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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Zimmerman Trial Day 10; Legal Eagles on Zimmerman Trial; Zimmerman Trial in Black and White; Asiana Crash Investigation
Aired July 8, 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: With witness after witness testified George Zimmerman is the man heard screaming on the 911 tape. Not Trayvon Martin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And you said that you heard the tape several times, is that mainly listening to it on TV?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
O'MARA: Were you able to identify Mr. Zimmerman's voice during the very first time that you listened to it? Yes, my immediate reaction was, that's George's voice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely, it's Georgie.
JOHN DONNELLY, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FRIEND: That is George Zimmerman, and I wish to god I did not have that ability to understand that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Plus key testimony from Trayvon Martin's father. Did he or did he not recognized his son's voice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FATHER: I didn't tell him that it was Trayvon. I kind of pushed away from the -- away from the table and just kind of shook my head and said, I can't tell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And the judge rules the jury will hear about Trayvon Martin's alleged pot use.
Joining me now exclusively to talk about a very busy day in court, George Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara.
Mark O'Mara, busy day. Pretty important day in many ways. How significant is this late breaking decision to allow Trayvon Martin's toxicology report including his cannabis use to be made available to the court? O'MARA: Well, good evening, Piers. It's good to chat with you again. We sort of thought that this day was coming, the judge had initially said that we could not present that evidence until we were able to tie it up by terms of being relevant. And we knew that we would have a toxicologist come in or a medical examiner to come in to say that any level of pot in the system could have some effect.
And of course that falls in line with what George Zimmerman stated in his first couple of moments with the non-emergency operator where he said that it looked like he's on drugs or something. So we sort of presume the judge is going to let this in.
MORGAN: But we are talking about a tiny amount in his system. An amount that no real expert would ever say could have a material difference on somebody's temper or aggression. Particularly with a drug like cannabis.
O'MARA: Well, actually, there are some studies out there, particularly young males, that suggest that even low levels of cannabis use can lead to some aggression. So the question is not how much, but if in fact there has been some effect, and if that effect was noticed by George Zimmerman, and I think it is relevant.
After all, if we're going to talk about what George Zimmerman may have read in a course work two, three, four years ago, then I think what Trayvon Martin had smoked or had in his system, somewhere between two and four hours before the event is certainly something the jury could consider. They'll give whatever weight to it they want. But they should have the opportunity to consider it.
MORGAN: Many people find it extraordinary, though, that Trayvon Martin's drug use will be known through this toxicology report, and this test that was taken after he died, but George Zimmerman himself, the man who pulled the trigger that killed Trayvon Martin, he was never tested for drugs. We don't know, for example, whether he had taken cannabis, do we?
O'MARA: No, we don't. And the Sanford Police Department, when they do an investigation like this, look at the individual that they are interrogating. Of course they had Mr. Zimmerman for six hours. He had complied with every request that they wanted, all the interviews they wanted to do. Certainly had they asked him for a blood test, he would have given it, but the police have responded to that criticism by saying, look, we request drug screens when they seem to be appropriate, is there any indication whatsoever that the person might be impaired, and in George Zimmerman's case, there's no evidence, no indication whatsoever that he might have been impaired.
But on the other hand, Trayvon Martin's toxicology, every deceased person who goes through the medical examiner has blood pulled and toxicology is run. So while it sound that it might be a bit imbalanced, in actual fact it really wasn't.
MORGAN: Let's move on to some of the more difficult exchanges between you and Trayvon Martin's grieving parents. It can't be easy to be an attorney in your position, having to cross examine people who lost their son.
O'MARA: Not at all.
MORGAN: I appreciate that. But things got pretty tense today with Trayvon's father, particularly, I felt, with this exchange about Ben Crump. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'MARA: Did you ever instruct your attorney, Ben Crump -- you didn't have Ben Crump when you listened to tape on the 27th or the 28th, did you?
O'MARA: He was not your attorney at that point?
MARTIN: No, he wasn't.
O'MARA: Later did you instruct him to say that the police lied when they said that you couldn't tell -- when they said that you had said no about hearing your son's voice? Did you instruct your lawyer to say that?
MARTIN: I never instructed anyone to say anything.
O'MARA: You never instructed Ben Crump to say the police had lied about that?
MARTIN: I never instructed anyone to say anything.
O'MARA: Did you instruct your lawyer Ben Crump to say that the audio has since been cleared up and now you can hear it better?
MARTIN: No, I didn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: It's obviously difficult, as I said before, but I mean, where does this take us? Because accusing a man who, you know, within 48 hours of his son being killed, is clearly in a lot of distress, clearly grieving intensely and according to him simply said, I don't know. Is it really effective for you and the defense to go after a man in that position?
O'MARA: I think you have to be very careful and very sensitive to the loss that a grieving family is going through. Having said that, not only do we have the two officers who were there, Chris Serino and Doris Singleton. There was two other officers who still may testify, each one of them -- well, three of the four heard Mr. Martin state that it was not his son. Not that he equivocated, not that he couldn't tell, not that he said, I don't know. But that he actually said it wasn't his son.
So we aren't the ones who are bringing this forth. This was evidence that was known to the prosecution. They decided not to call Tracy Martin to the stand for probably that precise reason, that they were going to have to deal with that inconsistency.
My frustration is one that I've had for a year is that Ben Crump on the Martin family's behalf stated to the media that the police were lying and that his client Tracy Martin never said no, that's not my son. That's contraindicated now by two sworn testimonies and also Ben Crump said that once Tracy Martin heard a cleaned up version of the tape, he was able to identify his son, and that's also an untruth because as we know from his testimony from the rest of the evidence, there has not been a cleaned up version of the tape.
So my frustration is that when someone on behalf of the Martin family presents inaccuracies to the media, for whatever purposes, now I've got to deal with challenging a grieving father about those very inaccuracies. They never should have happened to begin with.
MORGAN: Let's get to what I think could well be the crux of this, which is whether George Zimmerman had any -- let's read out the exact criteria, second-degree murder. Did he act from ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent? And you've asked that question repeatedly of many witnesses.
And we come back to this clip of George Zimmerman, which I want to play again. The one that refers to f-ing punks. Let's listen to this again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's running. Which way is he running?
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: Down toward the other entrance to the neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Which entrance is that that he's heading towards?
ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we don't need you to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, to me, this seems like the weakest part of your case, in the sense that somebody who against professional advice, is going after somebody who -- and he believes they're assholes as he said, that f-ing punks, they're always getting away with it. In his head, he is looking at Trayvon Martin and thinking bad things about him, isn't he, indisputably?
O'MARA: A couple of things. One again, we -- the state has now finished their case. There's no evidence that they presented that my client continued to follow Trayvon Martin after he was advised not to. They're done with their case, yet not one shred of evidence to support that. But let's just say that the statements that he used, the expletives suggested that he was somewhat frustrated. We know that he was frustrated because his neighborhood was being assailed by people who were burglarizing homes and causing home invasions.
The question is, presume for the part -- for the point of this conversation that he was frustrated, that frustration is far and away from ill will, hatred, spite necessary for second degree. Frustration is one thing, the necessary element for second-degree murder, that ill will, spite and hatred, which you know from listening to the judgment of acquittal arguments, has some very specific connotation to it, and has to have very specific fact.
After all, somebody picking up somebody in a moss pit over the head and throwing them on the ground that's not ill will and hatred. So somebody saying to somebody, f-ing punks, assholes, whatever it might be, may be a frustration, may be some street talk, but is nowhere near second-degree murder, and yet with the case being done, they haven't shown how they're going to tie that together.
It was not the way John Guy or Bernie De La Rionda say those expletives, the way they -- the enunciation and emphasis they put on it, it has to be in the context of the way my client said it, and as every witness who now has testified about the way my client said it, there's no spite, anger, ill will, hatred, anything more than maybe some frustration.
MORGAN: Where do you see the last few days of this case going now, Mark, and in particular, the big question, I guess, will you put George Zimmerman on the stand?
O'MARA: Well, I've been asked that a lot, and I -- I have to wait until I convinced myself that the state has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt before we would consider ever putting George Zimmerman on the stand. And of course we already have so many of his statements in there that I think his story is out.
We cannot -- you know, can't forget the one major point about this case. The state has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and that includes, they have to disapprove that George acted in self- defense beyond a reasonable doubt.
To date, I don't think that they've come close to doing that, so I'm going to incorporate that decision into the decision whether or not to put George on the stand. As to the other issues, you know, we're going to deal with some of the forensic evidence now, the experts, we have our own expert regarding medical examiner, toxicology to come in, we have an expert concerning everything we found on Trayvon Martin's phone, evidencing some of the other things that we know are out there. We're going to bring that in, a few other loose ends to tie up, and that's about it.
MORGAN: If George Zimmerman is acquitted, completely acquitted, not found guilty of second-degree murder, no lesser charge of manslaughter, and walks free, having killed somebody we know after the event was an unarmed young teenager, there is a concern that this will create a lot of ill feeling, particularly in the black community around America. There may possibly be riots. You will have read the same warnings about this.
How concerned are you about that and about the safety of your client should he be declared an innocent man?
O'MARA: Well, first of all, my client will never be safe because there are a percentage of the population who are angry, they're upset and they may well take it out on him. So he'll never be safe.
My hope is that the system that is better than any other in the country -- I'm sorry, in the world is working, and I think that anybody who pays attention to the facts of this case listens to the evidence, will not leave that courtroom thinking that George Zimmerman is guilty of anything. And if a jury agrees, they should not and cannot be frustrated with the outcome, because the state's put on a good case, we put on a good case.
Everything that should get out to this jury has been out, and quite honestly, a lot of what doesn't necessarily need to get out to the jury has been kept from them. And if they decide on the facts of the case, we as a society, black, white, everybody need to look at this case and say, justice was in fact accomplished here because a fair trial was held.
Those who refuse to listen to that they're not going to listen to me or you, or sensibilities at all anyway, they're going to stay frustrated and stay angry.
MORGAN: Mark O'Mara, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
O'MARA: Thank you, Piers. Great to talk to you again.
MORGAN: When we come back, I'll talk to the attorney for Trayvon Martin's family. He's been listening to what Mark O'Mara just said. We'll get his reaction live.
Also this shocking crash. Is the pilot have enough experience? Almost one of the victims hit by emergency vehicle. All the latest on that dreadful incident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Mr. Martin, even at this time, is it hard for you to believe that your son is not longer living?
MARTIN: It's very difficult to believe that Trayvon's not living. As I've said over and over, my best friend in life. To have him gone is a tragedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Trayvon Martin's father on the stand today. It was emotional. But did he help or hurt the case against George Zimmerman?
Joining me now is Darryl Parks. He's co-counsel for the Martin Family.
Darryl Parks, you heard what Mark O'Mara had to say there. Pretty scathing about Ben Crump, your colleague. Tell me your reaction.
DARRYL PARKS, MARTIN FAMILY CO-COUNSEL: Well, I think Mark O'Mara has made a decision to come after my law partner for whatever reason. The truth of the matter is, Mr. O'Mara and the rest of the world must understand that at a time when no one else was given justice to the Martin family, my law partner Ben Crump was the guy who took on this crusade to get justice for Trayvon Martin.
When the police refused to arrest him, refused to further investigate, he was the one person that believed in moving forward to try and get justice in this case. And so he may not have an appreciation for it, right, but at least there was enough evidence there that we needed to have him arrested and to have the trial that we're having now. Now he may not have an appreciation for it at all, but this is how we got to justice.
MORGAN: Let's turn to some of the key things that came out today. Particularly perhaps the late revelation in the day that Trayvon Martin's toxicology report will be made public in court, which will include, of course, the fact that he had cannabis in his system, albeit a very small amount of cannabis. What is your response to that decision?
PARKS: Well, number one, I think the law had to be followed and the judge had to allow it in. However, I think once again we have a situation where the defense council has made a very conscious decision that they are committed to making this 17-year-old young black child appear to be some thug and to throw him into some negative light. It is totally wrong what they are trying to do to his character and to the image of him in this case.
It has no place in this case because the truth of the matter is this case is about what happened during that seven minutes that the two of them were engaged. And so to try to throw other issues into it and to make him appear to be some thug, we've seen that they have -- even before this trial started, taking pictures of Trayvon they knew was not going to be in evidence and put it into the public domain.
They continued on this crusade to make him appear to be somebody that he wasn't. And it's totally, totally wrong, Piers.
PARKS: Has it been a mistake by the prosecution to not have more people testify that they recognized Trayvon Martin's voice in the crucial tape, the 911 tape that has a male voice screaming? Because the defense put up so many people today, who acted not just as advocates, if you like, to the fact that it was George Zimmerman's voice, but also giving great character witness testimony about him in the process, quite effective to a jury, whereas on your side, you're left with, you know, his father, Trayvon's father, and his brother, both having to concede that their initial reaction was, they couldn't tell if it was Trayvon or not, which is not that helpful.
PARKS: Well, two things, number one, I agree that the amount of character evidence they got into the testimony earlier today was probably out of bounds in terms of the amount that was there. And probably opened the door to some of the character evidence that they introduced in a very sly way.
Number two, though, I think that we certainly know that the strategy as to how many people the state used is a strategy they have. However, you must remember that they have the right to put on the rebuttal cases as well, too. And I'm pretty sure that they will consider the possibility of putting on other rebuttal witnesses in their case when they come to that point.
MORGAN: Is it likely that your partner Ben Crump will give evidence?
PARKS: Well, you know, yesterday I took Ben's deposition. And the deposition went fairly well. We were happy with what they got on. They didn't get much of what they thought they were going to get out of it. But again it appears that they have an issue with my law partner and continue to try to inject him into this case.
This case is not about Ben Crump or any of the lawyers working on this case. It's not about Mark O'Mara either. This case is about a 17- year-old unarmed black child, was walking from the store. And this guy decides to go after him. That's what this case is about. All the other side show issues have no place in a court of law. And no matter what it takes, we're going to continue to push very hard to make sure that that's the focus, and not the focus that they're trying to make of putting Trayvon in negative light, his cell phone and all these other issues.
His cell phone had not one thing to do with his death. And so what has to do with his death is once they got to the ground, George Zimmerman who is trying to portray himself as a person who couldn't fight, who couldn't do anything, who hadn't exercised, who we now know he lost 50 pounds from exercising, yet for some reason he couldn't defend himself.
Had he waited less than a minute, we know that the cops were there. So his life was not -- I mean, and you have to think about this case. He killed this kid and at the end of the day we have to remember that there was a life lost here and not allow anyone to discount Trayvon's life.
MORGAN: Daryl Parks, thank you very much.
PARKS: Thank you for having me.
MORGAN: Now I want to bring in a legal expert who has lots to say about this case. Alex Ferrer is a former Florida Circuit Court judge and the host of television's "Judge Alex."
Judge Alex, it's good to see you in person.
ALEX FERRER, HOST, "JUDGE ALEX": Thank you, Piers. It's great to be here.
MORGAN: We've had a lot of conversations about this. I thought today was a fascinating day, not just because the defense kept bringing witness after witness.
MORGAN: All saying that is George Zimmerman's voice. Now I would have expected any friend, frankly, of George Zimmerman to say that. Given that very few people apparently can't recognize anybody screaming. It's a bit of a myth that they can. And so it didn't surprise me they did that. What has surprised is that you haven't seen as many people on the prosecution side saying that is definitely Trayvon. And in fact the few that has have been caught giving conflicting testimony about that.
FERRER: That's true. There is the significant conflicting testimony from Tracy, Trayvon's father, who originally said no, although today he said I never said that. Just not any clear indication why these officers and apparently one more who hasn't testified yet would make that fact up. If they're really trying to undermine the case, they could come up with a lot more facts that they thought that didn't happen.
FERRER: I'm not sure how effective it is to put on a witness after a witness after a witness, like that to say it's his voice screaming because how would they know? When have they ever heard him screaming for his life? The one that I found to be most credible was the former Vietnam war medic who said, I heard people screaming for their life in my own platoon and he actually got emotional on the stand talking about it. And he identified George Zimmerman's voice.
MORGAN: But here's the thing that I thought was interesting. If you go back to the history of this case, even George Zimmerman himself, when he was first played the tape of him screaming, exclaimed that he didn't recognize his own voice.
FERRER: He said it doesn't even sound like me.
MORGAN: No -- yes. He didn't deny it was him and it was more an exclamation of (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: That doesn't sound like me. If the guy who is actually supposed to be screaming isn't sure it's him --
FERRER: But that's different.
MORGAN: Why should we -- well, is it, though?
FERRER: Yes. Because have you ever heard yourself on a recording? I mean if you listen to your own voice --
MORGAN: Yes. Many times.
FERRER: And does it always sound like -- does it sound like the way you expect you sound? Because most people hear their voice in their head when they speak. And when they hear themselves recorded it doesn't sound like that.
MORGAN: But on --
FERRER: Imagine if you hear yourself screaming for your life, it's going to be -- it's going to certainly be different.
MORGAN: Right. But I'm not sure I would recognize anybody screaming in a way that we heard on that tape.
FERRER: I'm with you 100 percent on that.
MORGAN: And that is why no voice expert has been able to definitively say.
FERRER: Well, it's different, though, because people who can identify your voice are identifying it from their own personal experience and hearing it. The voice experts are using a computer program that's analyzing the voice in a different way. That's comparing it to a sample. There is no sample of George Zimmerman screaming for his life. There is no sample of Trayvon Martin screaming for his life.
So -- but people who know them if they can identify it, they can identify it. I think the jury will probably doubt that either mother, either father, either friend ever heard them screaming at the top of their lungs for their life in a panicked mode, sp it's more of, we want it to be true than anything else.
MORGAN: But it is critical, isn't it? Because --
FERRER: It would have been the deciding case. Deciding factor.
MORGAN: Because if it was definitive proof that it was one or the other, that is the case right there?
FERRER: Absolutely. If they had been able to scientifically identify the voice on that tape, the case is over. Over. Because you can't claim self-defense when the person who you're claiming self-defense from is screaming for their life for 40 seconds before you shoot them. And also if you are claiming self-defense and it's identified that you are the one screaming for your life during that time, it makes your case. It would have been the key piece of evidence in this case and it's not useful.
MORGAN: Without that, it still seems to me that a key piece of evidence in this case, in the trial we've heard so far is the fact that George Zimmerman ignores advice, gets out of his car, starts following or whatever he says he was doing, Trayvon Martin, against the professional advice. But more than that, the description he's giving him, the person he's going after, he's an A-hole, he's an f-ing punk, got to stop him from getting away with it, to me, this seemed very, very close to having some kind of malicious intent in your head.
MORGAN: About what that person is doing.
FERRER: Well, that's what the prosecution is hoping for because that's what -- that's what they have.
MORGAN: But do you agree with it?
FERRER: No, I don't. Because -- well, I've tried second-degree murder cases. This is -- this is not a typical second-degree murder case. The problem the prosecution is having is they're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and that's why it's not fitting. The fact that he muttered those words before he got out of the car or as he's exiting the car, there's a lot that goes on between that time and the killing.
And if you read the statute, what it says is it's a killing by an act imminently dangerous to another, in this case the shooting, and that that act stemmed from ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent. So the shooting itself had to come from that evil will, hatred, which is so far removed. There's this big thing in the middle that's this fight between the two of them that we don't know how it started. So I don't believe this is a second-degree murder case. I think the prosecution is trying to make it one. But I think they're going to fail at that.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break, but stay with me, Judge Alex.
Also when we come back, we're going to know what George Zimmerman learned and didn't learn from his boxing trainer.
I also want to bring you two more of our legal eagles for tonight's "Law and Disorder."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'MARA: And what did he progress to as a boxer?
ADAM POLLOCK, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S TRAINER: Well, he never got off of learning how to punch so not very far. 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Not a flattering portrait of George Zimmerman, but one that could be important to the defense.
Back with now, Judge Alex Ferrer, host of television's "Judge Alex" and a former Florida Circuit Court judge. Also defense attorney Jayne Weintraub and Alan Dershowitz.
Welcome to my new experts.
Alan Dershowitz, let me go to you. You're joining us by Skype. I suppose in the end it comes down to this. Has the prosecution proved its case? Yes or no?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, LAWYER: No, they -- they created a terrible problem for themselves by overcharging second-degree murder. If they had instead charged what would have been appropriate in this case, at most, manslaughter, they would have had a reasonable chance of prevailing. But by overcharging and now I suspect they're going to seek a compromised verdict they're going to probably ask the judge to charge on both second-degree murder and manslaughter in the hope that the jury will come to a compromised verdict.
That will be objected to and it will create incredible complications. That's what happens when you overcharge for political reasons and that's what happened here.
MORGAN: Jayne Weintraub, I mean, here's my sense of what a lot of people think, which is, that in the end an unarmed 17-year-old teenager has been killed. And the idea that the person that did that is able to just walk free, an innocent man guilty of nothing, doesn't seem right to them.
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, and I hear you, Piers, and as a mother, of course, I understand, but as a lawyer, analyzing the evidence that's before us, and understanding the legal instruction that the judge will give the jury, that a reasonable doubt can be proven by a conflict in the evidence, a lack of evidence, it goes to show that there's nothing but reasonable doubt in this case. I mean, the mothers of -- the mother of Trayvon Martin and the mother of George Zimmerman, both of them were put up by their respective lawyers, neither of those women were lying.
I don't believe any of these people were lying. I believe that they were testifying about what they really wanted to hear.
WEINTRAUB: And what they did hear. But all that amounts to is reasonable doubt.
MORGAN: I mean, Judge Alex, it's incontrovertibly there is reasonable doubt, I think. Nobody knows, as you said, about the crucial moments that led up to the altercation, which under Florida law is what really matters, what happened before in the van, on the phone, et cetera, et cetera, is all really irrelevant.
FERRER: You're right. When it comes down to self-defense, what matters is what happens at the time of the confrontation. And by the way, this is by no means unique. Very often you have a crime where victim is dead and you're stuck with one side of the story. Sometimes the police can make something out of that, sometimes they cannot. Often they cannot. So this is not a unique case by any means at all.
And yes, it is tragic when you have a 17-year-old who is killed and it appears unjustifiably so, but imagine the scenario where you wake up and you hear a noise, you grab your gun, you go to the living room, and you see somebody climbing through your window, and you shoot them. Turns out your daughter had called her boyfriend and said, come over, I left the window open. And you just killed a 17-year-old who is doing nothing wrong.
Clearly nobody would send you to prison for that. Now this is a vastly different scenario, but it's the same test. You look to see what the perception was of the person at the time they used deadly force. If the jury agrees that he was acting reasonably in his mind when he thought he was going to suffer serious bodily injury, and it was reasonable for him to use deadly force, they will find him not guilty because of self-defense. If they disagree, he will be convicted of manslaughter.
MORGAN: Alan Dershowitz, I mean, this case I think is so fascinating to people, and being so widely watched around the world in fact. And I talked to people in Britain, they're gripped by it. Because it cuts to everything, doesn't it? It cuts to guns, to race, to society, to self-defense. So many pillars of American life colliding in one courtroom right now.
What will the repercussions be of this, whatever happens with the verdict?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that hard cases make bad law. And it's not the job of the jury to solve America's social problems. To solve America's gun problem or race problem. It's to decide whether there is a reasonable doubt, the burden's on the government, as to whether or not he acted in self-defense.
And the more the jury is invited to think broadly about these social issues, the greater the problem will be with their verdict. It's our job as commentators, as others, to deal with the broad social concerns about this case. And however the case is resolved by the jury, there will be dissatisfaction. Because as you put it so well, there isn't a 17-year-old child whose dead, but only one person is on trial, and that's the defendant.
He's the only one who has rights in this case. And the public often doesn't understand that. So whatever the verdict will be here, there'll be some dissatisfaction. And it's part of our job, and I think, Piers, I think you're doing a very good job educating the public about the complexity of a case like this.
MORGAN: Right. I mean, it's really not about human emotion or the reactions that we all might have as parents or anything else. You know, I find it, as I've got three teenage sons, and if this happened to one of them, I would want justice, but at the same time --
WEINTRAUB: Is it justice or is it retribution or --
MORGAN: Well, that's the point, isn't it? And I do not believe that George Zimmerman set out to murder Trayvon Martin. So you're looking at the worst case scenario some sort of manslaughter case. But I just find the idea -- and I know (INAUDIBLE) before but I think it comes to the crux of what people think, of him just walking away with nothing.
WEINTRAUB: Well, I know this is a terrible thing to say, but when he was asked, what are you doing or why are you following me, conversely, if Trayvon had just answered his question and said, I'm going to my dad's, he lives over there --
MORGAN: But why didn't George Zimmerman say --
WEINTRAUB: It wouldn't be that.
MORGAN: -- I'm a neighborhood watch official, I'm off duty at the moment, but I've got to ask you, what are you doing? Why didn't he just announce who he was?
WEINTRAUB: He should have. But he wasn't -- under the law he wasn't compelled --
FERRER: I know --
MORGAN: Judge Alex, I mean --
MORGAN: It may have been under the law, but surely, this has to be taken into consideration. George Zimmerman ignored advice, got out of his vehicle.
MORGAN: Said, you know, f-ing punks, A-holes getting away with it, marched away, we don't know what happened next. But at the end, the idea there is no punishment for the fact that that expense of actions leads to him shooting an unarmed teenager dead, seems to me pretty ridiculous.
FERRER: Yes, I think that sticks in everybody's throat. Those of us who work in the judicial system know that sometimes the outcome in the trial is not fair in the sense of what America thinks is fair, but it's fair in the sense of what the legal system thinks is fair. Because to prove -- to send somebody to prison for a crime, you have to prove the elements of that crime. And the elements of crime are like the ingredients of a cake.
And if you leave one of those out, you don't have the crime that you charged him with. It is a by the book process. And there's no other way to do it. If you do it by emotion, then we are going to go back to the days of pitchforks and torches, going up to the jailhouse and drawing your own retribution.
MORGAN: I want a quick one-word answer out of all of you, if I may. Guilty or not guilty of second-degree murder? Alan?
DERSHOWITZ: Not guilty of second-degree murder. Possibly they may find him guilty of manslaughter, but that will be appealed and perhaps successfully.
MORGAN: Judge Alex?
FERRER: I think not guilty of second-degree murder, and I think that if they reject self-defense, he gets a manslaughter. And I think that gets upheld on appeal. If they go with self-defense then it's a total acquittal.
WEINTRAUB: Not guilty.
MORGAN: Fascinating stuff. Alex Ferrer, Jayne Weintraub, Alan Dershowitz, thank you all very much indeed. Come back soon, it will only build and build the excitement, I think, for this verdict, which nobody is really sure what's going to happen. And that's why people are gripped by it. But let's -- come back soon.
Coming next, the Zimmerman trial in black and white in the courtroom. And we're not talking about race. But what does America think and what will the reaction be if there is an acquittal.
MORGAN: The key question in the Trayvon Martin case has of course been, is it about race? America has been arguing about that ever since an unarmed black teenager was shot to death. But so far the judge in the case has kept all the talk of race out of the courtroom.
Joining me now is Michael Higginbotham. He's the author of "Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America." A constitutional law professor.
Welcome to you again.
PROF. F. MICHAEL HIGGINBOTHAM, AUTHOR, "GHOSTS OF JIM CROW": Thank you.
MORGAN: Obviously, although race, everyone's trying to exclude it from this case, it's been hanging there as an overbearing presence, hasn't it?
HIGGINBOTHAM: It has been hanging there and it's been there since the beginning. Actually there are two cases, the case before the jury and the case of public opinion. And in the case before the jury, it's been very subtle, but race has been there. So you can say profiling, you can't say racial profiling.
The blacks have been removed from the jury, but it's not because they were black. It's because the rules permitted it. So underlying both of those examples is race. And it seems like people don't want to consider that possibility.
MORGAN: What do you think the verdict is likely to be where -- given what we are at the moment, in terms of the testimony we've heard.
HIGGINBOTHAM: Well, I think that the -- I think it's really still up in the air. Clearly the prosecution put on a good case, now the defense has come back, and today they had a number of people saying that it was George Zimmerman's voice they heard screaming on the 911. MORGAN: Let me ask you a difficult question, though. If it was George Zimmerman's voice, if Trayvon Martin and he had gotten into an altercation, and Trayvon really was smashing his head into the concrete, and he really was screaming out, and genuinely feared his life might be in danger, would that give him justification for taking the action he did?.
HIGGINBOTHAM: I think that's strong justification for self-defense, acquittal. On the other hand I think if you feel that it was Trayvon Martin yelling out and screaming, then it's a very different case.
MORGAN: Well, here's the problem, though. We just don't know that. We're not going to know that. We're not going to know so many things about this, the only two people who know, one is dead, Trayvon Martin, and one is George Zimmerman, fighting for his -- not his life, but fighting for his freedom. Because either way, you know, he could be found guilty of manslaughter and still get 20 years because Trayvon was 17 years old.
HIGGINBOTHAM: That's very true, and that may be justice in the case. You're absolutely right, it's a circumstantial case. The evidence is circumstantial. And the question is really I think what story you believe. The defense is telling a very different story from the prosecution. And it's really a question of what story the jurors believe.
MORGAN: There's lots of concern about what the reaction could be if George Zimmerman is acquitted. What is your view of how the black community in America, many of whom are very angry about this? What is your view of how they should react if that eventuality happens?
HIGGINBOTHAM: Well, certainly I think you're correct that many in the black community as well as throughout the country are very upset by what has trans transpired, particularly because this is a murder case. It's the ultimate human tragedy. But the most important thing is that justice be done. And so Americans of all the colors must respect the decision that the jurors come to and of course we have an appeal process that can take place.
MORGAN: You know, again, I said earlier that one of the key parts to me is when you hear George Zimmerman saying, this guy's an A-hole, he's an f-ing punk, et cetera, et cetera. It may not be racial profiling, but it is profiling. He's targeting Trayvon Martin who we now know was just walking back home to see his -- to his father's house with a bunch of Skittles on him.
HIGGINBOTHAM: Well --
MORGAN: And he's profiling, isn't he?
HIGGINBOTHAM: Well, I think it's clearly profiling, the question is, what was the basis for the profile. And I think a lot of people are concerned that the basis was race. I heard earlier Mr. Zimmerman's attorney talk about how his client was frustrated. I think a lot of people are concerned that that frustration was taken out on Trayvon Martin. And what people I think really are asking is, why was he targeted?
Why did Zimmerman identify Martin as someone who was a troublemaker in the neighborhood and then why did he follow him and ignore the wishes of the authorities who said don't follow him.
MORGAN: I mean, there's a world of difference, isn't there, in the way this plays out in public opinion? If in his head he was thinking this could be a young troublemaker or if in his head he's thinking, this is a young black man he's trouble.
HIGGINBOTHAM: And I think that's the real concern that many people have that somehow race is being equated with suspicion. Somehow because Trayvon Martin was a black child walking through the neighborhood, Zimmerman identified him as someone who needed to be followed because he was someone who could be a possible troublemaker.
MORGAN: And the fact remains, if he hadn't followed him, then Trayvon Martin wouldn't have been killed.
HIGGINBOTHAM: There are many things in this case that if they hadn't have happened --
HIGGINBOTHAM: -- there wouldn't have been a tragedy.
MORGAN: Michael Higginbotham, thank you very much indeed.
HIGGINBOTHAM: My pleasure.
MORGAN: It's a miracle that anyone survived but now we're learning more about what went wrong in the plane crash that killed two teenage girls in San Francisco. Did the pilot have enough experience? The latest coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH HERSMAN, CHAIRMAN, NTSB: There were two pilots, and many of you all have talked about those two pilots. It was a captain who was working on his initial operating experience in the 777. He was an experienced pilot and a prior captain, but he was working on getting his rating on the 777 and getting his initial operating experience in the 777.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was the NTSB's Deborah Hersman talking about the pilot who crash-landed in San Francisco on Saturday. The plane was flying far slower than it should have been. The question is why.
Joining me now is Robert Hager, a former NBC correspondent who spent years covering airline accidents.
Robert, let's cut to the quick here. Why was this plane traveling so, as it turned out, fatally slowly?
ROBERT HAGER, FORMER NBC CORRESPONDENT: Now, that's the $64,000 question. That's what investigators have got to try to find out. It's incredible, the slow speed. Their target, the speed that they're supposed to slow down to just before touchdown was 157 miles an hour. Now translating that, some people may have heard this in knots but I like that miles an hour.
Hundred and fifty-seven is what they're supposed to be going at touchdown, minimum speed. And already that plane had got that slow a half minute out from the runway. Why they let it get that slow? They let it slow down then for another 30 seconds after it reached that speed, got down to less than 120 miles an hour.
So imagine this great big 777 aircraft, big, heavy aircraft like that, going only 120 miles an hour. It's just inevitable it was going to stall.
MORGAN: Right. But here's another $64,000 question, which is this pilot, though he's being accused of being inexperienced, actually had bangs of experience in other ways in terms of being a pilot. Ten thousand hours of experience on other planes including a Boeing 747. On the 777 he was still training but this was his ninth training flight, 43 hours. He was 11 flights short of getting a full license on that aircraft.
This guy is not inexperienced enough surely to not realize he's traveling so much slower than he should have been. And he's got another very experienced pilot next to him. It does cry out for --
HAGER: Yes. Exactly.
MORGAN: -- why did nobody realize? And if they did, could it be malfunction by the plane?
HAGER: Well, that's still possible and sometimes these investigations take some strange turns as they go down the line but right now clearly all the focus is on the performance of the crew and investigators can't say pilot error. But that's in essence what people are looking at. But you never know, I mean, is there some automatic system? That they did disengage the auto pilot about a minute and 20 seconds out.
But there may be some other automatic system that's assisting in this landing. Could be an instruments was off. You never know for sure. They'll find that out in the coming days. They're, by the way, are talking to the crew today. So that should clear up a lot of things for them.
MORGAN: And the other thing I would like cleared up as somebody who flies a lot in America, is, are there lots of other pilots out there right now who are in that position of training way below their license training in the amount of hours in the air? Are they out there all the time, doing this? And does the public have a right to know before they board a plane exactly who will be at the wheel and how much experience they've had? HAGER: Well, I suppose you could say that, that the public has a right to know it. I suspect that they're with fewer pilots because business had been slow until recently that the pilots tend to be more experienced now than they might have been, let's say, 15 or 20 years ago. But they are very seriously trained.
I mean, before they assume the flying duties in a new kind of aircraft, they've done a lot of training on the ground in the simulators, then they fly along with the check pilot for a great while. So even though they haven't accumulated a whole lot of hours with hands on, they still have had a fair amount of experience in the cockpit.
MORGAN: Finally, we believe that one of the two teenagers who so sadly lost their lives may have been killed by being hit by a rescue vehicle that was speeding to the aircraft along with many others. What could we read into that? Is there anything other than the fact that it was a tragic accident that couldn't have been avoided?
HAGER: That would be a horrible tragedy and the coroner said he isn't going to release the full autopsy reports for a couple of weeks anyway. So it'd take a while. That would just be awful if that was true. But a big part of this investigation will be to look at the aftermath of it. How the crews responded on the runway.
And I got to say, I mean, where it's a terrible tragedy to have lost two people, the incredible people is that 305 people are alive tonight. So that's a tremendous story.
MORGAN: Well, definitely when you see the simulation of this plane almost cart wheeling, it's almost miraculous, I think, that so many got away.
HAGER: Yes. Unbelievable.
MORGAN: Robert Hager, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
HAGER: Surely. OK. Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: And we'll be right back after the break.
MORGAN: Tomorrow night, we'll be back with all the news from day 11 of the George Zimmerman trial. Plus a sit-down with one of my favorite newsmen, well, he plays one on TV, the only and only Jeff Daniels, the star of HBO's "Newsroom." Season two is about to being. I'll get him to spill a few secrets. That's Jeff Daniels or Will McAvoy as we all know him now. Right here tomorrow night.
That's all for us tonight, though. Anderson Cooper's CNN special, "SELF-DEFENSE OR MURDER: THE GEORGE ZIMMERMAN TRIAL" starts right now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Friends of George Zimmerman testifies, so does Trayvon Martin's father, a reluctant witness for the defense. Also a big ruling from the bench this evening. Good evening, everyone. Welcome to another AC 360 special report, "SELF-DEFENSE OR MURDER: THE GEORGE ZIMMERMAN TRIAL."
First the ruling the judge this afternoon allowing attorneys for George Zimmerman to introduce evidence that Trayvon Martin had THC in his system -- that's the active ingredient in marijuana -- the night he died. Now how significant that is remains to be --