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CNN NEWSROOM

Continuing Coverage of the Zimmerman Trial

Aired July 9, 2013 - 14:00   ET

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


BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: George Zimmerman could have hit Trayvon Martin and not left any bruising on his knuckles?

DR. VINCENT DI MAIO, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: That's correct, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: You were asked a bunch of questions and I think you were shown some photographs of George Zimmerman's head, right?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: All parts of his head and you gave your opinion as to what that is or not, correct?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Would you not agree, sir, that somebody whose familiar with his head, like a doctor that had treated him in the past, or like a physician's assistant, would know what's existing there before that day and not in terms of what the shape of the body or the head is?

DI MAIO: May or may not.

DE LA RIONDA: OK.

DI MAIO: I mean, you know, you don't generally remember the shape of one of your patient's heads, especially if you're seeing 20 or 30 patients a day. So --

DE LA RIONDA: Well, my next question regarding that, wouldn't you agree that that would be the best person that would see George Zimmerman (INAUDIBLE) right then and there or what's happening the next day? Would they be able to describe what injuries he had or did not have?

DI MAIO: In theory, if they do it correctly, yes. The problem is, is that emergency room records and doctors records are generally lousy in regards to describing injuries. Very, very lousy.

DE LA RIONDA: Well, you agree that the fire rescue people do an honorable job in the sense that -- they know what they're doing I guess is what I'm saying, right?

DI MAIO: Yes. I'm not saying these people are incompetent, but their job is to treat patients and they have a tendency not to document what they see. And that's why they want to put forensic nurses in emergency rooms to document these injuries because doctors aren't interested in the injuries, they're interested in treating the patient.

DE LA RIONDA: Sure. But the fire rescue people are interested in injuries, aren't they?

DI MAIO: They're interested just like doctors in treating a person. The -- because like if you read the records, they mention two lacerations. They don't even say where they are except in the back of the head.

DE LA RIONDA: Well, Miss Fulgate (ph) actually measured it for you and that's why you were able to detail exactly how little they were.

DI MAIO: Right. Well, 20 millimeters and 5 millimeters. But then they didn't say which one was on the right side, which one was on the left side or located exactly. So, you know --

DE LA RIONDA: Now, you could tell, couldn't you, when you looked at the photograph?

DI MAIO: Yes, but they didn't do it.

DE LA RIONDA: OK.

DI MAIO: And I couldn't tell which one was the 20 and which one was the five because there was - because the wound hadn't been cleaned up when they took the photograph.

DE LA RIONDA: Well, are we talking about the same photograph?

DI MAIO: There were two photographs, remember. The better one on the back of the head, there was still blood there and you couldn't really tell which one was the 20 millimeter, which was the five, because one of them had clotted blood on top of it.

DE LA RIONDA: Now you do agree with the treatment in the sense of didn't need any stitches or -- right?

DI MAIO: I agree, but actually my answer should be, it's outside my area of expertise because its --

DE LA RIONDA: OK. So you're not (INAUDIBLE) with that, right?

DI MAIO: Yes, but I won't agree that they didn't need treatment.

DE LA RIONDA: You're really - you're sticking to your main thing is gunshot wounds, correct?

DI MAIO: Well, I'm describing blunt force injuries. You're asking me about treatment, which is different.

DE LA RIONDA: I'm sorry, I -

DI MAIO: I don't -- you asked me about treatment, and I don't treat people.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. You deal with them after they're dead. DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Right?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: But you did review the fire rescue report regarding the treatment of George Zimmerman, correct?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: And when it says patient has a GCS of 15, what does that mean?

DI MAIO: Oh, that's the Glasgow index thing.

DE LA RIONDA: And what does that indicate to you, sir?

DI MAIO: Oh, it means that he's perfectly fine.

DE LA RIONDA: Oh -

DI MAIO: Everybody here has a 15. So in this room would be a 15. So --

DE LA RIONDA: And those are the fire rescue people that dealt with him right after this interaction between the defendant and Trayvon Martin.

DI MAIO: That's correct.

DE LA RIONDA: Correct?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Now, did I understand you correctly that you're saying that the difference between the photograph at the scene, the bloody photograph that he's got -- do you have that big one by any chance? I know we've got it in evidence, but I believe the defense has got a bigger one.

Thank you, sir.

(INAUDIBLE)

Thank you, Mr. O'Mara.

You're saying this one right here that there's a difference between - I apologize, your honor, may I approach the witness?

DEBRA NELSON, JUDGE: You may.

DE LA RIONDA: This big photograph that shows the front of the defendant's face. It's got some blood on it. That was taken by police out there, right? You remember seeing that?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. You're saying that you believe there was something wrong with his nose, the right part of his nose, correct?

DI MAIO: Yes -- yes, sir. If you look at the photograph taken about four hours later, that marked deviation of the side of the nose is not there. It disappeared.

DE LA RIONDA: And -- do you need something to drink or -

DI MAIO: No. No.

DE LA RIONDA: And your opinion is that you believe the fire rescue people just did it without them noticing that they did it or the defend, George Zimmerman, realizing that they had put his nose back in place, correct?

DI MAIO: It's a simple - if it's a simple - I said it's consistent with a fracture. Since no one -- the EMS thought there was a fracture. They said that. And if it's a fracture and it's now replaced, that would account for the differences in the photographs.

DE LA RIONDA: Because you agree that four hours later his nose is perfect.

DI MAIO: It - it's not swollen to the right side. It's a - well, it's still swollen a little on the right side, but it's not as deviated as shown in the first photograph.

DE LA RIONDA: And it's possible that it wasn't fractured at all?

DI MAIO: But then the swelling should still be there, which it wasn't four hours later.

DE LA RIONDA: Well, did you know whether they gave him something to put on there to control the swelling?

DI MAIO: It's not - it's not going to change.

DE LA RIONDA: OK.

DI MAIO: It's not going to change.

DE LA RIONDA: Now, you also talked about the injury to the back of his head, right, the two -- I think I'm going to call them scratches. That's not the correct - are they lacerations?

DI MAIO: Lacerations.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. And those are what - how - they were two inches and four inches you said?

DI MAIO: Oh, no, no, no. It's 20 millimeters, which is a shade less than an inch, and the other one is 5 millimeters, which is about a fifth of an inch.

DE LA RIONDA: So one is about -- smaller than this?

DI MAIO: Right. DE LA RIONDA: And then one's about - about that?

DI MAIO: Correct, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: You're not saying that those - or that he would die from those are you? Did you?

DI MAIO: Oh, no, I never said that.

DE LA RIONDA: Oh, OK.

DI MAIO: I said it's indicative of a hard impact, that's all.

DE LA RIONDA: Or maybe hitting a tree limb or just rolling around in the dirt and on the concrete?

DI MAIO: It's indicative of a hard impact. That's all I said.

DE LA RIONDA: You - but you don't know whether it was a hard impact, somebody hitting him on the thing, or him rolling around in (ph) it (ph)?

DI MAIO: It's a hard impact. That's all I can say.

DE LA RIONDA: OK.

DI MAIO: That's all I have said.

DE LA RIONDA: Yes, sir. Now - and you were aware that he was offered medical care in terms of taking -- going to see a doctor at some point and he declined to do that?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Correct?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Now, also I believe Miss Fulgate (ph), and also the fire rescue, did not notice any kind of other injuries to the top of his head. Do you think they dismissed it?

DI MAIO: No, I - there's two possible explanations. Is one that the bleeding continued after he was seen by EMS, and so you're looking at something where it's been bleeding for four or five hours, or they just didn't notice it because they didn't - they knew there was an impact they didn't consider it significant.

DE LA RIONDA: But he went to the -

DI MAIO: Well, see -

DE LA RIONDA: Facility. No, he went the next day to the facility where he ran - where physician's assistant Miss Fulgate treated him. And she didn't notate all the injuries that you're describing. DI MAIO: Well, that's the problem that forensic pathologists pull their hair out from is that medical personnel just don't describe injuries properly.

DE LA RIONDA: OK.

DI MAIO: Which is nothing bad against them, because their job is to treat people. Our -- my job is to look at injuries, you know, not treat.

DE LA RIONDA: The other thing that I wanted to ask you about this is -- may I approach the witness, your honor?

NELSON: Yes, you may.

DE LA RIONDA: The photograph that was taken at the scene -

DI MAIO: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: I'm sorry, of the defendant. I apologize. Where he's got blood there, right?

DI MAIO: Right.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. I put my hand over that, right?

DI MAIO: OK.

DE LA RIONDA: What do you expect my hand to have on it?

DI MAIO: Blood.

DE LA RIONDA: Thank you, sir.

Sir, wouldn't you agree that that photograph I just showed you that I put my hand over and you said you would expect blood on my hand, wouldn't you agree that if he was bleeding like that, that the blood -- if he's standing, the blood will go down, right? I'm assuming. If he's bleeding from the nose --

DI MAIO: It depends how profusely, but eventually it would go down, right.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. Now if I'm laying flat on my back and I'm bleeding from my nose, the blood will go anywhere, correct?

DI MAIO: Partially. Partially.

DE LA RIONDA: Right.

DI MAIO: Some will go out and some will go down (ph).

DE LA RIONDA: And so it will be more difficult for me to swallow or to speak, I'm assuming, if blood's coming down, correct?

DI MAIO: It depends how profusely it bleeds. DE LA RIONDA: Sure. OK. Well, assuming I was bleeding profusely, assuming I had a bloody nose or maybe even a fractured nose and it was bloody and I'm laying down, the blood would go into my mouth, correct, eventually?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: So it would be harder for me to swallow, talk, et cetera, I'm assuming, right?

DI MAIO: Yes, unless you just start swallowing it.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. Now, did I understand you correctly that you did not view the video that was taken of George Zimmerman, the defendant, when he was brought to the police station, when he was being walked and he walked fine and had no problems walking or talking?

DI MAIO: Actually, I've seen it, but -- they kept playing it on TV all the time.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. Yes, I mean, he seemed to be walking fine, had no problems, correct, and being able to communicate?

DI MAIO: That's correct, sir. That's right.

DE LA RIONDA: And I know the recording that you saw of the defendant's interview was subsequent to that. I believe it was two days later.

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: But on that evening, right after he was in this struggle with Trayvon Martin, he was walking and talking fine.

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. You're not quibbling with that, right?

DI MAIO: No, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: And you agree that there is actually no witnesses to the actual shooting other than the person charged with the crime, George Zimmerman, and the person that's dead, correct?

DI MAIO: That's correct, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Regarding the gunshot wound that I know that that's your focus in terms of how close. I think you stated it was up to four inches would be max and then two inches, correct? Did I get that right?

DI MAIO: You're right, somewhere between two and four.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. And when you say two inches, you are accounting for the sweatshirt underneath and then the hoodie or sweatshirt with the hood over it, correct?

DI MAIO: No.

DE LA RIONDA: You're not being you're saying the hole kind of creates a barrier.

DI MAIO: Right.

DE LA RIONDA: A hole, I guess.

DI MAIO: Right. I'm talking between the skin and the muzzle.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. Now, have you ever worn one of those hoodies? Those jacket sweatshirts?

DI MAIO: Not that type, no.

(END LIVE FEED)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right, you are watching the Zimmerman trial. The prosecutor in the case, Bernie De La Rionda, trying to poke some holes here in the defense witness, really a very renowned pathology expert in his account and his analysis of the evening of the murder. We will be right back after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Brooke Baldwin.

We are monitoring the George Zimmerman trial. Right now on the stand defense witness, Vincent Di Maio, a renowned pathology expert being cross examined by the state. Here it is.

(BEGIN LIVE FEED)

DI MAIO: You can lose some or all, depends on how long you keep it in there.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. Would you be surprised if there was DNA found in this area that apparently was miss packaged or whatever?

DI MAIO: No.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. You said you did review also the firearms report, is that correct?

DI MAIO: Yes.

DE LA RIONDA: (INAUDIBLE) that was from FDLE. And you agreed with that in the sense of the findings in terms of the range and all that stuff and the stippling (ph) or soot (ph) or gunpowder, whatever words we want to use.

DI MAIO: She just describes soot and a few unburnt (ph) grains of powder.

DE LA RIONDA: Am I safe to assume that your opinion is that somehow after George Zimmerman, the defendant, was punched or whatever, rolled around, whatever, he had an injury to his nose, that you believe it may have been fractured or at least displaced in some way, and that somebody out there at the scene put it back in place, correct?

DI MAIO: Or he did just by pulling (ph) -

DE LA RIONDA: Oh, he could have done it himself?

DI MAIO: Sure, just by pulling on it.

DE LA RIONDA: I'm assuming that would have been painful?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. And so you believe he would have done it himself?

DI MAIO: No, I didn't say that. You asked me who could do it and I just added to your list.

DE LA RIONDA: Oh, I - you're saying anybody could have done it?

DI MAIO: Anybody could have done it, yes.

DE LA RIONDA: Or nobody could have done it and it just wasn't as bad as people think?

DI MAIO: Well, the - if it's just swelling, it shouldn't have gone down in four hours. That thing is just so deviated, it most likely is, is that the nose is just deviated because it's been fractured.

DE LA RIONDA: We'll talk about another subject that's close to our hearts in the sense we're both bald headed. In fact, I've been referred to as that bald headed dude. I don't know if you've ever been called that before, but - but my question is, when we bleed there, tell us about the bleeding. It's very profuse, isn't it, because -

DI MAIO: Well, a scalp bleeding is always profuse because the scalp has a lot of blood vessels in it.

DE LA RIONDA: More than other areas of the body potentially?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: And why is that?

DI MAIO: I have absolutely no idea. That's how the design is, you know.

DE LA RIONDA: So the bottom line, sir, there are possibilities and one of the possibilities of what you said, and then there's other possibilities of how that gunshot wound occurred, is that correct?

DI MAIO: To a degree.

DE LA RIONDA: All right.

DI MAIO: What I said was that it's consistent with what -- his account.

DE LA RIONDA: Right. And you're now saying the account where he's saying he grabbed the gun and how he took it out. You're just saying when the gun is out already.

DI MAIO: That's correct.

DE LA RIONDA: Is that correct?

DI MAIO: That's correct, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: All right, I want to make sure the jury understands that. You're saying that at the time he had the gun out already and was pointing it at the person he ended up shooting?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Correct?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: And at that point you don't know if Trayvon Martin was backing up, backing away in terms of providing an angle, or whether he was going forward. You can't say.

DI MAIO: All I said was it's consistent with his account, Mr. Zimmerman's account. That's all.

DE LA RIONDA: But it's also consistent with Trayvon Martin pulling back in terms of providing the same angle.

DI MAIO: I told you that, too, yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: And I think, I apologize if I've already asked you this, you're not here testifying about the holster and how that works or any -- the reason I ask you is because you are - I don't want to say a firearms expert, but you are an expert in gunshots. You're not here about the -

DI MAIO: No, sir. No, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Nor about the firearm itself, right?

DI MAIO: Not about the firearm either. No, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: Now, if the hoodie or the sweatshirt with the hoodie on it -- you need some water or something?

DI MAIO: No, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. If the shirts baggy, people are still able to grab it. In other words, they're still going to grab it in terms of hitting (ph) back, right, because it's big, correct?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir. DE LA RIONDA: OK. And I think you testified about the fact that your expertise is once the body is dead, not while alive in terms of the trauma and all that? You're not an expert on that?

DI MAIO: On?

DE LA RIONDA: Trauma to the head or anything like that, or are you an expert on that?

DI MAIO: No. OK, Trauma is pathology. So I will testify on that. I don't testify to treatment.

DE LA RIONDA: Treatment on injuries to the head?

DI MAIO: Right, I don't testify to treatment at all because I don't treat people.

DE LA RIONDA: Now, were you aware that out there at Retreat at Twin Lakes (ph), where - in the area where this happened, that there's also, in addition to the concrete, you know, walkway, there's also sprinkler boxes. Did you see any of those in the photographs you were provided?

DI MAIO: I didn't see any of those in the photographs. No, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: OK. Or you mentioned knuckles to or fist, correct, as possibility, correct?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

DE LA RIONDA: If I may have a moment, your honor.

KEILAR: We will be right back after a quick break. Still on the stand, a defense witness, renowned pathologist Vincent Di Maio. More in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: On the stand right now in the Zimmerman trial, Vincent Di Maio, a pathology expert for the defense being questioned. This is redirect examination by defense attorney Don West. Let's listen in.

DON WEST, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Whether they saw the actual moment when the shot was fired.

DI MAIO: That's correct, sir. I have to interrupt the objective evidence. I'm not going to base my opinion on the witnesses because witnesses are wrong all the time.

WEST: Have you had occasion where you've reviewed witness statements, people who claim to have seen something with their own eyes, that was absolutely contradicted by the physical evidence that you knew to exist?

DI MAIO: All the time. You know, they'll say they -- someone stood over a man and shot him and two architects and a secretary said that, they saw a - the only problem was is that the bullet taken from the body did not match the gun of the person who supposedly stood over him and shot him and the bullet that hit him was a ricochet fired - that had to have been fired from 20 to 30 feet away. So I have - that's once case, but I've got half a dozen of those cases.

WEST: Let's talk for a moment more specifically, since Mr. De La Rionda mentioned them by name, a woman named Sulean Bahador (ph) testified in the trial and didn't claim to have seen the individuals at the time the shot was fired. Would that matter to you at all?

DI MAIO: No.

WEST: Let's talk about Jane Serdika (ph) then for example. Ms. Serdika testified in the trial and she said she was looking at the individuals outside her window some distance away and believes that she was looking at them when the shot was fired. What she described was that, at the time the shot was fired, Mr. Zimmerman was on top of Mr. Martin -

DE LA RIONDA: Objection, leading and mischaracterization of the facts.

WEST: Can I finish my question, please?

NELSON: Well, if it's a mischaracterization of the facts, I need you to rephrase your question.

WEST: It's not, your honor. I guess --

NELSON: Well, that's for the jury to determine, so please rephrase your question.

WEST: OK. Sure.

Ms. Serdika said she was looking out the window and that she believes she was looking at the individuals when the shot was fired. She said that at the time the shot was fired that Mr. Zimmerman was on top and that Mr. Martin was face down. Is that possible given the forensic evidence that you know in this case?

DI MAIO: No, sir, it's not possible.

WEST: Mr. Martin --

DI MAIO: He's shot in the front, so -

WEST: So would her -

DI MAIO: (INAUDIBLE).

WEST: Would her statement have done you any good in this case?

DI MAIO: No, sir.

WEST: In fact, that would be an example of how an eyewitness, no matter how well intended, just gets it wrong?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

WEST: You did consider John Goode's (ph) statement to the extent that he was the person --

DE LA RIONDA: Objection, that's a leading question.

NELSON: Sustained.

WEST: John Goode testified at the trial that when he looked out his back door he saw the person later identified as George Zimmerman on his back, on the ground, and that he saw Trayvon Martin straddling him on his knees striking Mr. Zimmerman in some sort of MMA style. And then he went back inside and some seconds later the shot was fired. Is the position that Mr. Goode saw Trayvon Martin straddling and striking Mr. Zimmerman with Mr. Zimmerman on his back consistent with the forensic evidence that you found at the time of the shot?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

WEST: That statement, I take it, is separate and apart from Mr. Zimmerman's statement describing essentially the same thing?

DI MAIO: Right, but, again, I would not have used that to give my opinion. I have to use the physical evidence in conjunction with the statement of Mr. Zimmerman.

WEST: The -- you pointed out in your direct evidence that there were two lacerations on the back of Mr. Zimmerman's head and that you testified that you believed those two have been from separate impact?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

WEST: Because you could see the sort of valley in between?

DI MAIO: Yes, sir.

WEST: Those were the two blows that created the lacerations?

DI MAIO: Right. And in addition, they were so separate that if you impacted one, you couldn't get the other one. So there were two reasons.

WEST: Your testimony was that was consistent with having Mr. Zimmerman's head struck at least twice on a surface like concrete?