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THE SITUATION ROOM
Zimmerman Trial Coverage Continues; Trayvon Martin's Dad Testifies; Jury To Hear Of Martin's Alleged Pot Use
Aired July 8, 2013 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Happening now, that 911 call that's at the center of George Zimmerman's defense.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he's yelling help?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your (INAUDIBLE)?
BLITZER: Trayvon Martin's father testifies about the screams on that 911 call and whether or not they belonged to his son.
Did the victim's father help the defense's case?
Also, Zimmerman's friends take to the stand. They're identifying what they believe is the 911 screamer and show a more personal and emotional side to the defendant.
And after the terrifying crash at San Francisco airport, we're going to show you how nearly all the passengers survived and how you could make it out of an air disaster alive.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
George Zimmerman's lawyers relied on an unlikely witness to help them make their case today. That would be the father of Trayvon Martin, the teenager Zimmerman shot and killed.
Tracy Martin was called to testify about his initial reaction to a 911 call made that night and whether he could identify the person heard screaming for help in the background.
Two detectives took the stand before him to describe what happened when they played that 911 call for Tracy Martin and then questioned him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And what did you ask him? DET. CHRIS SERINO, SANFORD POLICE: I believe my words were, "Is that your son's voice in the background? Or some -- 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, um -- 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 again 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: And do you recall what it was that you heard Officer Serino ask Mr. Martin after playing the loud (ph) 911 call?
DET. DORIS SINGLETON, SANFORD POLICE: If he recognized the voice.
And, again, do you have the exact words or you don't remember...
SINGLETON: I don't know if those were exact words, but that was the question, if he had recognized the voice.
And Mr. Martin's response?
SINGLETON: That it was not his son.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A short while later, Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin, was in the witness box disputing what those detectives had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'MARA: At the end of that tape do you recall Officer Serino asking you whether or not you can identify your son's voice?
TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FATHER: Not -- not those exact words, but something to that nature, yes.
O'MARA: OK. Do you recall the words, as best you can recall, that he used?
MARTIN: As best as I recall, after he played the tape, he, um, basically just said, "Do you recognize the voice?"
O'MARA: And what was your response?
MARTIN: My response was that I didn't tell him that I didn't know -- I didn't tell him, "No, that wasn't Trayvon." I kind of -- I think the chairs had wheels on them and I kind of pushed away from the -- 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, "No," that wasn't my son's voice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The question of who is screaming on that 911 call is, of course, key to this trial and to Zimmerman's claim of self-defense.
Let's bring in our panel to assess what happened today. And it was pretty dramatic, as you just heard.
CNN's Martin Savidge is covering the trial for us.
He's in Sanford, Florida, together with CNN legal analyst, the former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin.
Also joining us, the defense attorney, Jose Baez. He's joining us from Miami -- Martin, let me start with you.
This is all very dramatic. And the sense was, at least a lot of initial reaction, was that the defense managed to counter some of the impressions left the other day when Trayvon Martin's mother and brother testified. They insisted that that voice screaming on that 911 call was the voice of Trayvon Martin.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, again, this was another really remarkable moment, Wolf, inside of that courtroom, because think about it. You know, you have Tracy Martin, the father, who is called to the witness stand, and questioned by the attorney who is defending the man who killed Tracy Martin's son. That's, of course, Trayvon Martin.
So that unto itself sets up the drama.
But then you have the issue of a father that is now, you've just pointed out, there were two detectives that took the stand and said unequivocally that they heard Tracy Martin, when they asked him, "Whose voice that was calling 911, was that your son?," they heard him say, "No."
But then you heard the father come on and very strongly say they were wrong, he actually said he could not tell.
So that was, you know, a very powerful moment. And I think, quite frankly, that, for the defense, that could have backfired, because, naturally, there is a lot of sympathy that many people in that courtroom are going to feel to see the father placed in that kind of predicament -- Wolf.
BLITZER: On the other hand, Sunny, you can't blame the defense for bringing those detectives forward and testifying what they thought he said once he heard that 911 call.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And I think that makes a lot of sense. I think that's good strategy by the defense, to call both Officer Serino and Office Singleton.
What did not make sense, in my view, Wolf, is calling the victim's father.
And this defense has made a lot of bold and risky moves. We know that they decided to cross-examination Sybrina Fulton. And that's something that is usually ill-advised. You don't cross-examine the victim's mother the way that they did.
And now, you have them actually calling the victim's father. I mean I was in the courtroom for it. I will tell you that I think it fell flat. There was shock in the courtroom when the defense called Trayvon Martin's father.
And what was also interesting was you couldn't hear a pin drop. I mean other people have testified, even when Sybrina Fulton testified, people were sort of moving around in the courtroom. The jurors were moving -- or usually moving around.
Not this time. I mean his pain was palpable. I think it came across in his testimony. And I think it really backfired for this defense.
Again, bold, risky, which seems to be the type of style these defense attorneys have. But it's also sort of guerrilla tactics litigation, no holds barred. And it just doesn't usually work well.
And I can tell you that the jury seemed to be really riveted by Tracy Martin's testimony.
BLITZER: Let's bring in Jose Baez, a criminal defense attorney well-known to a lot of our viewers. He was the lawyer representing Casey Anthony.
I want to point out, Jose Baez, you did, at one point, represent the lead investigator in this case, Chris Serino, who testified once again today.
Briefly what was your role?
JOSE BAEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I represented the lead investigator throughout the course of the proceedings, up until trial. So both sides knew what was going to come out today. This was no surprise.
I just think the way the prosecution played this whole voice testimony, I think they played it wrong. I don't think they should have called Sybrina Fulton early on in their case. I think they should have brought her in the rebuttal case and made her the final witness of the entire trial.
But by doing it -- by, I guess, showing their hand early, they've allowed the defense to call witness after witness after witness to rebut her. And they're certainly not going to end on a high note.
BLITZER: But did the defense do the right thing by calling Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin, in to testify today?
BAEZ: I think they had no choice. The prosecution should have called him to basically steal the defense's thunder.
But, yes, this was a key witness who, early on in the investigation, before it got politically hijacked, this was a witness who clearly said, "No, it's not my -- it's not my son."
And I think that's a powerful witness for the defense. You can not call him. There's no way that they couldn't have called him.
BLITZER: Well, let me ask Sunny to weigh in on that.
Did the prosecution make a mistake by not preempting, in effect, the defense by calling Trayvon Martin's father in to testify on behalf of the state?
HOSTIN: No, not at all. And I love Jose. And Jose and I are friends off-camera. And he knows that. But he's dead wrong on this one.
I mean the prosecution called Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother, also calling Jahvaris Fulton, his brother, a really eloquent, elegant young man, put him right on the witness stand. In my view, almost putting Trayvon Martin up on the witness stand. And so that worked very, very well.
The government always knew that this was an issue with Tracy Martin, that initially he said either, "No," or "I can't tell if it's my voice." And so let the -- you know, let the chips fall where they fall. I don't think it was a mistake for them not to call him.
Rather, I think it was a much bigger mistake for the defense to call Tracy Martin. They didn't have to call him. All they needed to do was put up Serino and Singleton. But to call a victim's father in this manner, I can tell you, it fell flat in the courtroom. It didn't -- it didn't go well for the defense.
BLITZER: All right, guys...
BAEZ: So should they play hide the ball?
I don't think they should have played hide the ball. If this was something they knew about, they should have exposed it and actually let the jury know that he could not tell whose voice it was before they came out that way.
BLITZER: All right, guys, hold on for a moment...
HOSTIN: That's a good point.
BLITZER: -- because there's new information coming in, a new ruling about -- from the judge about Trayvon Martin's marijuana use. We just heard from the judge. Stand by. We're going to bring it to you.
Also, George Zimmerman's friends, they weigh in on that 911 call. And they identify the person screaming. We'll talk about the significance of their testimony and whether one witness may have had more impact than the others.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news
BLITZER: A potentially very significant ruling by the judge in the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. Judge Debra Nelson just ruling only moments ago that the toxicology report from Trayvon Martin's autopsy can be released, including the evidence included there that he had used marijuana during the course of that very, very horrible day.
Let's bring in our analysts to discuss what's going on.
Martin Savidge is joining us once again. He's been covering this case.
Sunny Hostin, our legal analyst, former federal prosecutor.
And Jose Baez, the criminal defense attorney in Florida, as well -- Martin, there was a lot of confusion, a lot of uncertainty whether Judge Nelson would allow Trayvon Martin's use of marijuana that day to be admitted as evidence.
Now she says it can be admitted.
The defense and the prosecution will go at that, presumably, tomorrow.
Give us a little background now.
What's at stake here?
SAVIDGE: Right. Well, there's a lot of stake. And there had been a great deal of hearing testimony that had been heard before there was ever a jury as to what kind of evidence might be introduced regarding the background and the previous life, you could say, of 17- year-old Trayvon Martin.
And the judge basically said you couldn't introduce any of that because he's the victim here and you need to stay focused on the events of that evening. However, remember Shiping Bao?
That is the medical examiner that had the most unusual testimony of last Friday. And one of the things that he almost blurted out was the fact that he had originally said that the amount of trace THC -- the traces of marijuana that were found in Trayvon Martin's bloodstream -- were insignificant. That's something he had said.
But then on the witness stand, he actually said, you know what, he changed his mind. He had spoken to some expert and now he was of a mindset that it might have had some kind of impact.
And, well, that was huge. You can imagine the defense jumped all over that. They now demand that that whole evidence be brought in. And that was the source of the hearing that took place after official testimony today.
And as you say, the judge ruled and said, yes, the jury can now be told about this.
BLITZER: And so why is this so important, Sunny, to the defense?
Why do they want to bring in this toxicology report and his use of marijuana earlier that day?
HOSTIN: Well, it could cut both ways. But for the defense -- from the defense perspective, I think they're going to have a toxicologist, an expert, get on the witness stand, talk about the levels of marijuana in his blood, and then say, hey, he could have been acting in a different way than someone else that wasn't under the influence of drugs.
So, perhaps, he appeared paranoid. Perhaps, he was aggressive. These are all sort of side effects of marijuana use. But I think, you know, the prosecution, myself having tried a couple of drug cases, you know, can swing it another way. You can get another toxicologist, another expert to say, well, there wasn't that much in his blood stream and on top of it, well, people that smoke marijuana are usually feeling kind of groovy.
They're usually non-aggressive. They usually have the munchies. They want to have Skittles and some iced tea. And so, I think it could play both ways. So, what we're going to see is probably the battle of the experts. But what won't be said is, you know, what do people think about a kid that's smoking pot?
Maybe this isn't a kid that's necessarily that, you know -- it's not a choir boy here. So, I think there's something for both sides when this information comes in.
BLITZER: And Jose, let's not forget, all this testimony directed at six jurors, all of them women, five of them mothers. How do you think this is going to play the decision by the judge, Judge Debra Nelson, to go ahead and allow this evidence to be admitted tomorrow?
BAEZ: I think it's bad for the prosecution. It's bad anywhere you look at it, anywhere you slice it. I appreciate Sunny taking the prosecutor's hat to the next level and saying something that --
BAEZ: -- that it's a good thing or it could play both ways with the Bob Marley affect that everybody is all groovy and happy, but I'm sorry. It's a negative notch against the victim. And any time the defense can do something like that, it's a score for the defense and it hurts the prosecution.
Right now, we all think of Trayvon Martin or the jury thought of Trayvon Martin as a 17-year-old who's getting some Skittles. And it turns out that he had drugs in his system. That's bad.
BLITZER: And actually, Martin, the prosecution didn't want this evidence to come out. They resisted it. It was the defense that wanted it to come out. Now, the judge says it can come out. What's your bottom line assessment? I want to move on to some other critical points, but this is the breaking news right now, potentially, significant information that Trayvon Martin's evidence that he used marijuana earlier that day will now be admitted. The jurors will learn about it.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, I think both attorneys are right here. I mean, this brings a lot of baggage. And it isn't so much, you know, how much was in Trayvon's system. It's just what do people associate a kind of lifestyle that uses marijuana and what they might think about this young man as a result. It clouds, perhaps, the perception of the victim here.
HOSTIN: And real quick, Wolf, I just recall that George Zimmerman, during his nonemergency call, said, you know, something's wrong with him. He looks like he's on drugs. And so, I'm sure then the defense is going to say, well, look -- he was on drugs. So, part of George Zimmerman's observations were appropriate and were correct and that could help the defense.
BLITZER: On the other hand, the point I think that Sunny was also making and I assume the prosecution will make when this whole marijuana issue comes up tomorrow, Jose, is that marijuana is one thing. It's not necessarily heroin or a different kind of drug, if you will.
BAEZ: That's true. But again, it opens up Pandora's Box. I don't know if they're going to allow the fact that he was up there in Sanford because he was suspended for using marijuana in the first place. So, how far this is going to go is really what's going to be interesting to watch in the upcoming days.
BLITZER: Because the prosecution has -- I mean the defense has to walk a delicate line and you've been in this position, Jose, so I'll ask you this first. How far do they go in trying to smear or undermine his character, Trayvon Martin, because after all, he was a 17-year-old kid and he's dead?
BAEZ: Well, I don't think they have loads of ammunition to work with. The fact that he was smoking marijuana. You know, we all in society have come to somewhat -- accept that as a nonlethal drug so to speak, and it's not like this -- not like Trayvon had a lengthy criminal record or he had a reputation for violence.
It's just a little bit to work with. So, I don't think that they're going to go too overboard, because really, there's not a whole lot -- not very far for them to go.
BLITZER: Is there any place else for them to go beside the marijuana when you look at it, Sunny?
HOSTIN: No, I don't think so. I mean, the judge has made it very clear that nothing else at this point is coming in. And to Jose's point, I mean, you know, you've got six women on the jury, five of them are mothers. You mean to tell me that no one on the jury has ever smoked pot? You mean to tell me no one on the jury has a child that smoked pot, especially some of these kids are in their 30s, in their 20s?
So, you know, they have to play it really careful, the defense, with this, because you don't want to smear the victim. But again, this defense, in my view, has taken on sort of a gorilla-style, tactical strategy. You know, anything goes. You know, you cross- examine the victim's mom. You put the victim's father on the witness stand. Who knows where they're going to go with this?
BLITZER: And I want to move on, but very quickly and I'll get all three of you to weigh in on this, because he surprised me, Mark O'Mara, and his defense team on certain decisions, several decisions so far. Jose, if you were representing the defense right now, would you call your client, George Zimmerman, to take the witness stand?
BAEZ: Not in a million years. Not in a million years. But I will tell you, I know all of these lawyers involved and one thing I've noticed is they're extremely confident about their case and especially Mark O'Mara.
The fact that he's granting interviews after court every day tells you that there's a lot of confidence there, because if Mr. Zimmerman gets convicted of anything, the first person he's going after is his lawyer, and he's going to say he was playing -- hamming it up for the cameras instead of working on my case.
So, I think they feel very confident and very comfortable moving forward and so did the prosecution at the beginning of this case. I'm not sure how they feel right now, though.
BLITZER: Yes. A lot of us didn't think he was going to cross- examine Trayvon Martin's mother, but he did. Do you think he's going to call George Zimmerman to take the stand, Sunny?
HOSTIN: You know, I would have said last week no, absolutely not, but after seeing him cross examine Trayvon Martin's mother and basically asking her if Trayvon Martin was responsible for his own death and now calling Tracy Martin, I don't know what to expect. I mean, I think it's possible now.
SAVIDGE: Wolf, remember, it's Zimmerman's decision, not O'Mara's.
BLITZER: I'm sure that O'Mara will make a -- have a huge impact, huge influence on George Zimmerman but, Martin, go ahead.
SAVIDGE: Yes. That was the point I was going to make is that, well, we already know that George Zimmerman wants to speak out. I mean, he went on Fox television. I'm sure that Mark O'Mara was adamantly opposed to that interview. So, George, I think, feels the sense that he wants to tell something.
And my question would be, what do you do if George Zimmerman says I demand. I want to get on that stand and you're Mark O'Mara and trying to say you can't do that. I mean, it is essentially George's decision to make.
BLITZER: Quickly, what do you do, Jose, in a case like that where the client insists on testifying and you think it's stupid for him to do so?
BAEZ: You lock him in a room. You try to pound it out of him. But if you can't, it's ultimately his decision. And then, it becomes a one-witness trial at that point. It's God's greatest gift to the prosecution at that point.
BLITZER: All right, guys. Hold on for a moment because there's more to discuss. We're going to continue to follow the breaking news, the judge's decision only a few moments ago, to allow this evidence to be admitted that Trayvon Martin did use marijuana, smoke marijuana earlier in the day.
Also, George Zimmerman's friends, they weighed in today on that 911 call and identified the person's screaming where he talked about the significance of their testimony, what it impact it might have had.
BLITZER: The judge in the George Zimmerman trial is still meeting with the lawyers right now. They're going over potential pieces of evidence that may or may not be released tomorrow. They're in a brief recess, but they're going to be coming back. The jurors have all been dismissed for the day, but there is important discussion under way right now.
Beyond marijuana use, what else could be made as part of the evidence tomorrow? So, we're going to monitor that and update you on other important information. Stand by for that.
Meantime, Zimmerman's lawyers spent hours today focusing in on a single crucial piece of evidence that 911 call to police on the night when Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. The defense called five of Zimmerman's friends to take to the stand and asked them to identify the person heard screaming and crying out for help. All of them testified that it was the voice of their friend, George Zimmerman. Listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911 --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe both. I'm not sure. There's just someone screaming outside.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see. And what's the address?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 1211 one street lane (ph)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the town of Sanford?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And is it a male or female?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds like a male.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don't know why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know why. It sounds like they're yelling help. I don't know. Send someone quick.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he look hurt?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't see them. I don't want to go out there. I don't know what's going on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he's yelling help?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's gunshot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just heard gunshot?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you had a chance to listen to that tape before today?
SONDRA OSTERMAN, WIFE OF ZIMMERMAN'S BEST FRIEND: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And on how many occasions?
OSTERMAN: A few.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Do you have -- do you know whose voice that is in the background screaming?
OSTERMAN: Yes, definitely it's Georgi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how is it that you know that?
OSTERMAN: I just hear -- I hear it. I hear him screaming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's screaming, the noise in the background. Do you have an opinion whose voice that is?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was George.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And tell me why you think that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just the tone, the -- just the volume and the tone of what I was hearing, because I talked to him probably as much on the phone or had before this incident as I did in person. So, hearing his voice over a recording is something that your tone's a little different and it just sounds a little different over a phone and it just sounded like George.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you hear the noise or the yelling in the background?
GERI RUSSO, ZIMMERMAN'S FORMER CO-WORKER: Yes, I could.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you identify whose voice was yelling in the background?
RUSSO: Well, George's.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how do you know that?
RUSSO: I recognized his voice. I've heard him speak many times. I have no doubt in in mind that's his voice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose voice is it?
LEE ANN BENJAMIN, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: George Zimmerman's voice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how do you know that?
BENJAMIN: We spent a lot of -- or had occasion to get together many times. I know his voice, but also, when we were working on the political campaign, we were loud and waving signs and just kind of hooping it up. And so, I know what his voice sounds like when he gets excited or loud.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based upon your knowledge of your conversation with George Zimmerman and the life experience that you've now brought to the jury, whose voice do you believe that to be screaming for help?
JOHN DONNELLY, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that is George Zimmerman. And I wish to God I did not have that ability to understand that.
BLITZER: Dramatic testimony. The defense witnesses took the stand before we heard directly from Trayvon Martin's father. Don't forget that last week we heard dramatic dueling testimony from the mothers of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Each one sounding absolutely certain that the screaming voice on that 911 call belonged to her son.
Let's bring back our panel, CNN's Martin Savidge, CNN legal analyst, former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin and the defense attorney Jose Baez.
Sunny, that was pretty powerful testimony from those five friends of George Zimmerman.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, and I think five is the sort of magic here. In and of themselves one by one, I think the prosecution did a great job of poking holes, right? I mean, that the first two were -- they're all friends of George Zimmerman. A couple of them seemed a bit quirky. On cross-examination they refused to admit certain things. And so I think alone each one when you look at them you think, well, this wasn't really great for the defense.
But, Wolf, when you look at it cumulatively, when you look at them all together, I can't imagine that a jury is not going to go back and say, well, you know, I may not have believed this one, or I may not have believed that one but, you know, is the government telling me that I have to not believe five people, that five different people got up on the witness stand and lied? And so I thought that was actually a very interesting tactic by the defense but I thought it was very effective.
BLITZER: Hold on -- hold that thought for a moment, Jose. Martin, hold that thought. Because I want to go back to the courtroom right now. Judge Debra Nelson hearing the attorneys argue over another potential piece of evidence, an animation out there. I want to listen in a little.
JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: Also as I informed Mr. O'Mara, it's difficult to tell based on Objection J what the change in version three from version two really was based on. Is it -- in other words, is it based on the idea that now we are only sticking to certain testimony whereas in deposition he testified that it was written statements, police reports, the defendant's video walk-through, location of the shell casing and also in-court testimony, which prompted the change from one to two? Or have we now gone all the way in only using in-court testimony?
I don't know. I simply don't know the nature of the basis for the change so.
JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SEMINOLE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Would it be helpful to the state to talk to Mr. Shoemaker when he gets here before we go into the time for hearing and maybe those questions will be answered, and then we could limit the scope of things?
GUY: Certainly. I'm happy to do that, your honor.
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that makes perfect sense. The question is just keeping the court here until he gets here and we do that. The only alternative would be to take this up in the morning.
NELSON: I'd rather do it now.
NELSON: OK. So what we'll do is I'll be in recess until Mr. Shoemaker gets here and at that time if the state and the defense will meet with Mr. Shoemaker to see if you've resolved some of your questions and then let me know when -- let me know by letting the deputies know when you're ready.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Guy, we have the recess. Housekeeping matter, your honor. State's 193 was a timeline of calls.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we made some handwritten changes to it. We have since reprinted it so it doesn't look like handwriting, it looks more professional. With the court's permission and I think the defense has agreed that this -- they are identical now, we would ask to substitute the preprinted for the 193, the handwritten copies?
NELSON: Any objections from the defense?
NELSON: OK. If you want to take the sticker off or put a new sticker on and --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've got one that's marked redacted (INAUDIBLE).
NELSON: Because it's not redacted. It's just -- it has the same information. But it's just typed differently.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if we can just put 193 on this one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is something different.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's that? Right. Right. That's what the --
BLITZER: All right. So they're going to allow that other animation to be admitted as evidence. Other issues that are still pending right now. The judge has not necessarily completely dismissed those lawyers for the day. They're waiting for an expert to come in and testify. All right. So stand by for that. We're going to continue to monitor what's going on. The jurors, though, have clearly been dismissed for the day. The formal part of the trial will resume tomorrow morning 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
We're going to continue our coverage, plus watch all the other day -- other news of the day. We're also going to show you how the prosecutors tried to undermine the defense's case by using George Zimmerman's own words against him.
BLITZER: CNN legal correspondent Jean Casarez is joining us right now.
Jean, I know you've been researching the judge's decision, Judge Debra Nelson, to go ahead and allow the defense to introduce evidence tomorrow, that toxicology report of Trayvon Martin from the autopsy, the toxicology report showing that he did in fact smoke marijuana on the day he was shot and killed. Give us the background.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she's basing this on case law in Florida and there is a case, Tulio Arias, and it's where the defendant said just like George Zimmerman said, about the victim, that guy looks like he's on drugs. And this time it was cocaine in that case.
The judge did not allow the toxicology report in. So the prosecution was able to argue in closing argument the defendant was just making an assumption that he thought he might be on drugs. But the prosecutor knew there was that toxicology report and the appellate court in overturning the case said that the prosecution may not subvert the truth seeking function of a trial by not allowing something like that that is relevant and is a question of fact that the jury if that toxicology level made a difference.
BLITZER: And as several analysts have already suggested, including Jose Baez, who's still with us, the criminal defense attorney, good news right now for the defense in showing that Trayvon Martin did in fact smoke marijuana earlier that day.
Jose, I want you to weigh in also, we were just talking about these five friends of George Zimmerman who testified that they are 100 percent certain that the voice screaming out for help on that 911 tape was the voice of George Zimmerman. Now, that -- as I said, that's a pretty powerful piece of evidence.
JOSE BAEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, it is. Not only are these five witnesses powerful for the defense, we've also -- we're also forgetting -- let's not forget about the testimony of Jon Good, who testified that he actually believed the person on the bottom was the one screaming for help and that person was in fact George Zimmerman.
So you put that together with these ear witnesses and you've pretty much made it clear that the person screaming for help at this point is George Zimmerman. I for the life of me can't understand why the prosecution has tried this case in that way. The key issue here is who was the initial aggressor and bringing the jury back to the point where Zimmerman's the one who left his car, followed Trayvon Martin, and on top of that was armed with a gun, I think that is their strongest piece of evidence, that is -- it's basically not being disputed here and they really should stick to the -- to the main issue here was who was the initial aggressor.
BLITZER: Sunny, you want to weigh in on that?
HOSTIN: Yes, I completely agree. I mean, this case I've said from the very beginning, months ago, is about who started the fight. And that's going to resonate, I think, with the jury. I mean the jurors are women with children. When your kids fight, what is the first thing they say? He started it, she started it. That's the commonsense piece of it, who started it. And there is a lot of evidence that George Zimmerman got out of his car, didn't follow the dispatcher's advice and continued to follow and confront Trayvon Martin.
And the prosecution definitely in closing argument I think will frame it that way. But that's what they need to do. They need to frame it that way because once it's established that George Zimmerman is the initial aggressor, the only way self-defense applies, Wolf, is if he was in reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm and he exhausted all means to get away. So there are two prongs that have to be met and those are -- those hurdles are pretty high.
And so would I agree with Jose, they've got to reframe the narrative at this point.
BLITZER: And I want Jose to weigh in but, Jean, very quickly on this because this is a significant point. If you read second-degree murder, what has to be -- what has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, among other things, that the shooting in this particular case was done from ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent. And that's why we heard so much about what the motivation, what George Zimmerman was up to.
Up until now do you think that the prosecution has convinced the jury that what he did was done from ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent?
CASAREZ: You know, that's a question of fact for the jury. And as you say, it is a critical question of fact for the jury. That's the only way they can have a second-degree murder conviction. They are basing it on George Zimmerman's voice, his demeanor in that 911 call with those specific words. And I think that he just sort of -- we've heard the call so many times in court and over and over again, we hear sort of a lackadaisical voice saying it, not someone that has that evil intent, hatred and spite. But it is the jury that will determine it.
BLITZER: And the other point he has to -- they have to show, they have to convince the jury that Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life. Sunny, that's a pretty high hurdle as well to convince that beyond a reasonable doubt.
HOSTIN: It is because second-degree murder is an intent crime, much like first-degree murder. The only difference is first degree is premeditated, right? You have to have planned it out. And second- degree murder, they do have to get into George Zimmerman's mind. And that's why second-degree murder is so difficult to show.
Any sort of intent crime where you've got to show the jury what was going on in someone's mind of course it's difficult. And that's why we saw the evidence go in the way that it did. That's why the prosecution went over the f-ing punks, these, you know, A-holes always get away, because they need to show that by his words he was thinking that of Trayvon Martin.
The judge found already that they got there. That -- the second- degree charge is going to the jury. The only question is, will the jury believe it.
I suspected, though, Wolf, the jury is also going to get the chance to review some lesser included offenses like manslaughter. And so I don't know at the end of the day whether or not if the prosecution doesn't prove this depraved mind, this ill will, this hatred, this spite, whether or not it's the end of the case, you know, for George Zimmerman.
BLITZER: Jose, give me your thought.
BAEZ: Well, I think the prosecution has overtried their case. This has become a case of whose voice is this and who was on top and who was on the bottom when they really should have stuck to their strongest points. With what little they had, they could have run with that. And in a sense they did what a lot of prosecutors are always guilty of and that's over-trying their case.
If they had stuck to the -- to the basics, they'd be in a lot better position right now. But now they've just given the defense so much to work with and the defense is going and running with it. Now what's -- what this animation witness is going to do for them is really going to -- in my opinion I think it's going to be the last witness called, you're going to see a 3-D animation of all of the testimony that's come forth, that's going to paint George Zimmerman as the ultimate victim here.
And it's going to make it really difficult for the prosecution in their rebuttal case. They better have something waiting in the wings because if not they're going to be caught dead in the water.
BLITZER: We're going to --
BAEZ: Even possibly for a lesser included.
BLITZER: But first, we've got to find out if that animation is going to be allowed to be admitted as evidence and we should be hearing on Judge Debra Nelson, I assume, fairly soon. So we'll stand by for that.
All right, guys, thanks very much. Don't go too far away. More on the story coming up later.
We're also following several other major stories here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We have new details about this weekend's fatal plane crash in San Francisco. We're going to show you how you can make it out of even the most horrific plane crashes and make it out alive.
Also, we're just learning that the country music star Randy Travis is in critical condition. We'll tell you what we know. Stand by.
BLITZER: Some potentially very serious news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM for the country superstar -- for a country superstar.
Mary Snow is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM.
What's going on, Mary?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're learning that country singer Randy Travis has been admitted to a Texas hospital and is listed in critical condition. The Grammy Award-winning singer is suffering from complications of recently acquired viral cardiomyopathy, a viral infection in the heart. Travis was admitted yesterday. We'll have much more information to you as soon as we get it.
CNN has learned that at least 13 people are dead after a runaway train plowed into a town in Quebec, setting off massive explosions when the train's haul of oil caught on fire. Police say they know there will be more deaths because 37 people are missing. The cause of the derailment is unknown.
An incredible and disturbing video coming to us out of Tennessee. Watch as this car slams into a gas station pump and instantly bursts into flames. With only seconds to react, a man in the path of the car immediately stops, drops and rolls around to put out the fire. That man, Chris Porter, is in critical but stable condition with burns over 40 percent of his body -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What an awful, awful situation. Mary, thank you.
When we come back, we'll have the latest on the horrific plane crash in San Francisco. Investigators are now finding parts of the plane in the water.
BLITZER: We're getting new details about that plane, the Asiana Airlines flight that crashed in San Francisco's airport. These are live pictures. You're seeing what's left of that 777 still on the ground there in San Francisco. Two passengers died. More than 180 were injured. The rear of the Boeing 777 struck the seawall at the end of the runway, snapping off the plane's tail, sending the rest of the body spinning on its belly. Parts of the tail have now been found in the seawall and in the water.
CNN's Brian Todd has been looking into how you can increase your chances of surviving a plane crash.
Brian, what are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we got special access a little while back to an NTSB training center in Ashburn, Virginia, where they investigate plane crashes all over the United States. There is one small team there dedicated to figuring out why people live and die in plane crashes.
FRED HAYES, RECORDED ASIANA AIRLINES CRASH: Oh, my god.
TODD (voice-over): It looks unsurvivable. Yet almost everyone did survive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel very lucky and blessed that we were able to get those people out in that time.
TODD: The lesson, according to experts, you can make it out of even a horrific crash alive. Part of the NTSB's elite go team of investigators sent to San Francisco is a group looking at how people survive plane crashes.
(On camera): And this is all about impact. This is all about --
NORA MARSHALL, FORMER NTSB SURVIVAL SPECIALIST: Yes, this is --
TODD: Kind of blunt force, G-force --
(Voice-over): We got exclusive access to their training center in 2009 and spoke to Nora Marshall, who led the Human Performance and Survival Factors Division of the NTSB.
(On camera): Tell me about the myth and about how you want to dispel it.
MARSHALL: One of the myths is that if you're involved in an airplane accident, you're not going to survive, and we know that's not true.
TODD: These days one key reason you can make it out, equipment enhancements.
MARSHALL: We've improved the chance of survival by improving seat strength, by building airplanes that can withstand crash forces.
TODD: Take a look at the inside of the Asiana plane. Even the damaged seats could have protected passengers. Another example, Little Rock, June 1999, landing in a thunderstorm, American Airlines flight 1420 slides off the runway, impacts a light structure, splits open. Fire breaks out in the after the section. But look at the seats. With the fuselage breached, much of the cabin destroyed, many of the seats remain relatively intact, even some that were ripped out by impact.
Here's one survivor's account.
JEFF ARNOLD, SURVIVOR, FLIGHT 142O, LITTLE ROCK: There was a gap in the side of the fuselage, a big old gash. Outside of that, I found two people still strapped into their chair that had apparently been thrown through that. They are both alive and doing OK.
TODD: Hard landings, such as this 2002 Iberia Airlines emergency touchdown at JFK, are completely survivable, Marshall says.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay calm.
TODD: Crucial to survival, human behavior. Flight crews are better trained than ever to get people out. Marshall pointed to the 2009 overrun of an Air France jet in Toronto and the Hudson River landing. Number of people killed in those incidents, zero. But she says passengers still need to be sharper in the cabin. The former flight attendant took me through an evacuation drill.
MARSHALL: Release seatbelts, get out. Why are you blocking the aisle to get your carry-on? Leave it behind. OK, your closest exit, right here.
TODD (on camera): Two things -- I went the wrong way.
MARSHALL: How do you open that? OK, did you look at your briefing card? Do you know how the exit opens?
TODD: No. I don't know.
MARSHALL: Did you know there was an exit right behind you?
(Voice-over): In about 20 seconds, I made three very common mistakes that could get me and others killed. But many passengers do get it. In Little Rock, 134 out of the 145 people onboard survived. Including one man who scrambled out with the seat still on his back.
MARSHALL: He crawled away from the airplane and it wasn't until he got to this area that he realized he hasn't even unfastened his seat belt.
TODD: Now another important point, I spoke with Nora Marshall again today. She said when your plane is taking off and when it's landing, those are the two times you should have your seat belt buckled tightly. You have to have it fastened anyway in the middle of the flight, but she says if you do that and there's an impact on takeoff or landing, having it belted very tightly will not only keep you from being thrown around, but the seat actually absorbs much of the energy of that impact -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Critically, critically important information, Brian. Thanks very much.
And coming up in our next hour, by the way, right at the top of the hour, I'll speak with the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman. She's leading the investigation. We'll have the latest on what happened in San Francisco.
Also coming up, we'll have much more on the critical testimony today in the George Zimmerman trial. Trayvon Martin's father takes the stand.