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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
June 26, 2013
Guests: Nancy Giles, Evan Wolfson, Jeffrey Rosen


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Big news tonight. A majority victory for
gay rights from the Supreme Court. Just a day after the decision to gut
the voting rights act. We`ll talk later in the show about both rulings and
the way forward for justice in this country.

But we start with today`s riveting testimony in George Zimmerman`s second
degree murder trial. The young woman who was the last person to speak to
Trayvon Martin took the stand. She was on the phone with him just moments
before his death, and described what she heard in dramatic details
including what she said were Trayvon Martin`s words. Get off. Get off.
Those were his final words.

There was other important news in the trial today. An earlier witness also
testified that she`d seen the confrontation the night of the shooting and
she said it was Trayvon Martin screaming out for help.

Today, the jury also heard calls Mr. Zimmerman made to police in the months
before the night of the shooting. Calls that the judge ruled were
admissible in the trial. But it was the testimony of Trayvon Martin`s
friend that riveted spectators in the courtroom.

Rachel Jeantel was on the stand all afternoon. She testified for the
prosecution about a half an hour, at one point nearly breaking down in
tears. She also faced a tough cross examination from the Zimmerman defense
team that lasted about an hour and a half and will continue tomorrow.
Here`s a key part of her testimony when she describes that final call with
Trayvon Martin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL JEANTEL, TRAYVON MARTIN`S FRIEND: He just told me -- he just told
me to try and lose him by start walking back home because the rain come a
little bit down.

BERNIE DE LA RIONCA, STATE PROSECUTOR: So Mr. Martin told you he was going
to try to lose the man?

JEANTEL: Yes. By start walking home.

RIONCA: OK. And did you say anything to him?

JEANTEL: No. We were just talking. And then he just told me the man
following him now. Then he said he`s following me now.

RIONCA: After Mr. Martin said the "n" word and said he`s following me,
what happened then?

JEANTEL: He just told me and then I just told him run. He said no.

RIONCA: OK. You told him to run?

JEANTEL: Yes.

RIONCA: And what did, if anything, did Mr. Martin say?

JEANTEL: He said no. He was almost right there -- he almost right by his
dad`s fiance`s house.

RIONCA: Did you say anything to him at that time?

JEANTEL: I told him you better run. And he had told me he almost by his
daddy fiance house. He said why are you following me for? And I heard a
hard breath man come saying what are you doing around here. And I said to
him, Trayvon, what`s going on? And I heard a bump. I think it was the
bump of the headset. Then I heard him saying get off, get off.

RIONCA: Then what did y hear?

JEANTEL: Then suddenly the phone hung up. Shut off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The prosecutor also asked her about a crucial piece of evidence
in the case. The 911 call made by a neighbor where you can hear screaming
in the background.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIONCA: Have you heard the recording -- telephone recording where there`s
cries for help and then a shot? Have you heard that on TV and stuff?

JEANTEL: Yes.

RIONCA: OK. The cries for help, are you able to say whose voice that is
or voices that is?

JEANTEL: Trayvon. It sounded like Trayvon`s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom, former prosecutor
John Burris, and former prosecutor Marsha Clark.

Thanks for joining me.

LISA BLOOM, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.

MARSHA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Thank you.

JOHN BURRIS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Marsha, it was a long afternoon of testimony from Trayvon
Martin`s friend. A crucial witness. How did you see it?

CLARK: I saw this as a slam dunk for the prosecution. I have to say,
Reverend, I loved everything about this witness. I know she was a rough, a
diamond in the rough, so to speak. Not the most polished witness. There
were times she got testy with the defense. But what I like about her and
this was something that I always appreciated in a witness is she`s genuine.
She`s for real. There is nothing unreal and she`s completely authentic.
She comes across and tells you exactly what she`s feeling, thinking, and
what she saw and heard on that day right straight from the heart, straight
from the brain. There is no disassembling about here and I love that.
It`s the unvarnished truth. And I think to me she came across as not only
very credible, but extremely relatable. We can understand why she got a
little bit frustrated with the defense that repeated questions over and
over again. About things that I thought were more tangential than they
should have done.

They went after her lying about her age and not going to the memorial
service. Leave that alone. What is the point of that? Go straight for
what`s important. And they really, I think, did not hit the important
points well enough. I thought she came across extremely well.

JEANTEL: John, you`re a defense attorney. What was your impressions?

BURRIS: Well, my impression was that this was going to be a very
challenging witness for them to cross examine. And that you had to be a
little bit careful. The important part for me from a defense point of view
was if there was anything that could be corroborated about what she had to
say or not. There was conflicting testimony on various witnesses the
status and relationship between Trayvon and Mr. Zimmerman.

And so the question is, could she add testimony to that? She really
couldn`t add testimony around what actually happened. She could only get
testimony that I thought was important around the question of when she said
get off, get off. That`s consistent with what other people had to say.
But, from a defense point of view, this is not the person you could tear
up. You just got to make sure there`s no other evidence to corroborate
what she had to say. Otherwise you`re messing with a witness, I think, we
have a ring of truth about it. But a lot of things she had a ring of truth
about. That`s OK, because it really doesn`t go to the immediate question
of what happened at the time of the shooting took place.

SHARPTON: Lisa, your impressions? You watched the whole thing. What do
you think?

BLOOM: I watched the whole thing. And I was especially focused on cross
examine because most people are good on direct, but cross examination is
where you get the truth.

I would characterize here as a mixed bag. You showed clips from her direct
examination and she stuck to that core story that Trayvon Martin said he
was being followed, that he was concerned about it, that the phone dropped
and he said get off, get off. Very powerful for the prosecution.

But on cross examination, she had to admit t a couple of lies already and
we`re not even done with her yet. She had to admit not only that she
didn`t go to the memorial service which is completely understandable. But
that she concocted a lie about being in a hospital once the hospital record
were subpoena, of course, she had to admit, that was a lie. That she lied
about her age to try to get her privacy protected.

And boy, one of the evolutions I will say of her testimony is that she
initially said under oath in a deposition when she heard that recording of
the screaming that she didn`t know if that was Trayvon Martin. Now, today
under oath she says it is Trayvon Martin. That`s a change in the testimony
that`s significant on a key issue in this case.

SHARPTON: Marcia, how do you respond to that?

CLARK: You know, Lisa makes the one point that I thought they did and John
makes the other one. If John had been doing this defense, cross
examination I think it probably would have been a great deal more focused
and more effective because he is right. That is the point you go for. She
didn`t see what happened. She couldn`t tell you who approached who or
where they were exactly were when the confrontation happened or whether
Trayvon eventually turned on Zimmerman. That is the point. And that`s
what the point that they completely buried by going after irrelevancies
like the memorial service and she lied about the age. I don`t care.

And If I`m the juror sitting there, and I think that this jury are pretty
smart, they`re going to say, OK whatever. She lied for a purpose that has
nothing to do with her credibility as a witness in this case.

But the fact that she did shift a little bit on whether or not it was
Trayvon`s voice on that tape, that`s important stuff that Lisa points out.
I agree with her. You know what we`re going to hear from both sides,
they`re going to be claiming no that`s Zimmerman, no that`s Trayvon Martin.
At the end of the day, the jury has to decide what they believe.

SHARPTON: Well, you also have Zimmerman himself saying it didn`t sound
like him. So I don`t know. You`re all over the place with that, you`re
right.

But John, let me play to you what both Lisa and Marsha had referred to.
Rachel Jeantel was a friend of Trayvon Martin but didn`t attend the wake or
funeral. Here`s what she tells the state prosecutor. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIONCA: Why didn`t you go to the wake and to the funeral? I`m sorry what?

JEANTEL: I didn`t want to see the body.

RIONCA: You didn`t want to see the body?

JEANTEL: No.

RIONCA: You ended up speaking to Trayvon Martin`s mother. And to parents,
right?

JEANTEL: Yes.

RIONCA: OK. Did you end up lying about not going -- why you didn`t go to
the wake, the funeral?

JEANTEL: Yes.

RIONCA: And why did you lie about not going to the funeral or to the wake?

JEANTEL: I felt guilty.

RIONCA: You felt guilty about what?

JEANTEL: I was the last person -- I was the last person who talked to
their son.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: John, this is something you referred to as a lie they told. But
do you think the emotions and the way she was talking in any way kind of
appeals to some of the jury, or does it matter? She told a story and
that`s the end of it?

BURRIS: Well, I think she`s very credible as to why she didn`t go. And
that`s a believable thing. But I will tell you from a defense point of
view, any lie that you can use for whatever reason to go to the credibility
of a witness, you use it. And in a case like this, it`s a very powerful
witness. And so, at the very least you want to show the jury she has the
capacity to lie whether it`s a good reason or not. Now, the fact is she
did not tell the truth and now acknowledges it is something the defense
will ultimately use. I think the deceptive part of her testimony is very
believable and very credible. And so, at the end of the day, you will get
all the credit for that. And to the extent the defense can use in any way
to suggest maybe she lied once and might lie about other things, but
typically on the area of questioning whether or not she actually could tell
who was yelling. And you put that with the fact that she had embellished
that along with the other statements that the defense will probably try to
use or discredit her as much as possible.

SHARPTON: Now, Lisa, she`s important in this case why?

BLOOM: She is one of many witnesses who are trying to puncture George
Zimmerman`s story, right? He has a very clear story that he has told
police. He says Trayvon Martin attacked him and that there was scuffle and
that in self-defense, he had to shoot Trayvon Martin to save his life,
right? That`s all on videotape. It can`t be changed.

So, what the prosecution is doing is putting on a number of witnesses to
just prove each little part of the story. What she does is disprove the
part of the story where supposedly Trayvon was the attacker. Because if
you believe her version of the story, Zimmerman came after him. His last
words to this witness are get off, get off, Trayvon`s last words, certainly
sounds like George Zimmerman was attacking him.

SHARPTON: Marsha, the fact that she is talking to him on the phone and the
phone records as far as we know does reflect that conversation, does that
not support her saying she was talking to him and in fact you would assume
if she was talking to him, he was not in pursuit of someone.

CLARK: Exactly. Yes. That`s a very good point that you make. The fact
that he`s actually on the phone with her means that he`s preoccupied. He`s
occupied with talking to this woman -- young girl, really. She`s 18 at the
time. That he`s talking to her and he`s busy with her and he wants her to
tune into the all star game. It shows a focus that is completely against
anything that might make him an aggressor and looking to get in to it, mix
it up with somebody else. He was focused on getting home and watching the
game and he was talking to this girl and asking her to make sure it is on
for him. His focus is completely other. And that is completely
distinguishable from someone who is looking around and looking to mix it
up.

And then, of course, you have the actual words and she`s been consistent
about this. No matter what the defense might say about lying about her age
and the memorial and all of that and we understand why she doesn`t want to
go. And I found it very compelling, by the way, when she said she felt
guilty. It`s such a natural thing that you`re the last one to speak to him
and you wanted to do something for him and you couldn`t. And I don`t think
if there`s anybody on that jury that doesn`t understand that feeling. So,
I think that whatever little lies they found around the edges, I don`t
think it`s going to do anything to the credibility of her ultimate
statement which is her was on the phone with me and he was talking and he
was focus on me and on getting home and not interested in attacking George
Zimmerman.

BLOOM: OK. But Marsha, you can`t say it`s not doing anything to her
credibility because while we can all feel for here and understand, this is
a murder trial. The prosecution has the burden of proof beyond a
reasonable doubt. They have to put on evidence that`s credible. And you
know that the jury is going to get an instruction at the end of this case
that the witness who is not credible in one part of her testimony may be
disbelief in another part of her testimonies.

So, that`s what they`re up against. Like every time somebody tells a lie
and then they have to explain it and we have to be understanding. I mean,
the defense is going to run with this and say she`s lying about the core of
her testimony because she wanted to make Trayvon Martin`s family happy.
She wanted to make them feel better, so she told the lie. And then she`s
repeated it and she embellished it. That`s going to be the defense closing
argument about her.

CLARK: Of course it is. But there is also a jury instruction that says
that witnesses may be untruthful in one part but you may believe them
entirely in another. And to the extent that the one part where they were
untruthful is minimal and inconsequential, and I`m sorry but the lies
quote-unquote "are inconsequential" other than the inconsistency that you
pointed out and I agree with about whether whose voice that was on the
tape. Bit, we are going to have a lot of that.

SHARPTON: John, I`m going to give you the last word.

BURRIS: I don`t think her testimony in itself is totally discredited. I
think that I`m very much impressed by the fact that she leads the testimony
by saying he says get off, get off which then means he was not the
aggressor. And that goes to the heart of the defendant`s case. So, to the
extent that have area that you can`t be corroborated, I think the lasting
impression I walked away from here is the statements that clearly suggest
that he was not the aggressor which is contrary to Zimmerman`s position.

SHARPTON: John Burris, Marsha Clark, Lisa Bloom, thanks for your time
tonight.

BLOOM: Thank you.

BURRIS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a crucial moment for the prosecution. Jurors hear
George Zimmerman` past calls to police. What do they show?

Plus, after yesterday`s devastating blow to the voting rights act, today a
major victory for equal rights in the country.

And Paula Deen defends herself against allegations of racism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA DEEN, COOKING CHEF: I live my life the way I believe. And like I
said, if you have never committed a sin, please pick up that rock, pick up
the boulder and hit me as hard as you can.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I`ll give you my thoughts on that.

And remember, I want to hear from you. Send me your e-mails. "Reply Al"
is coming.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Ahead, prosecutors argue that George Zimmerman`s past calls to
police show a quote, "building level of frustration." But did they prove
that point today? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with another key moment from George Zimmerman`s
trial.

The jury hearing calls Mr. Zimmerman made to police before the night
Trayvon Martin was killed. The judge ruled that jurors could hear those
calls this morning. The calls are recordings from five times Mr. Zimmerman
contacted the police from the summer of 2011 through early 2012. Mr.
Zimmerman`s defense had argued the calls were irrelevant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: Those are not acts which show
ill will, hatred, second degree. What they show you -- what they would
show you is he was acting fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: In one call Mr. Zimmerman contacted police about an open garage
door. In the other four calls, Mr. Zimmerman reported people he said were
suspicious. And when he was asked by the dispatcher to identify them, he
said they were African-American.

Here`s one of the calls jurors heard today. We have edited the court
proceedings to remove the part of the call where Mr. Zimmerman gives an
address and his phone number.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ACCUSED OF KILLING TRAYVON MARTIN: Hi. I was just
calling because we have had a lot of break-ins in our neighborhood recently
and I`m on the neighborhood watch. And there`s two suspicious characters
at the gate of my neighborhood. I`ve never seen them before. I have no
idea what they`re doing. They`re just hanging out loitering.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Zimmerman, can you describe the two individuals?

ZIMMERMAN: Two African-American males. They look, I know one was in a
white impala.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old do they look to you?

ZIMMERMAN: Mid to late 20s, early 30s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now are Faith Jenkins and Ken Padowitz.

Faith, what effect does hearing these calls have on the jury?

FAITH JENKINS, FORMER CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: It`s going to be huge
especially in closing arguments because now, this changes the entire
landscape about what the jury will hear about George Zimmerman. It`s no
longer about just the four corners of what happened the night he met
Trayvon Martin. But they`re now going to be able to paint a picture of a
pattern and practice he had of targeting and following and looking at
suspicious individuals.

The judge made the right call here. The night that he saw Trayvon on the
call to the police, he referred to him as if he was a part of a group.
These a-holes always get away. F-ing punks. He referred to him as if
there was more than one person there. He had an attitude for Trayvon based
on his past experiences of seeing suspicious people in the neighborhood,
the prosecutors are arguing this is how he built up a level of frustration
which is why that night he thought they always get away, but not this time.
So he followed Trayvon Martin. That`s going to be their argument.

SHARPTON: Now, Ken, is this as important in your view as Faith believes?
And why did the defense fight so hard to try to keep these tapes out?

KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Exactly. She`s correct. It is very
important evidence. There were 50 phone calls. The judge made a very
sound, legal judgment to allow in five of those calls. It`s inextricably
intertwined evidence or otherwise known in Florida as context evidence. It
shows the context and the level of frustration that`s built up over time by
the defendant. And why he then decides to pursue Trayvon Martin on the
night he was murdered.

So, this evidence, not taken alone but connected to the other testimony and
the other evidence in the case becomes a very powerful weapon that the
prosecution can use using real life evidence, real phone calls made by the
defendant that all point to the end result that the prosecution wants which
is the jury to determine that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

SHARPTON: Now, Faith, you referred to this. Listen to what Mr. Zimmerman
said to the dispatcher about Trayvon Martin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got him on the way. Let me know if this guy does
anything else.

ZIMMERMAN: OK. These (bleep), they always get away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, that`s where he referred to Trayvon Martin these a-holes
plural. They always get away. That comment was similar to something that
Mr. Zimmerman said in one of his earlier calls. He said this in August of
2011.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZIMMERMAN: If you`ll let the officers know, they typically run quickly.
And I think they head over to the neighborhood, the next neighborhood over.
So you may want to send a unit over to Columbia cove.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s it called?

ZIMMERMAN: Calabria cove.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. I`ll let them know. They are on their
way. OK?

ZIMMERMAN: OK, thanks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, bye-bye.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, it`s "they" again. We don`t know if it`s really "they"
this time or one person. But is this, "always get away." Is that important
to the charge or to try and attempt to prove the charge?

JENKINS: Absolutely. Because a key element in a second degree murder
charge in this case is that Zimmerman had some kind of ill will, depraved
mind. Indifference, an attitude towards Trayvon. And he reflected up on
that attitude when he followed him and killed him.

And the prosecutors are going to argue because of his past experiences with
people getting away, he had reached a boiling point with Trayvon. And this
was going to be one of those times where he was not going to let the person
get away this time.

SHARPTON: Now, Ken, prosecutors said these previous calls will help jurors
determine why Mr. Zimmerman thought Trayvon Martin was suspicious. Listen
to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD MANTEI, PROSECUTOR: I think the states should be allowed to
establish through relevant evidence like the protocols whether or not the
defendant`s allegation is suspicious simply because he`s walking in the
rain is one thing. Or if he considers other things to be suspicious in and
of themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What are they trying to prove here, Ken?

PADOWITZ: Well clearly, the elements of the crime. Ill will, spy, evil
intent, to second degree murder. They`re trying to show how, you know,
these things all come together with the other calls now coming in on the
day in question where Trayvon Martin is murdered and sought after by
Zimmerman.

I mean, I think its crucial evidence. It`s relevant evidence. And the
fact that she defense has fought so hard to keep it out really underscores
the fact that it is relevant. It`s laughable for the defense to say that
it`s not relevant.

Relevant evidence is evidence that tends to proves or disproves a fact and
issue. And clearly, one of the main facts of issue here is whether or not
there was this ill will, there was his intent to do harm to Trayvon Martin
by Zimmerman. And the phone calls help prove that.

SHARPTON: How do you think the trial is going as of today? At the close
of today, what do you think? What is your estimate, Ken, of where we are?

PADOWITZ: I think the case is going very well for the prosecution.
Earlier you had a guest that said it was a mixed bag on the main witness,
that the girlfriend who was on the phone. Well, of course it`s a mixed
bag. Every witness is a mixed bag. But the crucial testimony from this
girl that she was talking to him, that he was trying to get away from
someone that was pursuing him. That`s the important and very important
relevant evidence that`s going to strike this jury right in the heart. The
fact that she lies about whether not she goes in the funeral or whether she
was at a hospital, these are from a teenager. Now, we all know how
teenagers are. And using our common sense and life experience, her
testimony in conjunction with the other testimony that was presented by the
prosecution today, comes across in a very powerful fashion to this jury.

SHARPTON: Jane Surdyka, Faith, is a resident and eyewitness. She also
testified today as one of the witnesses that he was -- Ken was referring
to. And she -- the state played her really harrowing 911 call that night.
Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know what`s happening. Someone`s on the
ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see someone laying on the ground?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone`s been shot. I don`t know what`s going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, calm down. Stay on the line with me. Like I
said, we have officer on scene and we have other officers on the way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. You better hurry up. I don`t know if
someone is dead on the ground or something. Oh, my God. I think somebody
was killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, we don`t know if they`ve been killed. OK? We
know they`ve been probably --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, the person is dead laying on the ground.

JANE SURDYKA, WITNESS: In my opinion, I believe that the second yell for
help, that was like a -- you know, like a yelp. It was excruciating. I
felt it was the boy`s voice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I really felt it was the boy`s voice. Here`s another witness
saying it was Trayvon. Faith, how important is that?

JENKINS: Her credibility is unassailable because on this 911 call, she is
describing what she is witnessing on this call. It`s a contemporaneous
experience for her. And she says on the call he was screaming for help.
And she`s crying throughout this 911 call, very emotional in the courtroom.
She`s saying on the call he was yelling for help. I wanted to help him. I
should have helped him. I don`t have a gun. And now why would someone
kill him? Why would they shoot him? He was yelling for help. She`s
referring to the person she sees lying on the ground dead. That is very
powerful.

SHARPTON: Ken and Faith, thank you for your time tonight. Testimony
continues tomorrow. We will be covering all of it.

Still ahead, Paula Deen tearfully defends herself against accusations of
racism. I`ll weigh in.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Paula Deen defends herself and says she`s heartbroken. We`ll
have reaction to her apology and what happens next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Former Food Network star Paula Deen went on national television
today in an effort to salvage her reputation. Last week in a sworn
deposition, Deen admitted using racial slurs including the "n" word some 30
years ago. The backlash was immediate. This morning defending herself on
the "Today" show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, "TODAY" SHOW, HOST: You swore under oath.

PAULA DEEN, FORMER FOOD NETWORK STAR: Yes, I did.

LAUER: That you have used a word that is the most offensive word you can
use to describe an African-American. And you`ve talked about this wedding,
this wedding you wanted to plan, that plantation style wedding. Whether
you used the "n" word or not. So, how does someone use the "n" word
whether in anger or in a joke, or in private, the most offensive word to
African-Americans and not be considered a racist?

DEEN: Yes. The day I used that word, it was a world ago. It was 30 years
ago. I had had a gun put to my head. A shaking gun. Because the man that
had the gun to my head, unbeknowing to me was my customer at the main
office.

LAUER: Didn`t you also say you used it on other occasions?

DEEN: No. No.

LAUER: So, you have, other than that one time in the bank robbery attempt,
you`re telling me you have never used the "n" word?

DEEN: I never. They asked me in all of my 66 years on earth, had I ever
used it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But Deen did testify she has used the "n" word more than one
time. In that sworn testimony, an attorney asked her quote, "Have you used
it since then?" Deen`s response, quote, "I`m sure I have, but it`s been a
very long time."

Here`s more from Matt Lauer`s interview today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAUER: Do you have any doubt in your mind that African-Americans are
offended by the "n" word?

DEEN: I don`t know, Matt. I have asked myself that so many times.
Because it`s very distressing for me to go into my kitchens and I hear what
these young people are calling each other. It`s very, very distressing.

LAUER: You never joined in on that language?

DEEN: No. Absolutely not. It`s very distressing. It`s very distressing
for me because I think that for this problem to be worked on that these
young people are going to have to take control and start showing respect
for each other. And not throwing that word at each other. It makes my
skin crawl.

I know how I treat people. I know my love for people. And I`m not going
to sit here and tell everything that I have done for-- people of color.
I`m not going to do it. Somebody else can tell that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is social commentator Nancy Giles. Thank you for
being here tonight.

NANCY GILES, SOCIAL COMMENTATOR: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: What do you make of Deen`s answer this morning? Is this
interview going to help her?

GILES: I don`t know. Just listening to it again, there are parts of it
that are so odd. I mean, you pointed out, she actually did admit in
testimony that she used the "n" word before. And then now she says she
didn`t. And what was interesting in just now hearing how she described her
anguish over hearing young people using it and what it means for them and
then taking pride. I only wish she had talked about that in terms of
herself.

SHARPTON: Right.

GILES: Those words could really describe I think how she could look at the
word. And Rev, you know, I hate that word. My parents never used it. I
don`t like that other black folks use it as a term of endearment. But
there`s so much more than just the "n" word here with Paula Deen. You
know? It`s not just that. I mean, if everybody that ever used that word
lost their TV show, there`d be no TV shows.

SHARPTON: But the problem also is that she seemed to when Matt Lauer was
trying to get her to address this herself, she used it to lecture the young
people in her kitchen.

GILES: I know. Come on. Yes. Which seemed weird. Again, she was
deflecting it off herself and putting it on their shoulders as if they were
the issue. And look, I`m not her. I can`t read what`s in her heart. I
wasn`t there. But I thought the most honest part of her testimony
originally was when she was asked if she ever used the word, and she said,
yes, of course she did. She`s of a certain age, she lives in a certain
area.

Look, there are lots of areas in the country where people use that word
casually. Before young people started using it. And it was a casual,
demeaning, violent, dehumanizing word that was used. I just can`t quite
wrap my head around the fact that she used it once when a black guy had a
gun pointed to her head and then the other time she was just quoting other
young people who really should stop using it. You know?

SHARPTON: Well, you know, my own view on this and I said it, is that if
we`re talking about something she said 20 or 30 years ago, then I don`t
think that`s something -- all of us have said or done things we have
regretted.

GILES: Right.

SHARPTON: But you`re talking about allegations now.

GILES: Right.

SHARPTON: There`s a lawsuit now. And the more she talks, the more you
start saying wait a minute.

GILES: Yes.

SHARPTON: So it`s more than giving her the benefit of a doubt 20, 30 years
ago. And you`ve got to look at present allegations.

GILES: That`s right.

SHARPTON: So, I think that if we`re talking about using it 30 years ago,
that`s one thing. If we`re talking about the fact she`s being sued now --

GILES: Well, her brother`s being sued. Yes.

SHARPTON: Her brother`s being sued. And this continuing redoing the
story. Now you`re starting to say, wait a minute here. What`s going on?

GILES: It`s getting a little shady. And look, can we talk about that like
having all the black people dressed as waiters thing?

SHARPTON: Yes. And plantation.

GILES: I mean, again, the plantation, the happy plantation wedding. Isn`t
that something you`d love to be a part of? I mean, that just to me says
more those actions more than the word itself. In a lot of ways.

SHARPTON: Well, Nancy Giles, thank you for your time tonight. And if I
were to give Miss Deen some advice, I would say, look, we`ve all made
mistakes. If they happened long ago, say that. I would also say if you
have a guy with a gun to your head, I wouldn`t call him the "n" word. I
really wouldn`t. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today the biggest gay right victories in our nation`s history.
First this morning, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage
Act ruling the federal government can`t discriminate against same-sex
marriages. A sweeping ruling affecting Americans all across the country.
And just minutes later, more cheers as the court`s ruling on California`s
Prop 8 effectively legalized same-sex marriage in the country`s largest
state. The two same-sex couples in the Prop 8 case walked out of court as
heroes making history. And just moments later, the couples while appearing
right here on MSNBC received a call from President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We`re proud of you guys and we`re
so glad that in California and in a growing number of states around the
country because of your leadership, people are getting their equal rights.
So you guys should be very proud of today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Today`s news sparked celebrations across the country from coast
to coast. It`s a dramatic new chapter in America`s quest to expand civil
rights. A quest the president spoke of in his second inaugural.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We the people declare today that the most evident of truths, that
all of us are created equal. Is the star that guides us still. Just as it
guided our forbearers through Seneca Falls and Selma and stonewall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Evan Wolfson who has played a central part
role in the fight for same-sex marriage. Evan Wolfson is the founder and
executive director of Freedom to Marry. "Time" magazine has named him one
of the most influential people in the world. And Jeffrey Rosen, president
and CEO of the National Constitution Center.

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight. Evan, what does this ruling
say about America in the year 2013?

EVAN WOLFSON, DIRECTOR, FREEDOM TO MARRY: Well, it says that even when the
Supreme Court can get something as wrong as they did yesterday, they can
sometimes get it right. And what it says is the constitution is a document
that guarantees all of us protections. And if we work hard and keep
working and do the work, we can all be part of the American dream. The
Supreme Court today by striking down the central part of the so-called
Defense of Marriage Act turned the federal government from the number one
discriminator against gay couples to now being on the side of those
families as we push forward to win the freedom nationwide.

And the Supreme Court as you said restored the freedom to marry in
California bringing California forward as an engine state to help move the
country forward. And now establishing that 100 million or more Americans,
a third of the country now live in a state where gay people can share in
the freedom to marry up from zero a decade ago.

SHARPTON: Jeffrey, Evan mentioned as wrong as they got it yesterday, they
got it right today. And it definitely in my opinion was wrong yesterday.
How do we deal with the difference in rulings?

JEFFREY ROSEN, PRES. AND CEO, NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER: Well, I think
first of all I want to congratulate Evan Wolfson on this victory. You were
right to say how influential he`s been in this historic victory. And it
was years ago, that he wrote a college thesis insisting that right to marry
should be a central constitutional right. It`s a huge personal victory for
him today. How can we reconcile these two rulings? In some ways, they are
strikingly consistent.

In both cases, Justice Kennedy writing for a divided court took a
sweepingly expansive view of individual liberty. In this case it favor a
liberal result, it recognize properly the individual liberty and dignity of
gays and lesbians to be treated equally by the federal government.
Yesterday, Justice Kennedy and his colleagues along with Chief Justice
Roberts believed that the individual right not be discriminated against
prevented the federal government from imposing pre-clearance requirements
on certain states. So it just goes to show that you may disagree with
Justice Kennedy but he does have a very expansive view of individual
liberty. Sometimes it favors liberal results, sometimes conservative ones.

SHARPTON: Well, I do disagree because the victims are not the states in
that case as those that could not vote in those states law. But Evan, let
me get to you. What are the next steps now to make the rulings now have a
just those in everyday life that has been denied before this.

WOLFSON: Right. Well, for couples who are legally married, this decision
means that the federal government may no longer discriminate against them.
They must treat them like any other married couple. And we`re going to
work with President Obama and the administration and we`re calling on
Congress to do its part to implement that decision and the constitution`s
command. And of course even though we now have 13 states including
California and a third of the country, that leaves 37 states where gay
people are still denied their freedom to marry and that`s an injustice that
has to come to an end.

SHARPTON: That`s important Jeffrey because 37 states that does not have
same-sex marriage as the law, this ruling does not require that they do
that. Is that right?

ROSEN: That is right. But Evan is absolutely right that this ruling
contains powerful language that will allow him and other advocates for
marriage equality to have success in court. Justice Kennedy said a state
and the government may not demean an individual because of moral animus
against gays and lesbians. There`s an incredibly powerful passage in the
opinion today where Justice Kennedy quote from the Congressional report
that said, Congress intended to express moral disapproval of gays and
lesbians.

Justice Kagan read that during the oral argument. Well, I think advocates
will now be able to take that language and say all of the state laws that
deny marriage equality are also based on moral disapproval, also reflect
the kind of animus and therefore according to the logic of today`s
decisions, they too should fall.

SHARPTON: Evan, you`ve been called as I said by the Daily Beast the
godfather of gay rights. One of the things that concern me as you know
I`ve stood up to some chagrin of some of my colleagues for gay rights.
When I saw the ruling today and I saw the ruling yesterday that the right
wing tried to form some kind of wedge between those of us that fight for
civil and voting rights and those that agree with gay rights. How do you
propose we address the difference in the rulings and someone potentially
trying to cause some kind of division in the unity between those that have
been progressive on these issues?

WOLFSON: Yes. You`re absolutely right. And we have to stand together and
make sure there is no division. And in fact, none of us is fully free and
none of us are equal until all are free and all are equal. Yesterday, you
may have seen that freedom to marry joined the entire leadership of the
LBGT movement in issuing a strong statement condemning the Supreme Court`s
gutting of the voting rights act. And absolutely pledged to stand with our
civil rights counterparts.

And of course our communities overlap. African-Americans are gay. Gay
people are Latino. There`s not a division here. We`re all one and we have
to stand together. And the Supreme Court did the right thing today and
we`re going to build on that. And the Supreme Court did the wrong thing
yesterday. And that can`t be the last word.

SHARPTON: Evan Wolfson and Jeffrey Rosen. Thank you. That was said like
a true godfather.

WOLFSON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: I don`t know if that`s right. But thank you very much.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s time for reply Al. Keep sending me all your questions.
Friend or foe, I want to know. We`re getting plenty of questions about the
Supreme Court`s decision to gut a key part of the voting rights act. Mary
says, "I want to understand why the country seems to be going back instead
of forward."

Well, Mary, it is a backward move in my opinion what was decided yesterday.
But in all of our frustration, in all of the feeling of disappointment I
had yesterday, I thought about what they went through in 1965 and the years
leading up to it to get us the voting rights act in the first place.
People literally lost their lives. People lost their livelihood. Families
were divided.

So a disappointing vote is not what they went through. If they could get
together, they could organize it, they could press Congress. If they can
turn back those forces, 50 years ago, we have no excuse given our relative
comfort to do it today. That`s why we must press Congress for a new
formula.

That`s why we must rally Martin Luther King III and I have a march in
Washington on the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington called
realize -- the National Action realize the dream. On Saturday, August
24th. We`ll march on Washington. Fifty years after his father Martin
Luther King, Jr.`s historic "I Have a Dream Speech." We must continue to
push for his dream to become a reality for all of us.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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