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CNN NEWSROOM

George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty; 'Glee' Actor Found Dead

Aired July 14, 2013 - 13:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much, Candy. Very interesting debate there, now that is crossfire.

I'm Don Lemon live in Sanford, Florida. This is a special edition of the CNN NEWSROOM.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the circuit court of the 18th judicial circuit, state of Florida versus George Zimmerman. Verdict, we, the jury find George Zimmerman not guilty. So say we all foreperson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And that is how it all played out. The highly anticipated end to an extremely dramatic trial, George Zimmerman, now a free man after being found not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin. So what's next for Zimmerman? And is the legal battle over in this case? Is it really over?

Reaction to Zimmerman's not guilty verdict is pouring in from all across the country. The first people to weigh in, attorneys from both sides. They gave a news conference shortly after the verdict came down around 10:00 last night. The prosecution was visibly upset that Zimmerman was cleared of both second-degree murder and manslaughter. The defense on the other hand was adamant that not guilty verdict was the only justifiable option.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself and self defense. I'm glad the jury saw it that way and I hope that everyone who thinks, particularly those who doubt the George's reasons and doubted his background now understand that the jury knew everything that they knew was enough for them to find him not guilty.

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, STATE PROSECUTOR: I am disappointed as we are with the verdict, but we accept it. We live in a great country that has a great criminal justice system. It is not perfect, but it's the best in the world. And we respect the jury's verdict.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: CNN's Martin Savidge joins me now. Martin, you have been following this trial, really, for weeks. You were in the courtroom when the verdict was announced. Take us through those moments.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, pretty phenomenal. You know, it was about, I guess, ten minutes before 10:00 last night, seems now so long ago, but we get this announcement. We were down in the gathering area for the media and that's 1B. Everybody races to the elevator. You have to get up to the fifth floor. So, you pile in these elevators and you're riding up there and the door kept closing but then somebody would reach in again and again. The last person to reach in, Ben Crump, he is the attorney that represents Trayvon Martin's family. We go up and into that courtroom, you could not hear a pin drop, the anxious misspelled by everyone. We knew this was the moment. And then you heard the verdict of not guilty.

Initially, I think people were taken aback. Not so much that this couldn't be an outcome, it was that they expected to hear the charge and then hear the verdict. All we heard was not guilty. And so, instantly, then after that, it was realized but a very muted reaction. Mark O'Mara, the attorney who I have talked to a number of time, he was concerned still is that this case was a cause for many people in the civil rights aspect. And he spoke about that at the press conference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'MARA: I kept suggesting to Mr. Crump on three separate occasions that we not suggest that this is a civil rights case of the century because it's just not. It was a self-defense case. Did it bring to the forefront the conversation that yuck black males are treated a certain way in the criminal justice system? Absolutely. Is that positive? Absolutely. Do we need to have that conversation? Absolutely. However, if portending that conversation on top of the Zimmerman's verdict is going to affect our ability to have that conversation, shame on them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So while Zimmerman has been acquitted, it looks like the battle is really not over.

SAVIDGE: No, no. There are a number of unresolved issues, but most important there are groups that are going to the department of justice and they will ask that there will an investigation. There are already this one on the way but they are going to sort of review those efforts.

You know, Shellie Zimmerman has been charged with perjury. That's still to bed adjudicate there. And then, there had been the claims that the prosecution was underhanded with evidence. Sanctions have been requested. That has to be worked through.

So, a number of legal issues still to be --

LEMON: Yes. And people are asking. I will ask our legal expert about this. If the department of justice comes in, is that double jeopardy, is that double jeopardy? It is not because it has happened before.

SAVIDGE: Right, no. This would be federal charges of a different kind. So, you know, that's why it's not considered double jeopardy. But will it happen, we will have to wait and see. I think sensitivities, emotions are still high. The thing is about this case is that people may have hoped that this would resolve issues of race, that this would resolve issues of guns, that this would resolve many of the social burning issues people have all discussed. It was a trial that focused on two men at a specific moment under Florida law. It will not solve deep social issues in this country.

LEMON: That's a big burden for any one case.

SAVIDGE: It is too much to ask.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you very much, Martin. Appreciate that.

And speaking of those issues about civil rights and all of that, civil rights leaders are reacting with shock and frustration at the Zimmerman verdict.

The Reverend Jessie Jackson gave Chris Cuomo and Kate Baldwin his take earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I remain stunned at this decision that the grown man arm armed murdered the unarmed boy going home because he suspected him. The state's attorney avoided the issue of race. The defense team denied the issue of race. And yet race profiled was obvious from the very beginning. You look without a black, without a man on it, it certainly was not an engineered of Trayvon's peers. The department of justice must take to another level.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The NAACP has called on the justice department, as Martin said, to file a civil rights lawsuit. And last night, the department said it is doing its own investigation, but it did not respond directly to the NAACP. This morning the White House said all questions on that issue have to go to the justice department.

NAACP Ben Jealous told Candy Crowley earlier today, he's been in touch with officials at the justice department.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT, CEO, NAACP: They will make a choice about whether or not they will pursue criminal civil rights charges. We are calling on them to do just that because when you look at his comments and when you look at comments made by young black men who lived in that neighborhood about how they felt especially targeted by him, there is reason to be concerned that race was a factor. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Defense attorney Mark O'Mara of course had a very different take on this. He saw his client George Zimmerman as a victim of the media. I want you to listen to what Mr. O'Mara described it. How he described last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'MARA: You guys the media, he was like a patient in an operating table where a mad scientist were permitting experiments on him and he had no anesthesia. He didn't know why he was turned into this monster, but quite honestly, you guys had lot to do with it. You just did because you took a story that was fed to you and you ran with it and you ran right over him and that was horrid to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. So I'm joined now by our legal analysts Sunny Hostin, former federal prosecutor, and criminal defense attorney Mark Nejame.

OK. So, I will start with you, Sunny. So he's blaming the media for part of the narrative here, part of I guess of shaping the narrative when it comes to his client.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know that's fascinating to me only because this played out in a jury room, in a courtroom. And they weren't privy to anything that we were saying outside of that. And I think what is terrific, though, about what did happen here is that there were cameras in the courtroom. Everyone got to see what was going on. There was transparency to the process. And people were able to make up their minds for themselves without being shaded or jaded by our coverage. And so I think it's almost intellectually dishonest to argue that. It's surprising to me.

LEMON: Yes. Mark, can you weigh in on that?

MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look. The media did have a great deal of influence, but there's a difference how the media impacted before the trial and during the trial. Obviously, during the trial it's of no consequence. The jury is not seeing anything. That's for beating and addressing the public. Before the trial, you know, let's face it, the media had a great influence on this. Why? We know that there is a lawsuit pending against another network right now as it relates to an accusation that somebody seemingly has a admitted editing a tape that really between change the initial impression that the country had on this particular case. That's significant.

LEMON: Let's talk, Mark, about the justice department and possibly bringing charges against George Zimmerman. And what the NAACP has said they would been justice has said. He would like the justice department to look into further, to bring charges against George Zimmerman. Is that possible, could that possibly happen? And then, what would he face if that does happen?

NEJAME: All things are possible. Is it probable, I think the likelihood is almost non-existent.

Look, Florida has very, very liberal discovery rules, some of the most liberal in the country. Some people criticize it, but it does allow, as Sunny was talking about, a real viewing of everything. We have depositions on both sides. They had 200 witnesses on a witness list. The feds did come in initially to investigate law enforcement and to determine whether there were any civil rights violations there. As I understand it, they found none. And then, we had a process where you had two groups of prosecutors, initially the state attorney's office at Seminole county and then ultimately, the special prosecutor running in their own investigation on this. So, to now hand it off to the feds, I just don't see it. I mean, deposition has been taken. Investigations have been run, so where else does anybody go with that?

HOSTIN: And I disagree with that. I mean, I think we all know that the justice department has been conducted a parallel investigation and there has been precedent for a state criminal proceeding to end in an acquittal and for the federal government to step in in terms of civil rights violations, civil liberties violations.

And so, I think it's really premature to say that is off the table. I don't think it's off the table at all. I think there is probably still review of the way the police department here in Sanford handled this investigation. And I certainly think there is a possibility of an investigation into alleged racial profiling while racial profiling --

LEMON: You said a possibility, but what's the probability and wouldn't you think even though the justice dept department would be handling that, that would be the attorney general Eric Holder. But don't you think the Obama administration might be a bit careful about this because there has been criticism that the president inserting himself into this by making a statement about Trayvon Martin and the family early on?

HOSTIN: This is not a determination thought, Don, to be made by the Obama administration. This is a determination to be made by the department of justice. And so, to suggest that it's improbable that there could be a civil rights investigation into George Zimmerman's behavior, I do think it is really premature. We're not there yet and there is some evidence of racial profiling. While it was not necessarily was not necessarily discussed in the trial, it was criminal profiling, that still remains part of the narrative here. And so, you know, I'm not prepared to say what the percentage of probability is, but there is a probability.

NEJAME: But let's listen to the words of some of Trayvon Martin's lawyers who said that this was not about race. I mean, that has come out time and time again. So with that acknowledgement already taking place, look, is there a racial component? Could there have been away from component? We all know the answer is likely. But, does that in fact elevate to a level after all the evidence has come in that is provable if it existed, but if it is existed is a provable. And with all that has gone on, what new evidence could possibly be sought out and addressed that hasn't already come to light with 200 depositions and endless number of witnesses and to law enforcement. I'm simply saying that if you're looking at legality, the odds, no.

LEMON: All right. Mark Nejame, Sunny Hostin, thanks to both of you.

This verdict has sparked emotional protests across the country. You probably have seen some of it. It started outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida last night. People demanded more protests and wept openly. Demonstrations quickly spread from coast to coast.

I want you to listen to this rally. It is in San Francisco. It happened last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon Martin justice for Trayvon Martin. Justice for Trayvon Martin. Justice for Trayvon Martin. Justice for Trayvon Martin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: People shouted justice for Trayvon Martin while marching through the streets. Things remain mostly peaceful except for one protest in Oakland, California where public transit police car was smashed. In Washington demonstrators marched late into the night calling for more people to join them. And in Chicago, protesters carried a giant sign saying we are Trayvon. They also chanted not one more.

Now, back in Florida, group of young demonstrators had an emotional moment as they sang quietly on the steps of the capitol building in Tallahassee.

And many leaders called for calm after the Zimmerman verdict last night. And you can imagine it was a hot topic in many pulpits this Sunday.

Our John Zarrella intended a service at a church where Trayvon Martin's mother attends. And John joins us now. What's the word from there, John?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Don, this is the church where Sybrina Fulton attends and to some has said, Tracy Martin both attend. They were not here, although, there was some thought that perhaps they might come.

Sybrina sent a message, though, to the pastor here and her message was very simple, that she said please tell the congregation here that I still trust in God. And the pastor was telling us that that is the message that the entire congregation has.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

So we're depending on you this morning, oh God, for all of our help. We're not depending on the Sanford police department. We're not depending on Seminole county sheriff. We're not depending on the courts of Seminole county, Florida, law enforcement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZARRELLA: There were some family relatives here, though, an aunt, an uncle, and a cousin, and their message was, look, let's not let this happen again. They did, of course, say that they were hurt, sad, confused and disappointed. But I think, Don, one of the very interesting things that came out from talking to members of the congregation as they left the last service here was that to stereotype was wrong. To think there that there would be violence particularly in the Miami community was in and of itself stereotyping. What they are doing is they will focus their anger and their hope is to focus their anger to change laws -- Don.

LEMON: Yes. And I think people were thinking there would be some sort of race riots going on. That didn't happen. The verdict is happening on a Saturday night. So, very interesting. None of that happened.

Thank you very much. Appreciate it, John Zarrella.

The Zimmerman verdict is in. It is now guilty. But would the outcome have been different if prosecutors had pursued just a manslaughter conviction instead of second-degree murder or does chief prosecutor says they had the evidence to convict on the tougher charge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA COREY, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: What was convincing to us when we listened to the tape is that the scream stopped the moment the shot is fired. And so, we always believed, after hearing that tape, that it was Trayvon Martin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON WEST, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think the prosecution of George Zimmerman was disgraceful. I am gratified by the jury's verdict. As happy as I am for George Zimmerman, I'm thrilled that this jury kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty. For that, we are eternally grateful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So that was Don West, one of George Zimmerman's defense attorneys, reacting to last night's verdict of not guilty.

To talk more about the verdict, I want to bring now former prosecutor Tanya Miller, criminal defense attorney, Midwin Charles, and Michael Grieco, he is a former prosecutor and is also now, a defense attorney.

Michael, can I start with you? There are many who believe that George Zimmerman should never have been arrested, this should never have gone to trial. Do you agree with that? MICHAEL GRIECO, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, I don't have a problem with the prosecution or that there being a trial. I have always had issue and I said in many interviews where I have said that second- degree murder was a stretch. I think that they tried to go a little too far with it and the problem when they brought to trial is that they lost credibility with the jury because they were making that stretch. I think if they went straightforward with an actual manslaughter case, that they would have maybe been more successful than they were.

LEMON: Midwin, so he was found not guilty. Do you think if the prosecutor had just said listen, this is a manslaughter case and they have presented that to the jury originally, that he would have been found guilty?

MIDWIN CHARLES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think there is a great likelihood that he probably would have been found guilty of manslaughter had the prosecution not overcharged this case. I think unfortunately given the fact George Zimmerman walked free for about six weeks after Trayvon Martin was killed, I think played an integral role in how they charged the case.

Had he been arrested sooner, I do not think the prosecutors would have been under so much pressure to feel as though they have to overcharge this case. And we saw this in the Casey Anthony case, as well. So this isn't something that is new that occurs in Florida. Had they went ahead full team with a manslaughter charge, I think they would have had more credibility to the jury.

Also, the manner in which they tried this case, I think, was woefully inadequate. They did not prepare their witnesses. There were times when it appeared as though their witnesses were actually defense witnesses. So, there were a lot of twists and turns in this trial, as well.

LEMON: And Tanya Miller, though, I have spoken to a number of legal experts on CNN who say there was enough evidence for second degree. But the prosecution just didn't do a good job presenting their case -- proving their case.

TANYA MILLER, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, I mean, it's always easy to sort of pick the case apart after everything has been said and done and we had the jury's verdict. Obviously, they did not agree with the prosecution's theory of the case. But look, when you talk about the decision to charge, it's very common for prosecutors to charge the highest defense that they believe the evidence supports. Prosecutors don't typically sit around the table and say, look, I think we might lose this or I think this a tough case even though we believe this is what the evidence support, we are going to take an easier way out.

I think that they looked at the conduct of George Zimmerman, they looked at the words that he said, they looked at his actions and getting out of that car when he was, you know, encouraged not to. The fact that Trayvon Martin had done nothing to provoke this encounter, that he was just walking home innocently as he has a right to do. And they determined that the appropriate charge was second-degree murder. I definitely think that reasonable minds can differ, but that was a decision they made, they stood by it throughout the trial. The jury has spoken and here we are.

LEMON: Michael, can we talk about just how difficult it is to prove these types of cases? I mean, even when you have video, when you see officers beating someone like Rodney King, it is still very difficult because the officers were originally acquitted in that case. It is difficult to prove one of these cases, isn't it?

GRIECO: It is. And takes it to the connect with the possible federal -- there is currently a federal investigation, but the possibility of them actually filing formal federal charges. The U.S. department of justice was able to do that in Rodney King case. They had video. They were able to fix some of the mistakes that the prosecutor has made. And they were actually successful in convicting several of the officers.

I think in this case you have a real problem. I practice in federal court. Anybody that does know the federal prosecutors like to have a really strong case when they go forward and they usually do. In this case, they saw prosecutors do an admirable job. Very few mistakes were made by the prosecution. There was very little to fix. So, to take that to federal level, you have got a real issue and plus, you are also not dealing with law enforcement officer, you're dealing with a private citizen. So it's a different part of the hate crime statute.

So, I think there will be a full investigation. I just don't see how successful they can be in actually successfully convicting somebody.

LEMON: Tanya Miller, as a former prosecutor, I want to ask you the same question. Well, different question. Do you see the probability of the justice department coming in and bringing charges here?

MILLER: You know, it's really hard to say. Hate crimes, civil rights cases are notoriously difficult cases. You don't see very many of them actually brought in reality in this day and age. So I think what we are going to see perhaps is some additional investigation, perhaps they will uncover evidence that prosecutors did not uncover in the murder trial. It's just really hard to say. I would say not likely, but again, we have to let the investigation run its course.

LEMON: All right. Midwin, I'm going to owe you one, OK? Next time you are on, I will give you the first and the last word on CNN.

CHARLES: You got it.

LEMON: My thanks to Midwin Charles, Tanya Miller and also Michael Grieco.

Thank you all very much.

GRIECO: Thank you, Don.

MILLER: Thanks, Don. CHARLES: Thanks.

LEMON: All right.

So he has been acquitted. He can now do whatever he wants to do. But will George Zimmerman ever really have a normal life after this? Life after the verdict, straight ahead here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Our top story today, of course, a Florida jury finding George Zimmerman not guilty in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman's free, but is he really free? What will life be like for him now? CNN's David Mattingly takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's been in hiding for over a year. Daring to venture out only in disguise and wearing body armor. Since killing Trayvon Martin, life for George Zimmerman is filled with isolation and caution.

MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There are a lot of people who think George killed Trayvon for racial reasons, even though nothing supports that. And if they feel that anger enough, they could react violently.

MATTINGLY: There have been tweets, email and letters wishing him bodily harm or death. Now that George Zimmerman is free, it's almost certain he won't be able to go back to the life he had before. Pursuing a career in law enforcement.

MIKE PAUL, REPUTATION MANAGEMENT COUNSELOR: That is the absolute worst thing you can do. It might be you old passion, my advice would be you need to find a new passion. And it needs to be helping people in a very different way. A way that is much more compassionate. Not just involving law enforcement.

MATTINGLY: For a view of life after acquittal, Zimmerman may need to look no further than Casey Anthony, the hated young mother found not guilty of murdering her two-year-old daughter. She has since lived in hiding and in financial ruin. Cheney Mason was her defense attorney.

CHENEY MASON, CASEY ANTHONY DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And you never know who the nuts are and where they are. There are still people that threaten me.

MATTINGLY (on camera): It sounds like there is very severe consequences for being found guilty in a court of public opinion.

MASON: They are, but you don't have Jello and cheese sandwiches in jail.

MATTINGLY (voice over): It may not be hopeless for Zimmerman. He continues to have strong support from his immediate family. Part of his defense is being paid for by thousands of dollars donated by the public. But even here, there could be problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to be careful to avoid the appearance of creating more divisions, by accepting money or support openly from groups that maybe -- would create more friction because of the, you know, the tenor of this case. He's going to be very careful about who he associates with afterwards even if they're offering financial support.

MATTINGLY: And shortly after his dramatic acquittal, George Zimmerman's first steps back into private live were hidden from cameras and public view. His destination, his plans, a closely guarded secret.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN: He has always feared for his safety. We have always feared for his safety and our safety as a family. Clearly, you know, he's a free man in the eyes of the court, but he's going to be looking around his shoulder for the rest of his life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: And the two biggest pieces of expert advice to George Zimmerman are to be contrite and if this is even possible, to disappear. Because the worst thing he can do right now is add to that perception that he beat the system. Don.

LEMON: Thank you very much, David Mattingly. You know, race has been part of this case since day one even though the lawyers have tried to downplay it. State Attorney Angela Corey even said last night it has never been about race. But the question, it still comes up. What role did race play here and what role does it play now for people reacting to this verdict. Author and activist, Tim Wise joins me now. He wrote the book "Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority." Tim, thanks for joining us here. Before I ask you about the bigger implications of this verdict, what are we getting right here and what are we getting wrong as far as a reaction and the narrative that we have been discussing.

TIM WISE, AUTHOR "COROBLIND" & "DEAR WHITE AMERICA": Well, I mean the desire to deracialize this tragedy is I think itself a tragedy. This case was about race from the beginning, both the actions of George Zimmerman and the public reaction. Let me explain what I mean. On the one hand, we know, and interestingly, his defense didn't deny that among the reasons that George Zimmerman set out after Trayvon Martin in the first place was because he suspected him given the rash of break-ins committed by other totally unrelated black males in the neighborhood. They also said it was because of suspicious behavior, but they never told us what those were. He was walking slowly, talking on the phone.

So race was implicated in how George Zimmerman saw Trayvon Martin. That meant, that this was, in fact, an act of racial profiling. Whether the judge wanted that term to be used or not. And then secondly, the public reaction. Remember, when this case first broke, even before anyone had heard any story from George Zimmerman or anything at all from him about how Trayvon jumped him and was beating his head into the pavement ostensibly, even before that narrative had emerged, there was a significant number, in fact, the vast majority of white Americans particularly on the right of the political spectrum already jumping to his defense saying well, we're sure that Martin was a thug. Circulating phony pictures of him to make him look like a thug. Saying that he was huge, 6'2", actually the coroner said he was 5'10" in the coroner's report. He wasn't huge, he wasn't dangerous, but there was already a racial division even before the claims of self-defense had come out. And that tells us, this is --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Can I ask you something?

WISE: Yes.

LEMON: Can I ask you something? In the courtroom when they showed -- when the defense showed pictures of Trayvon Martin and a number of different exhibits, I just have to ask this, did the defense profile Trayvon Martin in the courtroom? Did they sort of make him out to be a thug or a criminal or ghettoize him in some way?

WISE: Well, I think there was a subtle way in which that happened. I mean here you had a case where everyone was told race wasn't an issue, but the defense, I think, knowing full well, look, I'm sure they know what the social psychological research tells us which is that all of us have certain preconceived notions. We've been not hardwired to do it, but socially conditioned to see blackness in a very different way than we would see a young white men, for instance, in a hoodie in the neighborhood. And so, they know that, they used that, and I think the state's mistake was really allowing the defense to introduce through the backdoor this very subtle type of racial priming, if you will. This racial coding, and then not really push back against it very much. And I think that is the conversation we have to have. If we go forward and don't learn that these suspicions based on race are at the root of this case and at the root of so much of the racial profiling that takes place in police forces and all around this country, we will have made no progress at all and that will be the true tragedy.

LEMON: What about this comparison -- and I've been hearing it a lot and I'm wondering if it's a false equivalent. And, you know, my common sense says it does, and I just heard it Newt Gingrich and Van Jones talk about it. You know, they said what about all of the, you know, black people who kill each other in cities. Is that a false equivalent? Because I don't hear that when there is a Casey Anthony. I don't hear people saying, well, what about all the young kids who are killed, you know, by their parents every day --

WISE: Right.

LEMON: Or what about all of the girls who kill their boyfriends. Why don't you hear that comparison, but in this case you hear comparisons like that?

WISE: Well, because it's a very deliberate deflection not only offered earlier today on the program by Newt Gingrich, but it's offered by white folks whenever racism comes up, they will say, well, what about this black person who did this horrible thing or this horrible thing. That's not a rebuttal. That's like saying, when you were a kid and you broke a window playing baseball and your mom caught you, and got mad at you, and said, well, Billy was throwing the ball, too. Mama didn't care about Billy. Mama would say, in my case, something that lines up, if Billy threw himself from a bridge, would you follow him in the manner of a damn fool.

So the reality is, you don't deflect the issue. Are there violent crimes committed by black folks against black folks every day? Absolutely. And we are to deal with that.

LEMON: Absolutely.

WISE: -- as a real and serious social problem, but that doesn't change the racial elements underlying this case and the national reaction --

LEMON: Right.

WISE: -- to this case with which we still need to grapple.

LEMON: Tim Wise, much appreciated. Thank you, sir.

WISE: Thank you.

LEMON: All right.

Fans and friends overwhelmed with grief today. Mourning the loss of "Glee" actor Cory Monteith. Details on the investigation into the young star's death. Straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We're going to check your top stories right now on CNN. Asiana Airlines saying it is considering legal actions against a San Francisco TV station and the National Transportation Safety Board. The airline is upset over a station using racially offensive names in a report about the pilots aboard Flight 214, which made a crash landing in San Francisco last week. And fake names for the pilots were confirmed by a summer intern working at the NTSB. It was not immediately clear who generated the fake names, but the NTSB said it was not the intern.

There is a warning today from the journalist who broke the story of the NSA surveillance program. In an interview with an Argentine newspaper, Glenn Greenwald says the man who leaked the material, Edward Snowden has more information that would be dire for the U.S. if released. He said "Snowden has enough information to cause more harm to the U.S. government in a single minute than any other person has ever had. U.S. government should be on their knees every day praying that nothing happens to Snowden because if something happen, all information will be revealed and that would be their worst nightmare." Snowden said he will ask Russia for temporary asylum, but Russia so far says it has received no such request.

Almost two weeks after a military coup, Egypt's interim government is now taking shape. Former U.N. nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei was sworn in today as the interim vice president for foreign relations. Egypt's interim prime minister is meeting with more cabinet nominees in hopes of having his government complete by the middle of next week.

Now, to a shocking death in the entertainment world. Actor Cory Monteith, star of the TV show "Glee," has been found dead in a Vancouver hotel room. Our Nick Valencia has more on the man who "Glee" fans grew to love as fans (ph).

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sudden and tragic. News of the death of 31-year-old "Glee" actor Cory Monteith stunned his closest friends. The Hollywood star found dead in a downtown, Vancouver hotel room. His cause of death was not immediately clear, but at a press conference late Saturday, police ruled out foul play.

ACTING CHIEF DOUG LEPARD, VANCOUVER POLICE DEPT. Mr. Monteith checked into the hotel on July 6 and was due to check out of the room today. There were others with Mr. Monteith in his room earlier last night. But video and fob key entries show him returning to his room by himself in the early morning hours and we believe he was alone when he died.

VALENCIA: "Glee" guest director Adam Shankman spoke on the phone to Monteith just hours before his death.

ADAM SHANKMAN, DIRECTOR "GLEE": He was the glue, he was the cheerleader that really held everybody together (inaudible). That I really felt he was always smiles. He was patient. He was the first one -- you know, he always knew all of his line straight away. He was, you know, he was the first to laugh when things were muddy.

VALENCIA: Monteith skyrocketed to fame in 2009 playing a lovable heart throb quarterback, he's credited with making the Fox TV series a hit. But for all of his success, there were stumbles. Since he was 13 years old, Monteith openly said he battled with his sobriety. It was just four months ago when the comedian actor voluntarily checked himself into a rehab facility. His friends and girlfriend were encouraged by his steps to stay clean.

SHANKMAN: Even he said I'm feeling fantastic again. And, you know, he was obviously referring to, you know, that moment he had this year with going to rehab. And so I like everybody else really devastated an confused by what happened.

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VALENCIA Investigators haven't officially tied Monteith's death to substance abuse: an autopsy will be conducted on Monday. Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.

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LEMON: The George Zimmerman verdict is in. And we all know there was plenty of emotion during the trial even more in the moments after the not guilty verdict was delivered. I want you to take a listen to Don West, Zimmerman's defense attorney.

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DON WEST, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We needed facts, unlike what Miss Corey said they brought the facts. They didn't. Anybody that watched this trial knew the defense put on the case. We proved George Zimmerman was not guilty.

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LEMON: That was defense attorney Don West talking about the case that Florida State Attorney Angela Corey brought against his client George Zimmerman. And earlier today, Zimmerman's brother Robert talked to CNN's Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan. He said the evidence backed up his brother's claim of self-defense.

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ROBERT ZIMMERMAN JR., GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S BROTHER: Court is supposed to precisely show or prove that something happened. And not having that proven just proves, in fact, that it doesn't happen or at least cannot be proven that it took place that way.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: To the level of the state it required in court.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN: Right. But you have to remember that part of the evidence are George's statements that, you know, police found to be consistent or any inconsistencies are, you know, attributed to just simply repeating something as a human being would. We're not typewriters. It was nothing concerning. So those --

CUOMO: To the prosecution it was, though, right? They called him a liar, it was the basis of the case.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN: Right. That was the basis of their case. It's a weak premise for a prosecutor to go about trying to prove a case just by name calling somebody. But, you know, we have a verdict. I think we should really take a step back, respect that verdict, respect those six women, an all women jury who had to make a really tough call, and had to look at this outside of all of the emotions that were stirred up, and all of the racial innuendo that was stirred up and just kind of look at the facts and the facts spoke for themselves.

CUOMO: From your brother's perspective, you know where his head is on these things. Do you believe that he looks at things he did that night and says I wish I hadn't. I regret having a round in the chamber or following him when I was told it wasn't necessary or starting something or continuing something. What does he regret?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN: I'll tell you what -- I'll tell you that when this happened George wasn't the same. He was profoundly saddened, he was completely a somber person that was just not himself. Regret is a very strong word. Regret implies that your actions -- you have culpability in what you did for what happened. And I think that's what you are asking is, does he share or accept the blame. I think that George outside of the word blame feels and has felt, and I've expressed this before, very bad. He even told the police officer, Doris Singleton, he asked her, are you catholic. That came out in court. Because in my religion death by any standard is a tragedy, whether it's abortion or self-defense or what have you. So, he does have emotion about the fact that he had to take a life in self- defense, but that is incompatible with finding culpability in what he did.

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LEMON: And Robert Zimmerman says his brother is still trying to wrap his head around the verdict, but he says the entire family is extremely relieved. We'll be right back.

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LEMON: Shock, sadness, frustration seem to be the emotions of many after George Zimmerman was found not guilty. And, of course, many others feel relieved and grateful. Either way the verdict has touched a nerve. Since Nick Valencia is live at one spot where -- that's evident, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where Martin Luther King Jr. preached. And Nick, no doubt when you're talking about Ebenezer, I'm sure that it was a very moving service there this morning.

VALENCIA: It was a service of disappointment. A lot of frustrated people here more than 2,000 people that showed up for the service, it's save to say a majority of them were supporters of Trayvon Martin. And the pastor, Pastor Warnock, he paid tribute to Trayvon Martin. At one point, probably the most powerful moment in his sermon, he called up all parishioners, there were 18 years old or younger to front of the alter, dozens of them walked to the front, all holding hands. And he looked at them and very sincerely, he said, that -- he said that the world needs your voice. We're counting on you. He also went on to say that this -- when it happened, the incident that happened between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, it happened for one reason and one reason only. Take a listen.

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REV. RAPHAEL WARNOCK, SENIOR PASTOR, EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH: Trayvon Benjamin Martin is dead because he and other young black men and boys are seen not as a person, but as a problem.

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WARNOCK: Isn't that what we heard on the 911 call? I see a problem. Do you know him, sir? No, but I know he's a problem. What is he doing? Not doing much, he's walking, but he's a problem. What does he have? Skittles and iced tea, but he's a problem.

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VALENCIA: The general sermon was about staying away from temptation. Pastor Warnock talked about the temptation at a moment like this for the black community, the temptation to give up or the temptation to give in. He says at times like these the black community needs to stand strong and stand united. Don.

LEMON: Nick Valencia, thank you very much.

We have other news to report to you. A young TV star found dead alone in his hotel room. Fans and friends are devastated. Cory Monteith spent time at a rehab a couple of months ago, and was up front about his addiction struggles. We're going to talk to Dr. Drew Pinsky next hour. The "NEWS ROOM" will be right back, right after a quick break.

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