTIN: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: Now in terms of being sure we understand the context, your son was killed late evening, Sunday, February 26th, and you would have gone over to the Sanford police department the morning of the -- I believe it was the 28th?

Do you recall that?

MARTIN: Yes.