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Zimmerman Juror Speaks Out; North Korean Ship Seized; Violence Continue in Egypt

Aired July 16, 2013 - 12:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: For the first time since the verdict, a juror in the George Zimmerman case speaks out. An interview you will only see on CNN.

The notorious leader of Mexico's most feared drug cartel behind bars. We're going to tell you about his dramatic early morning capture.

And when Panamanian authorities seized this North Korean ship, they thought drugs might be hidden on board. That is not what they found, however. Their startling discovery ahead in the program.

And welcome, everyone, to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Michael Holmes. Suzanne is off today. She will be back later in the week though.

Let's get straight, though, to that interview that everyone is talking about, one of George Zimmerman's jurors breaking her silence. She says she is convinced Trayvon Martin was the aggressor the night that Zimmerman followed and later killed the unarmed teenager. This is an interview you will only see on CNN. Juror B-37, as she is known, spoke exclusively with our Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC 360": If we can, let's talk about how you reached the verdict. When the closing arguments were done, the rebuttal was done, you go into that jury room. What happened?

JUROR B-37, JUROR IN GEORGE ZIMMERMAN CASE: Well, the first day we went in, we were trying to get ourself organized because there's no instructions on what you do, how you do it and when you do it. So we all decided -- we nominated a foreman so she could have the voice and kind of run the show. If anybody gets, you know, so everybody's not talking over everybody. If somebody starts talking, somebody else starts talking, and then she would say, you know, stop. We got to - we got to -- one person at a time. We got - we got to do this. And so the first day we got all the evidence on the tables and on the walls. Then we asked for an inventory because it was just too time consuming looking for evidence when it was in no order whatsoever.

COOPER: Did you take an initial vote to see where everybody was?

JUROR B-37: We did.

COOPER: So where was everybody? How was that first vote?

JUROR B-37: We had three not guiltys, one second-degree murder and two manslaughters.

COOPER: So half the jury felt he was not guilty, two manslaughters and one second-degree.

JUROR B-37: Exactly.

COOPER: Can you say where -- do you want to say where you were on that?

JUROR B-37: I was not guilty.

COOPER: S going into it, at -- once the evidence -- all the evidence had been presented, you felt he was not guilty?

JUROR B-37: I did. I think - I think if the medical examiner could have done a better job at presenting Trayvon's -- preserving Trayvon's evidence on him --

COOPER: The state - the state medical examiner?

JUROR B-37: I mean the state. They should have bagged his hands. They should have dried his clothes. They should have done a lot of things they didn't do.

COOPER: Do you feel you know truly what happened?

JUROR B-37: I have a rendition of what I believe happened. And I think it's probably as close as anybody could come to what happened. But nobody's going to know what exactly happened except for George.

COOPER: So you took that first vote. You saw basically jury split, half the jurors, including yourself, thought not guilty.

JUROR B-37: Uh-huh.

COOPER: Two people thought manslaughter, one person thought second- degree murder had been proven.

JUROR B-37: Uh-huh.

COOPER: How do you then go about deciding things?

JUROR B-37: We started looking at the evidence. We listened to all the tapes, two, three, four, five times.

COOPER: The 911 recordings?

JUROR B-37: The 911 recordings and then there's the reenactment tape, there were some tapes from previous 911 calls that George had made.

COOPER: The reenactment tape, that's the tape of George Zimmerman walking police through what he says happened? JUROR B-37: Exactly. Exactly. We looked through pretty much everything. That's why it took us so long. We're looking through the evidence, and then, at the end, we just -- we got done and then we just started looking at the law. What exactly we could find and how we should vote for this case. And the law became very confusing.

COOPER: Yes, tell me about that.

JUROR B-37: It became very confusing. We had stuff thrown at us. We had the second-degree murder charge, the manslaughter charge, then we had self-defense, stand your ground. And I think there was one other one. But the manslaughter case we actually had gotten it down to manslaughter because the second-degree -- it wasn't at second-degree anymore.

COOPER: So the person who - who felt it was second-degree going into it, you had convinced them, OK, it's manslaughter?

JUROR B-37: Through going through - going through the law.

COOPER: Uh-huh.

JUROR B-37: And then we had sent a question to the judge and it was not a question that they could answer yes or no. So they sent it back saying that if we could narrow it down to a question asking us if what exactly -- not what about the law and how to handle it, but if they could just have -- I guess, I don't know.

COOPER: You sent a question out to the judge about manslaughter?

JUROR B-37: Yes.

COOPER: And about the -

JUROR B-37: And what could be applied to the manslaughter. We were looking at the self-defense. One of the girls said -- asked if you can put all the leading things into that one moment where he feels it's a matter of life or death to shoot this boy, or if it was just at the heat of passion at that moment.

COOPER: So that juror wanted to know whether the things that had brought George Zimmerman to that place -

JUROR B-37: Exactly.

COOPER: Not just in the minute or two before the shot exactly went off, but --

JUROR B-37: Exactly.

COOPER: Earlier that day, even prior crime?

JUROR B-37: Not prior crimes, just the situation leading to it. All the steps. As the ball got rolling, if all that --

COOPER: From him getting -- spotting Trayvon Martin and getting out of his vehicle -

JUROR B-37: Exactly.

COOPER: To following. Whether all of that could play a role in --

JUROR B-37: Determining the self-defense or not.


JUROR B-37: Uh-huh.

COOPER: Did you feel like you understood the instructions from the judge? Because they were very complex. I mean, reading them, they were tough to follow.

JUROR B-37: Right. And that was our problem. I mean, it was just so confusing what was what and what we could apply to what. Because, I mean, there was a couple of them in there that wanted to find him guilty of something. And after hours and hours and hours of deliberating over the law and reading it over and over and over again, we decided there's just no way -- other place to go.

COOPER: Because of the only - the two options you had, second-degree murder or manslaughter, you felt neither applied?

JUROR B-37: Right. Well, because of the heat of the moment and the stand your ground. I mean he had a right to defense himself. If he felt threatened, his life was going to be taken away from him or he was going to have bodily harm, he had a right. And - and the --

COOPER: So even though he had gotten out of the car, followed Trayvon Martin, that didn't matter in the deliberations. What mattered was that final -- those final seconds, minutes, when there was an altercation and whether or not, in your mind, what the most important thing was whether or not George Zimmerman felt his life was in danger?

JUROR B-37: That's how we read the law. That's how we got to the point of everybody being not guilty.

COOPER: So that was the belief of the jury that you had to zero in on those final minutes/seconds about the threat that George Zimmerman believed he faced?

JUROR B-37: That's exactly what happened.

COOPER: So whether it was George Zimmerman getting out of the vehicle, whether he was right to get out of the vehicle, whether he was a want- to-be cop, whether he was overeager, none of that, in the final analysis, mattered. What mattered was those seconds before the shot went off, did George Zimmerman fear for his life?

JUROR B-37: Exactly. That's exactly what happened.

COOPER: And you have no -- do you have any doubt that George Zimmerman feared for his life?

JUROR B-37: I have no doubt George feared for his life in the situation he was in at the time.


HOLMES: Well, let's get some thoughts on this juror and the others too. Alan Tuerkheimer is a jury consultant, joins us now from Chicago.

Alan, first of all, what just stands out to you most about this juror after hearing Anderson's interview?

ALAN TUERKHEIMER, JURY CONSULTANT: Sounds like they took a really nuanced approach. They were very careful. They took their job very seriously. They looked at the law. Going in, there was a split. Three wanted to find George Zimmerman guilty of something and three didn't. So they looked at the law, they read it through and then they focused on the justifiable homicide part about looking at the circumstances surrounding deadly force and ultimately they believed that he felt that the threat was real.

HOLMES: Yes, a lot of people initially were curious or found it interesting that this was an all-female jury. Was that significant to you at all?

TUERKHEIMER: It wasn't significant. Men have the same experiences as women in terms of being sympathetic, having concerns about neighborhood watch types. If anything, I think women might have been a little more critical of George Zimmerman in what he did prior to the altercation with Trayvon Martin. So I don't think gender really mattered too much. I think it had to do more with some of the experiences, some of the attitudes that these jurors brought with them. One of the jurors was a safety officer. Another one told her kids not to go out late at night because of this case. She used this case as an example of bad things that can happen. And so I think those are some of the things to look for. One of the jurors had a gun - a concealed weapons permit that was lapsed. So I think those things matter more than gender.

HOLMES: Yes. We - I - did you learn anything from that interview about how they saw the law? Was it - was it confusing to them? Was it clear to them in the end? What was your take?

TUERKHEIMER: It was confusing to me after I read it the first time. There were sections on justifiable homicide, excusable homicide. There were parts in it that talked about the killing being an accident. There were parts that had to do with whether or not this took place in George Zimmerman's dwelling or house. So none of that mattered. And so I can understand why it was hard for them.

So they did read it carefully. They selected a foreperson. They found that they were initially split. And so that's when the personalities really mattered. Some of the jurors, the pro-defense jurors, clung to their beliefs more and they were able to persuade the others of their point of view, ultimately.

HOLMES: And when it comes to this juror, you know, a lot of people in the (INAUDIBLE) sort of felt that she was, you know, I don't know, connected in a way to Zimmerman. She said that his heart was in the right place, stuff like that. Did you find that unusual? When a person goes through a trial like this, they're obviously - well, their job is to take a position, isn't it?

TUERKHEIMER: Sure. Some bonding always takes place, whether or not it's to a defendant, a victim, victim's family, someone who doesn't take the stand, as we saw here. She was a pretty strong pro-defense juror but she did say things - she said that he was overeager. She said that he didn't use great judgment. So I don't think she was unduly connected to George Zimmerman. I think she was pretty fair about it, as most jurors are. I think she was fair about looking at the evidence, assessing the witnesses and then, in her mind, figuring out what happened and then looking at the law, applying it to the facts, and then rendering a decision.

HOLMES: And in the broader picture of jury selection, in your expertise, what's the most important thing you're looking for from either side of the case? I mean everybody gets to knock a couple back and -- what are you looking for?

TUERKHEIMER: The dynamics are the most important thing, but if I just back it up and get two most important things, you want to see the experiences, the attitudes the jurors bring with them because that affects how they interpret the evidence that's presented to them. But also you want to see how they're going to be in deliberations. Are they going to be a leader? Are they going to convince others of their perspective? Or are they going to be a follower? Are they just going to let the others steam roll them? And there's all this ground in between. Some are a little of both. So that's what you really want to look at, is this juror going to be on your side and is this juror going to argue your case in deliberations and are others going to go along with it? Because some cling to their perspective really forcefully. And as you saw here, a 3-3 split turned into a six unanimous verdict in favor of George Zimmerman.

HOLMES: Alan, thanks so much. Appreciate that. Alan Tuerkheimer is a jury consultant there in Chicago. Thanks so much.

All right, well the nation's top law enforcement official weighing in on George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict. And many people are eager to hear what he is saying. We're talking, of course, about Attorney General Eric Holder. He'll be speaking this afternoon at the NAACP convention in Orlando, which is going to be a significant audience too. That civil rights group has almost a million signatures on an online petition that urges the Justice Department to take action against Zimmerman. People insist that he racially profiled Trayvon Martin and therefore civil rights charges could and should be filed. Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Martin moments before he was killed, spoke to CNN about the issue of race and more. Have a listen.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST, "PIERS MORGAN LIVE": And be honest with me, Rachel, do you think that that was racially motivated or more a case of somebody he thought was a young thug? Black or white.

RACHEL JEANTEL, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FRIEND: It was racial. Let's be honest, racial. If he were white - if he was white - if Trayvon was white, he had a hoodie on, would that happen? Because (INAUDIBLE) that was around 7:00 or something. That's around (INAUDIBLE) people walk their dogs, people still outside. All that.

MORGAN: The jury -- the juror tonight made it clear that the jury never really discussed race as being a motivating factor here.

JEANTEL: Imagine (ph), they're white. Well, one - one Hispanic.

MORGAN: Do you think they understood the world that you and Trayvon come from?


MORGAN: Don West gave you a very hard time, the defense attorney.

JEANTEL: Mmm, Don West.

MORGAN: What is your - what is your view of him?

JEANTEL: Mm-mm-mm. I'm going to have to say, he lucky I'm a Christian.


HOLMES: Well, here's more of what we're working on meanwhile this hour for AROUND THE WORLD.

The top boss of a violent -- very violent Mexican drug cartel has been captured. Not a shot fired during that arrest. We're going to tell you about the dramatic events as they unfolded.

Also, after a week of relative calm, unrest returns to Cairo. Protesters and security forces battled it out overnight. There were deaths and hundreds of injuries. We'll get a live report for you from Egypt. Do stay with us. You're watching AROUND THE WORLD.


HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. Panama seizes a North Korean ship that the Panamanian president says was carrying unauthorized military equipment. Now, this troubling cargo, given where it was bound, was found hidden by bags of brown sugar, this on a ship that was coming from Cuba.

Ian Lee with the details for us.


IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a brazen move by the North Koreans. A North Korean flagship in the United States backyard allegedly hauling missiles from Cuba back home.

Panama authorities stopped the ship after reports it was carrying drugs. The crew of 35 resisted, and the captain allegedly tried to commit suicide. If it's discovered to be missiles, then that's a clear violation of the United Nations' ban on the North importing and exporting most weapons. Panama has asked the U.N. to send a team to inspect the weapons.

This isn't the first time North Korean ships have been stopped. In 2009, the Indian government stopped a suspicious looking ship. And in 2002, Spanish warships stopped a ship hauling cement sacks. But hidden beneath those sacks were scud missiles and missile parts.

Ian Lee, CNN, Seoul.


HOLMES: Panama's president, in fact, was so disturbed by what authorities found on board the ship he went to check out the vessel himself, firsthand. Later actually tweeted a couple of photographs he took.

All right, still to come here on AROUND THE WORLD, violence on the streets of Cairo, and it comes as Egypt tries to rebuild its government. A live report coming your way from Reza Sayah. He's standing by for us in Cairo.

We'll be right back.


HOLMES: There was a massive strike and plenty of protesters in Greece today. Have a listen.

Thousands of people hit the streets, essentially bringing public services to a standstill from the airports to the garbage collectors, all of them protesting ahead of a vote in the Greek parliament tomorrow on the next round of austerity measures.

Life already very tough for Greeks. This is all part of an economic bailout, though, by the European Union, and Greece did agree to deep government cuts. The first round of cuts was watered down after violent protests across the country. No sign of that happening with this round, however.

Egypt, meanwhile, trying to rebuild its government, get its economy back on track, but the killing has not stopped in the capital. According to government-run media, the latest skirmishes between police and supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsy, have left at least seven people dead, more than 260 injured.

Morsy supporters fighting mad about his removal, of course, in the military coup that swept the country's first Democratically elected leader out of power two weeks ago.

Our Reza Sayah is in Cairo. Reza, obviously, the fear is that this will continue to grow, but I guess when the protesters block off a major artery in a place like Cairo, the authorities aren't going to standby.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, they're not, but they have to play a delicate balance here. If they get too aggressive with the Muslim Brotherhood, things could go downhill. But then again, there's a dilemma on their hand because on one hand you have this interim government who wants to push forward with establishing leadership here.

And then you have the people standing in their way, the Muslim Brotherhood, supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsy. They were back on the streets last night demonstrating, protesting. We didn't see massive numbers. We didn't see millions of people in the street, but there were significant protests when you take into consideration they took place here in Cairo, the city of Alexandria, and Asyut. These are supporters of the former president who say that the democratic process has been violated, and the legitimate leader of this country is still Mohamed Morsy.

In parts of Cairo, things did get violent and deadly, at least seven people killed when protesters clashed with police. More than 260 people were injured. And now the question is, what happens from here? How much longer can supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsy, keep coming out? And what do security forces do? What does this interim government do to resolve this conflict? Because clearly, Michael, this conflict has yet to be solved.

HOLMES: And on the political front, the so-called roadmap that's been outlined, you know, they're going to try to swear-in a new interim cabinet. We had a spokesman for the interim president saying that there is a list including the Muslim Brotherhood more than welcome, inclusiveness all over the place, meanwhile the leadership gets rounded up. Where do we stand on the progress of -- on the political scene?

SAYAH: Well, when it comes to the conflict between the Muslim brotherhood, supporters of the ousted president and this interim government, we're not getting anywhere when it comes to progress. The interim government security forces seemingly sending out mixed messages, as you mentioned, on one hand, reaching out saying they want the brotherhood to be part of this interim government; on the other hand, arresting people, charging them with instigating violence.

And the reversal of fortune in this conflict is remarkable. Just three weeks ago, it was Mr. Morsy and the Islamists in power. And it was the opposition, the liberals and the moderates, who were rejecting their call to sit down. And now the tables have been turned, Michael. I haven't seen anything like this.

HOLMES: All right, Reza, appreciate your reporting throughout all of this. Reza Sayah there on the spot in Cairo.

All right, the notorious leader of Mexico's most-feared drug cartel behind bars, this is a man who used to burn his foes to death. We'll tell you about his dramatic early-morning capture when we come back.