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Zimmerman Defense Rests

Aired July 10, 2013 - 20:00   ET



JUDGE DEBRA NELSON: Have you made a decision as to whether or not you want to testify in this case?

DON WEST, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I object to that question. I think that`s...

NELSON: Overruled. I am asking your client -- your client questions. Your objection is overruled!

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, MURDER DEFENDANT: After consulting with counsel, not to testify, your honor.



GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: We`ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They broke into my house, sitting there with a pair (INAUDIBLE) scissors and my son in one arm.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It surely does.


BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: Is this the way he described it, in the area of his belly button?

O`MARA: Were the injuries on Mr. Zimmerman`s back of his head consistent with someone doing this on cement? How about this? How about somebody resisting the attempt?

JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: If Trayvon Martin`s backing up, could not the defendant have shot him at a 90-degree angle?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn`t have the physical prowess to go into boxing. Not a fighter. He was not confrontational, not the type that had the warrior mindset. If I was dealing with Chuck Norris, I would expect a completely different response to any kind of physical altercation than I would if I was dealing with Pee-wee Herman.


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.

We are live, Sanford, Florida. A 17-year-old walking home gunned down by the captain of neighborhood watch. Tonight, all eyes on that Sanford courtroom.

Bombshell tonight. In the last hours, the defense rests its case as their client, George Zimmerman refusing to take the stand. As the defense brings on witnesses to testify what a great guy Zimmerman is, nobody brings up Zimmerman`s attack on a police officer or a domestic violence call.

Why? Is the state laying down and letting the Zimmerman defense just roll right over them? Is the state actually giving up on murder two, now asking for manslaughter and aggravated assault instead of murder?

As both sides have a fight on the floor with a dummy, tonight, the verdict is up for grabs. We are live and we are taking your calls from Sanford, Florida.

Straight out to Jean Casarez, HLN legal correspondent. Jean, why do you believe Zimmerman refused to take the stand?

JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: I think he wanted to take the stand. I was in that courtroom. I watched. And the judge spoke to him three different times. The second time, he said a decision hasn`t been made. And I think that they had a conversation about it, and in the end, I think he freely and voluntarily decided...

GRACE: Hold on. Hold on!

CASAREZ: ... that his statement was out.

GRACE: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Jean, I know you`re absolutely right, but I got to go to the lawyers on this. Jasmine Rand, attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family, Eleanor Odom, death penalty- qualified. Also joining me out of the Atlanta jurisdiction, Peter Odom, former felony prosecutor turned defense attorney. Also with me tonight, Roderick Vereen, attorney for key witness Rachel Jeantel.

All right, Eleanor, did you just hear Jean say, Oh, he wanted to take the stand. He wanted to. He wanted to get up there and tell the truth. He was bursting at the seams to get up there and tell the truth, but his lawyers wouldn`t let him.

B.S.! Because If he wanted to take the stand that badly, he would have gotten his framework up on the witness stand, gone under oath and subjected himself to cross-examination! Yes, no.

ELEANOR ODOM, PROSECUTOR: Yes, he would have, Nancy. And he does not want to be subjected to the state`s cross-examination. That`s completely clear. And his story has already come out through the state`s own introduction of his statements to police previously.

GRACE: All right, what about it, Peter?

PETER ODOM, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think he probably did want to take the stand because he wants to explain every little detail, but he`s decided to follow the advice of his attorneys. And it`s good advice. He`s already told his story three times.

GRACE: What, did his Mommy tell him he shouldn`t?


GRACE: He is a grown man. If he wants to take the stand, why didn`t he? What it boils down to, Mr. Vereen, is he didn`t want to subject himself to the tough questions on cross-examination. Can I hear an amen on that from anybody? He didn`t want a cross-exam?

RODERICK VEREEN, ATTORNEY FOR RACHEL JEANTEL: You get an amen. You get an amen on that.

GRACE: OK, what about it...

VEREEN: This was a set-up, if you will...

GRACE: What do you mean a set-up?

VEREEN: Well, this is the set-up. When Mr. O`Mara came on television the other day and made a statement that he is the one that makes the ultimate decision whether or not George Zimmerman will testify, he knew he was absolutely incorrect because he knows under the Florida rules of criminal procedure and under the 6th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, it is the defendant who makes the ultimate decision as to whether or not to testify.

And the reason why he did not want his client answering the question, when the judge posed that question as to whether or not he wanted to testify, it was because if he is convicted, he can always say, My lawyers did not allow me to testify, and can almost guarantee that he would get a new trial or at least an evidentiary...

GRACE: Yes, I don`t know about that.

VEREEN: ... hearing on the issue.

GRACE: I`ve agreed with you up until that part about guaranteeing a new trial. What about it, Jasmine Rand?

JASMINE RAND, ATTORNEY FOR MARTIN FAMILY: Like I said last night, a real man would have taken the stand and explained why they killed Trayvon Martin. He chose not to because he`s a liar. He`s told so many inconsistent statements that it is impossible for him to take the stand and tell the truth at this point.

GRACE: All right, champing at the bit right now, a good friend of George Zimmerman. And in addition to Peter Odom taking Zimmerman`s side, with me tonight is Frank Taaffe, who knows Zimmerman, who may understand his thinking better.

Mr. Taaffe, why didn`t Zimmerman take the stand and subject himself to cross-exam? Couldn`t take it?

FRANK TAAFFE, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I believe that he is a man. And you know, Jasmine, you`re out of line because you`re saying a real man would have take the stand. I disagree. That real man gave four statements to the police without an attorney. Now, that`s a man! And you want to talk about lies, let`s talk about Mr. Crump and his little team of lies-...

GRACE: Whoa! Wait a minute! Whoa, whoa! I got to give it to you...

TAAFFE: You want to discuss that?

GRACE: ... Taaffe, on this because not many people -- and I am not saying I`m buying into Zimmerman`s story, but I am saying it is extremely rare for somebody, especially somebody familiar with police tactics...

TAAFFE: Absolutely. Absolutely!

GRACE: ... to give days and days of yakking without an attorney there. He cooperated...


GRACE: ... although, on the other hand, I think Zimmerman kind of thinks he is a police officer, so that may have been why.


GRACE: Go ahead, Taaffe. Why didn`t your guy take the stand, afraid of cross-exam?

TAAFFE: Well, you know, he`s not afraid of cross-examination. His story is still consistent. I don`t know what inconsistencies that Jasmine is referring to. You want to talk about inconsistencies...

GRACE: Well, I`m asking you a question. If you could just answer, that`d be great.

TAAFFE: I`m answering. He`s -- the reason why he`s not going to take the stand is because he believes that his story is consistent, and he`s already told the truth four times to the Sanford Police Department. And that`s it!

GRACE: Well, then why not tell it a fifth time in front of a jury?

TAAFFE: Why? Why should he?

GRACE: Yes, why. That`s what I`m asking you.


GRACE: You know what? You say, Why should he, and I say why not?

TAAFFE: Why subject him to cross-examination...

GRACE: There you go! He didn`t want the cross-exam.

TAAFFE: ... when the jury (INAUDIBLE) every word, OK?

GRACE: All right. There -- you answered.

TAAFFE: He doesn`t have to!

GRACE: He didn`t want to be cross-examined. Fine! Fine! That`s what I said at the get-go!

TAAFFE: That`s it. That`s it. Done deal.

GRACE: Yes, he didn`t -- he was afraid of cross-exam, Taaffe!

TAAFFE: Done deal.

GRACE: Boom! All right, let`s hear...

TAAFFE: Well, don`t say he`s not a real man!

GRACE: I didn`t say that.

TAAFFE: Don`t say he`s not a real man and...

GRACE: I don`t care about real man...

TAAFFE: Your other guest did.

GRACE: ... fake man...

TAAFFE: That`s twice now she`s said that on your show.

GRACE: The Constitution doesn`t know anything about a real man versus not a real man. All I care about is why didn`t he take the stand. I don`t care what kind of man he is. I want the answers about what`s happening in court.

TAAFFE: Why -- would you...

GRACE: I want to know why he would not explain why he...

TAAFFE: Would you recommend him to take the stand? If you were his lawyer, would you recommend him to take the stand.

GRACE: Well, listen, Taaffe...

TAAFFE: If you were his lawyer, would you recommend he take the stand?

GRACE: Mr. Taaffe, the reality is, I would never be his lawyer because there are different ethical duties for prosecutors.

TAAFFE: If you were his lawyer...

GRACE: Their duty -- don`t make me cut your mike!

TAAFFE: ... Nancy, what...

GRACE: Don`t make me cut your mike in an A-block!

TAAFFE: Nancy, what lawyer...

GRACE: At least let me get to 8:30, for Pete`s sake, before I do it!

Number one, the ethical duty of a prosecutor is to seek the truth, a true verdict. The ethical duty of a defense lawyer is to do everything within your power to get your guy off. Those are the two ethical duties. I`m not comfortable with the defense attorney`s ethical duty.

But before we go any further down this road, Mr. Taaffe, let`s go into the courtroom. I want to hear what happened. Take me in the courtroom, please, Liz.


NELSON: Did you have an opportunity to talk to your attorneys about whether or not you want to testify in this case? Do you need some more time to talk to your attorneys about that?

ZIMMERMAN: No, your honor.

NELSON: And have you made a decision, sir, as to whether or not you want to testify in this case?

WEST: Your honor, I object to that question.

NELSON: OK. Overruled. Have you made a decision as to whether or not you want to testify in the case?

WEST: I object to that question. I think that`s Mr. Zimmerman`s...

NELSON: Overruled. The court is entitled to inquire of Mr. Zimmerman`s determination as to whether or not he wants to testify. Mr. Zimmerman, have you made a decision as to whether or not you want to testify in this case?

ZIMMERMAN: Not at this time, your honor.

NELSON: OK. And when is it -- how long do you think you need before you make that decision?

WEST: Your honor, may we have an opportunity to speak? The case isn`t concluded yet.

NELSON: I understand that. And I`ve asked Mr. Zimmerman if he needed more time to talk to his attorneys. And if he does, I will afford it to him. Mr. Zimmerman, how much more time do you think you`re going to need to discuss this with your attorneys?

ZIMMERMAN: I assume it would depend on how long the recesses are, your honor -- the end of the day.

NELSON: OK. Well, if your attorneys have finished with two witnesses before the end of the day, do you think that you would then know whether or not you want to testify?

WEST: On Mr. Zimmerman`s behalf, that decision...

NELSON: I am asking your client questions. Please, Mr. West.

WEST: I object to the court inquiring of Mr. Zimmerman as to his decision about whether or not to testify at this...

NELSON: Your objection is overruled. Mr. Zimmerman, I will give you more time, sir, to discuss this with your attorneys. Thank you very much.

All right, Mr. Zimmerman, please stand up. I`ll remind you, sir, that you`re still under oath from when we had you sworn in earlier before the break. Did you now have sufficient time to discuss with your attorneys whether or not you wanted to testify in this case?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, your honor.

NELSON: And I don`t need to know what was said, but after those discussions, have you made a decision?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, your honor.

NELSON: And what is you decision, sir?

ZIMMERMAN: After consulting with counsel, not to testify, your honor.

NELSON: OK. You understand that no matter what counsel says to you, it`s still your decision. Do you understand that?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, your honor.

NELSON: OK. And I need to know, is it your decision to not testify in this case?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, your honor.

NELSON: And are you making that decision freely and voluntarily?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, your honor.

NELSON: Has anybody promised you anything to get you to make that decision?

ZIMMERMAN: No, your honor.

NELSON: Has anybody threatened you?

ZIMMERMAN: No, your honor.

NELSON: And this is clearly the decision that you yourself have made?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, your honor.

NELSON: Thank you very much.




NELSON: I told you when we were at the bench, I really don`t like these, you know, You do this, I`m going to do this, arguments.

GUY: He`s suggesting that I stood by silently with information that I did not have?


NELSON: I`m not getting into this. Court is in recess. I will give my...


GRACE: Welcome back. We are live in Sanford, Florida, bringing you the latest. Today, not only did a witness take the stand to talk about what a great guy George Zimmerman is, nobody mentioned his prior attack on a police officer at a bar allegations. Nobody mentioned a domestic violence call during his relationship with his last fiancee. Nobody. Is the state rolling over on murder two?

This as both attorneys get into a fight with a dummy on the floor. Take a look. Let`s go in the courtroom.


O`MARA: And then on the other side, were the injuries consistent -- George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin. Were the injuries on Mr. Zimmerman`s back of his head consistent with someone doing this on cement?


O`MARA: How about this? How about somebody resisting the attempt, the injuries, the two lacerations -- could that have come from cement -- if somebody was resisting me pushing down like this?

BOOT: I believe so. I believe it was a culmination of downward force, whether it was from pushing or striking. And I know, clearly, by the injuries to his face -- and that would drive him back, his head striking hard into the concrete.

O`MARA: Would you expect, based upon your training and experience, that somebody getting their head struck on the cement would attempt to resist it happening?

BOOT: Of course. There would -- you know, normal human instinct would to try to move away from the pain stimulus, which would just create another gap, be driven back.

O`MARA: And would that occur not only the first time but every subsequent time?

BOOT: Every -- - whether it`s a push or a strike, every time you drive a strike or push straight downward, the body goes until it hits an object that`ll stop it.

O`MARA: Did you see the pictures of the injuries that showed punctate bruising and lacerations on the side of Mr. Zimmerman`s head?

BOOT: Those were the -- when I said rained -- blows rained down earlier, you know, those were the things that really caught my eye that supported that fact that it was a striking and not a pushing so much because of all of the -- lack of a better word, injury or damage that I saw on the side of the head. There was swelling all around his head. It`s not just the facial injury, it`s all around the front (INAUDIBLE) of his head.

O`MARA: Were those injuries consistent with somebody pushing a head down to the side? Can you see me move it to the side, like that? That`s similar to that hitting cement.

BOOT: It could be. It could be that or it could be punches, as well, driving those strikes in.

O`MARA: And then on the other side, were the injuries consistent hitting it down on the side on the left side of Mr. Zimmerman?

BOOT: It could be, and you know -- and just like Mr. Guy pointed out, if Mr. Zimmerman is on the bottom -- and he`s not just laying there, he is moving, whether he`s trying to defend himself, trying to do his sliding techniques or whatever they are -- as he`s turning his body or his head in those efforts it`s going redirect and realign. So whatever push or punch comes in next, if he`s turned this way, it`s going to be...


GRACE: Defense witnesses go on to compare George Zimmerman to fighting with Pee-wee Herman. I doubt pretty seriously, Peter, Pee-Wee Herman ever carried a .9 millimeter Keltec.

Let`s see what the other lawyer did with the dummy. Let`s go into the courtroom.


GUY: ... this as being a human type figure, right?

BOOT: Yes, sir.

GUY: OK. It`s actually got a belly button, right?

BOOT: It surely does.

GUY: Does it appear to be anatomically correct?

BOOT: For the belly button, yes, sir.

GUY: All right. So as the defendant described it to you, is this the way he described it, in the area of his belly button?

BOOT: Well, what`s really important right now, sir, number one, you`ve got your knees up pretty high on his waist. If you want to slide down just a little but more so that you`re -- there you go. Have a squat. I can`t see your crotch, but in the area of his belly button, yes, sir.

GUY: OK. Well, here`s his belly button. Am I in the area?

BOOT: Yes, sir.



GRACE: ... OK? That was like -- it was a given. They are rolling over on that. Let`s go back in.


GUY: OK. If this person, this mannequin, were carrying a firearm on their waist, where would the gun be right now in relation to me?

BOOT: It would be at your left inner thigh.

GUY: Right here, right?

BOOT: Yes. If he was right-handed, it would be at your left inner thigh, yes, sir.

GUY: Right. Underneath my leg?

BOOT: Yes, inside your leg.

GUY: OK. Were you aware that the defendant described to his best friend that when he slid down, the defendant slid down, that Trayvon Martin was up around his armpits? Were you aware of that?

BOOT: No, I`ve not heard that. No, sir.

GUY: OK. Where would the gun be now?

BOOT: Now the gun would be behind your left leg.





BOOT: Anything is possible. That doesn`t make it plausible.

GUY: Tell me what`s not plausible about this. If I`m laying down on the ground and somebody`s over me at any angle, I can always make it 90 degrees, right? I mean, it can be 90 degrees here, it can be 90 degrees here, it can be 90 degrees here. Depends where the other person is, right?

BOOT: It`s possible that the wrist was moving. And I`m not trying to say it`s not possible, it`s just highly unlikely.


GRACE: Welcome back. We are live in Sanford, Florida, and taking your calls. Out to Renee in Illinois. Hi, Renee. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Thank you for taking my call.

GRACE: Yes, ma`am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a comment and a question.

GRACE: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m from the Midwest, and I just want your callers to remember two people, John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer. Why would a teenage boy who`s being chased in the night by a strange person that they don`t know allow a stranger to approach them, not knowing whether they were going to pull them in a car and do God knows what to them? Didn`t Trayvon Martin also have a right to stand his ground when a person`s following him and not even identifying who they were?

GRACE: Well, another question relating to what you`re saying, Renee in Illinois, is -- let me go out to special guest Roderick Vereen, attorney for key witness Rachel Jeantel, last person to speak to Trayvon Martin on the phone.

Do you remember, Mr. Vereen, when she was kind of playing with him a little bit on the phone and she said, Hey, what if he`s a rapist? And it kind of, like, made him antsy -- Don`t play with me. So that was in his head. I mean, she put it in his head, if it wasn`t already in his head.

And it`s like anybody. I mean, people, have any of you ever been walking in a parking deck -- I remember going up to -- I don`t even know what floor when I was leaving the courthouse with all my books and my exhibits and everything, in a dark parking deck at 9:00 o`clock at night.

I mean, Mr. Vereen, you got to wonder why somebody`s following you.

VEREEN: Well, that`s correct. I mean, if you listened to the testimony of Rachel Jeantel when she testified as to what she said to Trayvon Martin, when Trayvon Martin made the reference to her that he`s being followed by this creepy individual, and she makes the reference jokingly to him that, Hey, he might be a rapist and you better run. Well, he took what she said to heart, and that`s exactly what he did, he ran. And he tried to get away from Mr. Zimmerman.

And later on during the conversation, you heard Rachel Jeantel testify that, you know, Trayvon Martin said, He`s behind me again. So of course, you know, he was apprehensive about, you know, finding out what Mr. Zimmerman was following him for. And he even asked him, according to Rachel, saying to him, you know, Why are you following me? And then there was a -- there`s some statement made by Mr. Zimmerman, and then the phone goes dead after she hears a thud.

GRACE: I guess my bottom line on that, Mr. Vereen, is if he was afraid that this guy was following him for a nefarious reason, even the specter of rape being raised, I doubt pretty seriously he`d come back on the guy.



DENNIS ROOT, USE OF FORCE EXPERT: The term defensive tactics in law enforcement pretty much when you utilize force it`s in response to another person`s action. If somebody said that their attention was called to the event because they heard screaming, well that tells me within the time line that certain things had already taken place because when the scream started --

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: As I was screaming, help, help, as loud as I could.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. We are live in Sanford, Florida. And taking your calls.

Today in court the defense brings on witness to say what a great guy George Zimmerman is. Her name Olivia Bertalan. But nobody questioned her or brought up the fact that George Zimmerman allegedly attacks a police officer in a bar, and domestic violence call from his home. But right now let`s listen to Olivia.


OLIVIA BERTALAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S FORMER NEIGHBOR: They broke into my house. I heard some bangs downstairs. The dispatcher told me to grab any weapon I had because I had my son in his arms. He`s woken up and just prepared to use it if I had to. The guy -- I was locked in my son`s bedroom and he was shaking the doorknob trying to get in.

I was sitting there with a pair of rusty scissors and my son in one arm. And the police came and they ended up leaving.

MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And do you recall approximately when this happened?

BERTALAN: August 3rd of 2011.

O`MARA: And did you then take a place of refuge or hiding while this was occurring?

BERTALAN: Yes, I did.

O`MARA: Where did you go to hide?

BERTALAN: My son`s upstairs bedroom.

O`MARA: In the closet?

BERTALAN: I wasn`t in the closet. I was in the far corner because the closet was closer to the door. She said to get as far away from the door as possible.

O`MARA: When Mr. Zimmerman came to you to talk to you about having been victimized by a home invasion, did you consider that strange?


O`MARA: Were you appreciative of his efforts to help you out?


O`MARA: Tell me about that.

BERTALAN: We were terrified when this happened and when we came home after -- we were having car troubles and we came home, he was just saying that he wanted to make sure we are OK, we weren`t home, my sister was. And she didn`t answer the door because she was scared because of what had gone on.

So I was just appreciative that he was offering his hand and had told me I could spend time with his wife if I needed to go somewhere during the day because I was so afraid.

O`MARA: He told you his wife Shellie was a nursing student, correct?

BERTALAN: Correct.

JOHN GUY, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Objection. That`s a hearsay.


O`MARA: Did he tell you -- what did he tell you about his availability if any --


GRACE: There you see Olivia Bertalan on the stand, seems like a nice lady. But this is what I don`t understand. Why was a good character witness called on but then nobody brings up the Pretrial Diversion Program that Mr. Zimmerman had to go through after he attacks a cop in a bar? Nobody brings up the domestic violence call that went down between him and his fiancee?

All right. Let`s go out to Frank Taafee. First I want to talk about Zimmerman`s 2005 case where Zimmerman attacks in a bar --


GRACE: A police officer.

TAAFFE: You got that all wrong. Here`s the facts.

GRACE: OK. Tell me.

TAAFFE: No. Here`s the facts. He was at a house party at the local university and he was helping a friend who was being accosted by an off- duty officer. So therefore, he was -- he was put in with that and he was arrested. But the charges were dropped through a pretrial diversion program. Secondly --

GRACE: That`s not what happened.

TAAFFE: His domestic violence --

GRACE: That`s not what happened.

TAAFFE: That`s exactly what happened.

GRACE: No, that`s not the way it went down.

TAAFFE: OK. Well, you know what --

GRACE: Let me tell you, Mr. Taaffe, what happened.

TAAFFE: He was at a house party.

GRACE: They --

TAAFFE: He was at a house party.

GRACE: OK. Fine. I`ll give you that. I will go with that even though that`s not what the police report says.

TAAFFE: Secondly the domestic violence --

GRACE: No, Mr. Taaffe, you will hear the other side, Mr. Taaffe. You will hear the other side. Even if it was at a house party, even if it was at a house party, when the cop said back off, Zimmerman said, quote, "I don`t care who you are, I don`t care if you`re a cop," then the case wasn`t just dropped --



TAAFFE: Eighteen, 19 years old?

GRACE: You know what, Taaffe, I let you finish.

TAAFFE: Drinking was going on.

GRACE: I let you finish. You`re not -- OK. Cut his mike. After the incident at the house party, although the police report says a bar, but I`ll give you that. The police officer says to him, I`m a cop. Zimmerman says, quote, "I don`t care who you are," and attacked the police officer.

Now when it`s all done he said it was mistaken identity, that he didn`t realize who he was attacking was a police officer. Not only that, he was ordered to go to pretrial diversion. That is a program you go to to help control your anger or whatever problem you have.

And after he completed that, the case went away. The case was dismissed because he agreed to go to pretrial diversion center. He agreed to get treatment for what he had done.

All right, you`re back in, Taaffe.

TAAFFE: OK. Secondly, you --

GRACE: By the way, I love it when you know your mike is cut and you`re still doing all this. I love it. Go ahead.

TAAFFE: OK. Here`s the deal, here`s the real deal.

GRACE: The deal.

TAAFFE: The domestic violence issue was dropped.


GRACE: You just kind of, like, glossed over the attack on the cop?

TAAFFE: She filed on him, he filed on her, they went away. It`s gone. Let`s go back and talk about the witness Olivia Bertalan. It was because of her that George -- that was the inception of the neighborhood watch program right after this incident. He contacted Sanford Police --

GRACE: Good.

TAAFFE: -- and they came out and they started a neighborhood watch. So good --

GRACE: I`m glad.

TAAFFE: -- things came out of this. Good came out of it.

GRACE: Good. I`m glad.

TAAFFE: And the prosecution went on record to say nothing ever -- nothing good ever yielded from George`s neighborhood watch. But that`s totally erroneous and bogus.

GRACE: OK. You know what? Let me just try to get everybody back into the middle of the road. Unleash the lawyers.

Beaton, Rand, Odom. Also with me, Peter Odom, prosecutor turned defense attorney.

Now, listen, all of you trial lawyers, we all know that when somebody brings on typically the state prosecutors cannot bring in somebody`s bad reputation. That`s not how we try cases, that`s not what the case is about. Good or bad reputation doesn`t matter. All right? She could be a nun. I don`t care. She could be a hooker. Don`t care.

All I care about is what happened with Trayvon Martin. So my point is, Eleanor Odom, the state cannot introduce bad character unless and until the defense brings in good character. She, Olivia Bertalli (sic), is a good character witness. Why didn`t the state rebut with what I just told you about?

ELEANOR ODOM, FELONY PROSECUTOR, DEATH PENALTY QUALIFIED: I`m not sure, Nancy. And because who knows what their strategy is at this point but you could rebut with specific instances of bad conduct so they could take some of those instances where he had lashed out the entire --

GRACE: But why didn`t they? Why didn`t they? What are they just rolling over? They don`t have to have the witness? They don`t have to have the arresting police officer? They could get the person that did the deal on pretrial intervention. They could have a number of witnesses.

E. ODOM: Maybe they feel like the point has been made about the defendant and they don`t feel like that evidence is necessary at this point.

GRACE: That point has not been made. That point has not been made.

E. ODOM: Well --

GRACE: Peter Odom? They -- the defense brings in good character about him and the state does not respond. Why?

PETER ODOM, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, they didn`t bring in evidence or at least I didn`t hear them bring in evidence of general good character. They brought in evidence of a specific incidence of character who has specific character trait.


GRACE: Also inadmissible.

P. ODOM: Well, you know, it wouldn`t be admissible under --

GRACE: I don`t even know what you`re saying because you know that`s not admissible.

P. ODOM: It wouldn`t be admissible e-- oh Nancy, no, the federal rules specifically allowed for specific instances --

GRACE: Did you say federal rules?

P. ODOM: Yes, I said federal rules.

GRACE: Why are you even talking about federal rules?

P. ODOM: Because, Nancy, the Florida rules are --

GRACE: But, but, but, but --

P. ODOM: -- very similar to the federal rules.

GRACE: But this is not federal court.

P. ODOM: So the point I`m trying to make, Nancy, if I could finish. If I could finish is that this was a specific instance of conduct, normally you would allowed to bring in another specific instance if it`s specifically rebutted.

GRACE: Eleanor.

P. ODOM: But --

GRACE: That`s not allowed.

P. ODOM: The thing with the police officer doesn`t --

GRACE: That`s not allowed in a murder two case. This is not federal court. This is Florida state court. The rules are different. I don`t know what Peter Odom is even talking about.

Eleanor, what`s going on? Are they rolling over? Why didn`t they bring on these specific acts of bad character?

E. ODOM: I don`t know. Maybe they`ve got some rebuttal planned for tomorrow but if they don`t I can`t answer that one.

GRACE: They don`t.



ROOT: And I was inquiring as to what his background, training and experience was because that becomes a very important variable for me when reviewing use of force. You know, if I was dealing with Chuck Norris I would expect a completely different response to any kind of physical altercation than I would if I was dealing with Peewee Herman.


GRACE: OK. Out to you, Jonathan Beaton, reporter with WDBO. So what is -- Zimmerman is supposed to be Peewee Herman and that would make Trayvon Martin the high school junior Chuck Norris? Am I to understand that testimony correctly?

JONATHAN BEATON, REPORTER, NEWS 96.5 WDBO: Nancy, a very strange moment there in court. It was just -- it was awkward, it was a weird thing for him to say. I think a lot of legal analysts out there want to know why the prosecution didn`t do a better job of objecting to some of the things that witness was saying because he was kind of all over the place. And that`s something --


GRACE: Well, I don`t know how he was an expert any way. He`s a former cop but he doesn`t know anything about this incident other than what he`s read or been told by the defense attorney. He injected himself into this trial. He solicited the defense attorney to become a witness. But I don`t know why -- how is it -- let me ask you this, Frank Taaffe.

How is it that your guy, Zimmerman is Peewee Herman and Trayvon Martin who is a high school junior, your guy is the one that goes to the trainer, and now they`re using him on their advertisements, this is where George Zimmerman works out, he`s the one shadow boxing.

TAAFFE: No. That`s a falsehood.

GRACE: And all of that. Trayvon Martin is -- what is he, 17 years old?

TAAFFE: You know, Nancy.

GRACE: What, Mr. Taaffe.

TAAFFE: In the world of boxing -- in the world of boxing, Trayvon Martin could be somewhere around a junior lightweight or even a middle weight. The weight has nothing to do with it. It`s the strength that he has. George Zimmerman is not a fighter.

GRACE: You`re the one talking about weight.

TAAFFE: And that Kokopelli Gym thing. Let me -- let me talk about that Kokopelli Gym thing. Adam Pollock went back on the stand today and he, under testimony, said that that was not his ad. OK? And it`s the Internet and if you believe everything on the Internet --

GRACE: Let`s see that. Liz.


GRACE: OK. Frank, why are you trying to -- you know what? Caryn Stark, , since Taaffe wants to misdirect everything -- there you go. All right. He may say that`s not Kokopelli`s Gym at. I don`t even know what - - what else it could possibly be. There`s the staff. Join us on Facebook.

This is where George Zimmerman received his training. All right. You know what, Taaffe? I believe you or my lying eyes, I don`t know.

TAAFFE: He came back --

GRACE: I don`t care about him.

TAAFFE: He came back under rebuttal for the stand.

GRACE: I don`t care about him.

TAAFFE: And the first question they asked him was --

GRACE: You know what?

TAAFFE: -- are you promoting George Zimmerman and he said no.

GRACE: All right. Thank you. I heard you say that the last time.

Control room, you know, I`m just a lawyer, you`re pushing the buttons, but could you please bring up Caryn Stark? All right?

Caryn, question to you. Why is it so important for the defense to portray Trayvon Martin as Chuck Norris? In the picture he`s got a big gun. That -- this scenario he didn`t have a gun. He`s not training at some gym doing boxing. You know he used to play football. He hasn`t even done that in a while. It`s February, it`s not even football season.

CARYN STARK, PSYCHOLOGIST: Nancy, that is the most interesting point and you keep bringing it up and I think it`s really important to address it because this boy can`t testify on his own behalf. He had no gun. He was obviously terrified. He was frightened. What a spooky situation to feel like he`s being followed.

GRACE: I mean, Peewee Herman?

STARK: And the --

GRACE: I mean, Peewee Herman?

STARK: And the pertinent --

GRACE: Come on, Caryn, what they`re trying to conjure up is they`re equating George Zimmerman with Peewee Herman who --

STARK: He is not Peewee Herman.


GRACE: They`re referring to Peewee -- Paul Reubens. They`re referring to his on-air persona, who is basically it`s a child`s show like Mr. Rogers or something. And they`re trying to equate him subliminally in the jury`s mind with Peewee Herman.

STARK: That`s exactly right. That`s what they`re trying to -- they`re trying to say he has no power. Meanwhile he has so many anger issues that he had to go for special training. So we know --

GRACE: You know, Doctor --

STARK: That he problems.

GRACE: Doctor Manion, Bill Manion, joining us tonight out of Philadelphia, medical examiner, what do you make of the injuries to George Zimmerman`s head? Is it true that he could have been stunned and not remember, not understand what was happening and is not recalling the shooting correctly?

DR. BILL MANION, M.D., MEDICAL EXAMINER, BURLINGTON COUNTY, NJ: Well, at a point of high emotion, people can have problems recollecting things. And he did not suffer a concussion. I don`t believe there was any loss of consciousness. But he certainly would have been, you know, stunned like having your bell rock, for a second or so you don`t know what the heck is going on.

So he could have had the problem with remembering exactly what was going on and his adrenaline is sky high. So that could have interfered with his memory also.


GRACE: After comparing their client, George Zimmerman, to Peewee Herman and the high school junior, Trayvon Martin, to Chuck Norris in court today, Matt Zarrell, where does that leave us? What`s next?

MATT ZARRELL, NANCY GRACE STAFFER, COVERING STORY: Well, Nancy, what`s next is that the state and defense will come back tomorrow morning where they will argue over the lesser included offenses of defense does not want manslaughter and aggravated assault to be included. Then after the arguments are concluded, then the state will begin their closing argument around 1:00 --


GRACE: Did I just hear you say the state wants jury charges on manslaughter and aggravated assault?

ZARRELL: Correct.

GRACE: OK. And I assume the defense is opposing that, they want all or nothing, right? They want an acquittal.

ZARRELL: Exactly.

GRACE: OK. Is the state putting on a rebuttal? Why aren`t they -- why aren`t they bringing on witnesses to rebut what`s happened?

ZARRELL: Well, what`s interesting, Nancy, is that we were expecting part of a rebuttal case. We actually had the beginning of a rebuttal case and the judge actually rejected the first witness because the witness is only being called to impeach his testimony, which the judge said was improper.

GRACE: Yes. Yes, yes. The gym dude.

ZARRELL: Yes, exactly. And then the state elected not to call their second witness --


GRACE: Which was who?

ZARRELL: -- to call their third witnesses, who was arresting officer --

(CROSSTALK) GRACE: Who is the second and third witnesses?

ZARRELL: The second witness was a guy named David Lee. We do not know what he was going to testify to. The third person was supposed to be Arthur Fleishman, who was the arresting officer from Zimmerman`s prior incident that we discussed.


GRACE: We remember American hero, Army Specialist Ronnie Pallares, just 19, Rancho Cucamonga, California. Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Service Medal, mother Brenda, brothers Danny, John and Roland, sisters Priscilla and Alexandria.

Ronnie Pallares, American hero.

And now straight back to the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman trial.

To Michael in Florida. Hi, Michael. What`s your question?

MICHAEL, CALLER FROM FLORIDA: Yes, I just had a quick question. If I was to be walking by myself in the dark and during raining and everything like that and somebody`s been following me for like half an hour to an hour or 10 minutes, whatever it was, I would -- who cares who would on top of or who would be on the bottom? I think that`s something that nobody`s ever even --

GRACE: Michael, I think what you are articulating -- keep Michael in Florida, please, Liz. I think what you`re articulating is Zimmerman is the aggressor here, regardless of how the fight turned out at that moment, because he had been following Trayvon Martin for so long, he had been pursuing him. I think is what you`re saying.

MICHAEL: Yes, because I mean, Trayvon -- Zimmerman said he didn`t want to give his address because he didn`t want --


GRACE: Well, I get it. I get it. And I want to go out to you, Eleanor Odom, Peter Odom, Roderick Vereen.

First to you, Peter, the issue under the law is who is the aggressor.

P. ODOM: Right.

GRACE: You had to decide that, whether self-defense will apply or not. And it`s undisputed that Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin for a period of time.

That`s right. Followed.

GRACE: Armed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the following doesn`t necessarily mean aggression, unless he pulled out the gun while he was following him, and there`s no evidence that he did that. So just following him doesn`t make him the initial aggressor. And of course, Zimmerman`s theory is that Trayvon Martin became the aggressor eventually.

GRACE: All right, Eleanor, what about it? I don`t know what does make you an aggressor. If you follow somebody for as long as he did? I mean, you really think some kid on the phone that goes, this creep is following me, is really going to come back and then attack the man? If he`s afraid?

E. ODOM: Exactly. Plus, Zimmerman was specifically told by the 911 operator do not follow. So, right after that, he gets up, he`s the aggressor.

GRACE: All right, everybody, onwards and upwards. Trial resumes tomorrow. Closing arguments.

Tonight, happy birthday to Fayetteville`s Chuck Lynch. After a career in printing, he is now retired with wife Ann, trimming his blueberry, tomato and apple trees. Three grown children, six grands.

Happy birthday.

And thank you, everybody, for all of your prayers for my father. Living proof that prayers do change things. He`s doing much better. Praise the Lord.

And tonight, a special goodnight from friends of the show, Sam and Shanna. Aren`t they beautiful?

Everyone, court is over for today, but DR. DREW is up next.

I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, goodnight, friend.