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PoliticsNation, Thursday, June 27, 2013

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POLITICS NATION
June 27, 2013
Guests: Faith Jenkins; Lisa Bloom; Ken Padowitz, Billy Martin, Kendall
Coffey


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight`s lead, the grueling
cross-examination of Trayvon Martin`s friend. Day four in George
Zimmerman`s murder trial, the defense finally wrapped up its questioning of
Rachel Jeantel, the 19-year-old who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin
moments before he was killed. This cross-examination lasted five hours
over two days.

Also today, testimony from the neighbor who made the 911 call, where
loud screaming can be heard, and then a gunshot. Jurors heard her account
of that scream.

And today another witness testified she saw George Zimmerman on top of
Trayvon Martin after the altercation. She is the third witness to say so.

But for most of the day, Rachel Jeantel faced questions from the
Zimmerman defense team. And they tried to undermine her story. The
defense repeatedly raised questions about her version of events, but she
did not waiver from her testimony that Trayvon Martin did not confront
George Zimmerman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DON WEST, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He didn`t say why are you following me
for, he said why you following me for, didn`t he?

RACHEL JEANTEL, WITNESS: No, sir, not that kind of way, sir.

WEST: It was just a question, hey, mister, why are you following me
for?

JEANTEL: He says hey, mister, why are you following me, for. He just
asked the question, why are you following me for.

WEST: And he could have just run home if he wasn`t there.

JEANTEL: He was already by his house. He told me.

WEST: Of course, you don`t know if he was telling you the truth or
not?

JEANTEL: Why he need to lie about that, sir?

WEST: So you think he was walking as opposed to hiding, because you
could hear wind on this headset?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: As if he couldn`t be standing still, and there could also be
wind?

JEANTEL: Trust me, no wind.

WEST: And you knew in your mind that it was going to be a fight?

JEANTEL: No, sir. Maybe an argument.

WEST: You thought Trayvon Martin would approach a man he had never
seen in his life --

JEANTEL: I say Trayvon approached the man, sir.

WEST: But the reason you didn`t do anything about it, tell anybody
what you had heard, come forward to the police is because in your mind, it
was just a fight? Correct?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And, in fact, it was just a fight Trayvon Martin started?
That`s why you weren`t worried. That`s why you didn`t do anything. It was
because Trayvon Martin started the fight and you knew that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Compound question, badgering the
witness.

JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SEMINOLE COUNTRY: Overruled. You may answer.

JEANTEL: No, sir.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHARPTON: In that confrontation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon
Martin, who was the aggressor? Who initiated the altercation? Rachel
Jeantel`s testimony is that Trayvon Martin was being followed, that he was
attacked. Those are her answers to the key questions in this case.

Joining me now are former prosecutor Faith Jenkins, MSNBC legal
analyst Lisa Bloom, and defense attorney Ken Padowitz.

Another long day for this witness. Faith, what is your reaction to
her testimony?

FAITH JENKINS, FORMER CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: No matter how many times
and how many different ways Don West tried to cross examine her on the
fundamental issues, she held to her testimony, and she was strong about it,
and she held to those points.

And I think that was critical, because with her credibility being at
issue, they do not want George Zimmerman to have to take the witness stand.
That`s why they took their time and this cross went way too long, in my
opinion, and was too disjointed, too repetitive. But he tried to focus in
on those key issues. He kept going back to them. But she kept repeating
the testimony that she believed that she found to be true which was that
Trayvon was followed. That was her belief, and that`s what she stuck to.

SHARPTON: Ken, what use your impression today? How did it go with
the last understand, at least for now, for this witness?

KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, this star witness for the
prosecution, Rachel, is a fascinating witness. I mean, you cannot stop
watching her testimony. You either love her or you hate her, but you
listen to her. And she is very, very strong in credibility on the fact
that Trayvon was being followed, that he would be pursued by Zimmerman.
And I don`t think anyone in that jury doubts that testimony whatsoever.

Where it becomes a little more shaky, where it becomes a little not
sure on her credibility is what actually happens and who is doing the
confrontation. Now, I believe that based on all of her testimony combined,
the jury is going to believe this girl, but they`re not going to be as
strong on what her testimony is at the end of this situation, the
confrontation, which is really the most important part of it for the
prosecution. But when they look at it all together, when they believe the
beginning part of her testimony about the pursuit, I think that the jury is
going to believe that in fact the confrontation was started by Zimmerman,
based on all the evidence and the other evidence in the case from the other
witnesses` aside.

Lisa, you have been watching all day. What is your view?

LISA BLOOM, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: All day, I tell you. I think she is
a fascinating character too. And I think like most of us, she has her
strengths and her weaknesses. Her strengths are that she did stick to her
story for the most part. Her weaknesses are her story did change
significantly. And not just lying about being in the hospital during
Trayvon`s funeral which she was. And she has admitted to that.

But I`m not to say that use the word, lying. But the story changing
in some key ways. For example, she testified at trial that Trayvon said
"get off, get off" and those were the last words she heard from him.
However, previously she said under oath why are you following me and then
the phone went dead, not including the words "get off, get off." I mean,
that`s a pretty significant change.

SHARPTON: Is that a change or is that not saying the whole thing?

BLOOM: Right.

SHARPTON: Well, that is a change.

BLOOM: Well, it is a change because she said the phone went dead
after that, immediately after that. And she left those words out. Now she
said, she wasn`t asked this specific question before. But you don`t think
law enforcement wanted to know that?

JENKINS: But for Rachel, what you -- an observation that you make
about her is she is not the best communicator in the world. And sometimes
I really believe if she is not asked a question directly, she may not
volunteer the information. I don`t think sometimes that she was
purposefully omitting facts. I think that she is just less than thorough
sometimes when she gave prior accounts.

SHARPTON: No. But just for the record, I think when he questioned
her, she said she was never asked. Now, the jury will have to decide
whether or not she -- you know, should have volunteered it or not. But
what I`m saying is it`s not like she said something and then changed the
story. It`s a question of whether she said more at trial than she said in
a statement before.

BLOOM: You know, one of the most important things to he got out of
her on cross, and boy, you had to pay close attention today to get the key
point some parts because it was way too long and disjointed, but she is
very sensitive to the Martin family. And God bless her for that, because
they went through a nightmare. But she changed things a little bit to make
it more comfortable for them, because the family was present when she had
her first interview with the prosecutors. Now that`s a mistake. The
prosecutors` office made in my opinion.

SHARPTON: Right.

BLOOM: But is she evolving her story, maybe even subconsciously to
tell a story that is more helpful to them? I think if I were on the
defense, that`s how I would handle it. Not she is a liar, she is a
terrible person, because she is obviously a sympathetic person. But many
of us mis-recollect and make mistakes in the way we recall things. Maybe
she wants to make a more sympathetic story.

SHARPTON: Ken, your views and let me ask while you`re giving your
views on what we just discussed, was the defense badgering her? Will they
come off like they were really badgering and pressing her too hard as a
young lady?

PADOWITZ: Well, they definitely were badgering her. It was
disjointed. It was a have long cross, way too long. But they had a job to
do, and they were trying to get this jury to believe that there are
reasonable doubts in her testimony, in her credibility. But she stuck.
You know, she hanged in there. She was 18-years-old, now 19-years-old.
She is a teenager on the stand, undergoing five hours, two grueling days of
cross-examination. And I`ll tell you. For someone who is 19 years of age,
as a homicide prosecutor here in Florida, you know, she did very well. She
did well.

There is lots of problems with her testimony, no doubt, that the
defense is going to use in their closing arguments. But the bottom line is
that she stuck to her story and things that she had no control over, like
other lawyers being present in the room when she was being interviewed or
not saying certain things that she wasn`t asked, these really are minor
things that the defense is going to have to pick away at. But the
prosecution can bring the jury back to focusing on the central theme. Was
he pursued? Did Zimmerman do the pursuing? Did Zimmerman do the
confrontation.

SHARPTON: That is where, Faith, I think that is very interesting to
me, because they came at her hard, and she seemed to stick to her story,
whether the jury believes it or not, we`ll see. But let me show you one of
the hard exchanges. And I`m calling it a hard exchange where they really
went hard at her, and she seemed to hold her guns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEST: So the last thing you heard was some kind of noise like
something hitting somebody?

JEANTEL: Trayvon -- Trayvon got hit.

WEST: You don`t know that, do you?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: You don`t know that Trayvon got hit.

JEANTEL: He had to --

WEST: You don`t know that Trayvon didn`t at that moment take his fist
and drive it into George Zimmerman`s face.

NELSON: Please lower your voice.

WEST: Do you?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: And for that matter, you don`t even know what get off means,
whether that was somebody on top saying that the person underneath was
saying get off, or somebody was backing off and saying get off. Or --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, argumentative.

NELSON: Let me hear the rest of the question.

WEST: Or what may have been meant if in fact you heard it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JENKINS: I think Don West got frustrated, because he was not getting
the answers that he wanted from Rachel. And I think he made a critical
mistake that a lot of defense attorneys make on cross-examination. He kept
asking that one question too many. And she kept being able to stand up to
him and in front o this jury and say no, that`s not the way it is. This is
the way it was. No, you`re incorrect. What I said is in fact true. And
this is what I believe. But he kept trying to go back, but he only allowed
her to continue to shore up her testimony, and what she believed. And he
got frustrated because he was not getting the answers that he wanted.

SHARPTON: Lisa, does this make you even more and more likely that
they`re going to have to call George Zimmerman?

BLOOM: That`s the big question in this case. And I think the defense
is going to try to keep him off the stand, because they don`t want him
cross examined about all the many inconsistencies in his story. They want
to bring in probably the police video where he tells the story in a
reasonably credible way. I think the prosecution wants to force the
defense to put him on. It`s a self-defense case whom. Who else is going
to say that he was defending his life? If the prosecution puts on a strong
enough case in chief, which they`re trying to do now, I think Zimmerman is
going to have to testify.

SHARPTON: But Ken, that my point is it on what Faith just said, the
more they went after this witness and other witnesses, the more it would
seem to me, you`re the lawyers, that the only one that could give the other
side of that would be Zimmerman. You can`t ask the jury to imagine that it
might have been Zimmerman that was saying get off or something else. Are
they painting themselves in a corner here, Ken?

PADOWITZ: Well, it`s exactly what Lisa said. She is correct. I
mean, the defense wants to keep Zimmerman off the stand if they can. And
the prosecution obviously wants to force their hand and have Zimmerman
testify.

And, you know, I think that she did a good enough job. She didn`t do
a perfect job. She is not a perfect witness, the star witness today. But
she did a good enough job that I think there is a lot of questions that
have to be answered by George Zimmerman taking the stand. And that`s going
to be the real interesting question. Will the defense put Zimmerman on?
Will they put him up there to give his explanation and be cross examined?
And I think the cross-examination is going to be very thorough by the
prosecution in this case.

SHARPTON: Let me put you on the spot, Ken. Would you put him on if
you were the defense attorney?

PADOWITZ: I think at this point the state has presented enough of a
case that the defense needs to seriously consider putting Mr. Zimmerman on
the stand to give his explanation, to give his self-defense testimony in
this case.

SHARPTON: Would you put him on, Faith?

JENKINS: I think I would. I think I would. Because if -- the jurors
are always told don`t hold it against the defendant if he doesn`t take the
witness stand. But I think there is always the question there, well, if I
really was defending myself, and I really had to shoot as a very last
resort to save my life, I would want to get up there, and I would want you
to tell me that. So I would.

SHARPTON: Would you, Lisa?

Not at this point, because the prosecution always has the burden of
proof beyond a reasonable doubt. They have not yet met that burden. Now,
we`re only in day four of the trial. They`re still going that remains to
be seen. If I were the defense team, I would not want to put him on. I
would get in the videotaped police statement. If I can get that in, I`m
telling him, you`re not testifying.

And by the way, I think he wants to testify. He is that kind of guy.
He wanted to talk to the police the as soon as they came. Interestingly in
court, every time somebody has been asked to identify him, he stands up
very proudly, something I`ve never seen before in a criminal trial as to
say I`m right here, yes, I`m George Zimmerman. You know, there is a real
pride to this guy.

BLOOM: And he testified at the bond hearing whom. Does that? That
was very rare for him to do something, for a witness.

SHARPTON: I want to play again this whole get off, get off, because I
want you: percent all to address what she is talking about she heard get
off, get off. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEST: And what you said was you could hear a little like "get off,
get off".

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And when Mr. De La Rionda said who was saying that, didn`t you
say I couldn`t know it was Trayvon, or I couldn`t hear it was Trayvon?

JEANTEL: It sounded like his voice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: How do you respond to that? She is, again, this is the
defense trying to go at an inconsistency that they would call.

JENKINS: The prosecutor is going to focus on that. Putting aside all
five and a half hours of her testimony, if you believe that statement
right, there Trayvon Martin was not the aggressor. He was telling him get
off of me, get off of me. He was the one screaming for help.

SHARPTON: And Lisa, this is about self-defense, even though the
burden of proof clearly stays on the prosecution.

BLOOM: Right.

SHARPTON: You clearly are dealing with a self-defense that if in fact
the deceased in this case was saying get off, how do you say this is self-
defense if the jury believes that was the victim?

BLOOM: Well, that`s right. And it completely undercuts Zimmerman`s
story. It is directly opposed to his story of what happened that night.
He says he was sucker punched by Trayvon Martin. He went down. He is
down. Trayvon Martin`s on top of him, reaching for the gun. And that he
had to pull the gun first and shoot. This is a completely different story.

And I would say if you believe any of these witnesses who contradict
Zimmerman`s story, then his entirety of his story is in question.

SHARPTON: Faith Jenkins, Lisa Bloom, Ken Padowitz, stay with me. We
have much more to talk about.

Coming up, testimony from the woman whose 911 call is at the heart of
this trial. What did she say about the scream she heard?

Plus, one of the only witnesses to that struggle speaks out. What did
see that night?

And President Obama`s emotional visit to the door of no return, the
place said to be the last stop for millions before they were shipped off
into slavery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: African-American,
African-American president, to be able to visit this site I think gives me
even greater motivation in terms of the defense of human rights around the
world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president in Africa. I will have more on that powerful
moment.

And I love hearing from you. Send me your e-mails at "Reply Al" is
coming up.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The woman who heard desperate screaming the moments before
Trayvon Martin was killed. We will hear her testimony next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with today`s other dramatic testimony from the
George Zimmerman trial today. Eyewitness Jenna Lauer took the stand to
testify about what she heard behind her house the night Trayvon Martin was
killed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNA LAUER, EYEWITNESS: At first it sounded like maybe people were
standing up, because I could hear sneakers on pavement. And then after
that it kind of just sounded wrestling, because at one point I felt like
they were about to come through the screen. I mean it sounded like it kept
getting closer and closer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, a call 911 moments after she heard those noises. It
was the recording of her call that captured the screams that have sparked
so much debate and legal arguments. And today the prosecution played it
for the jury.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAUER: It sounds like a male.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don`t know why?

LAUER: I don`t know why. I think they`re yelling help. But I don`t
know. Just send someone quick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he look hurt to you?

LAUER: I can`t see him. I don`t want to go out there. I don`t know
what is going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell them to come.

LAUER: They`re sending.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he is yelling help?

LAUER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, what is your --

(GUNSHOT)

LAUER: There is gunshot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just heard gunshots?

LAUER: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Who is screaming on that 911 tape? Is another key question
in this case.

Back with me now is our panel of legal experts Faith Jenkins, Lisa
Bloom and Ken Padowitz.

Lisa, for some of the jurors, this may have been the first time they
heard this 911 call with all the screaming. How does that affect them?

JENKINS: You know, it affects me, and I`ve heard it a number of
times. But it`s horrendous. I mean, it isn`t just TV. This is a real
person who if you believed the prosecution, this is Trayvon Martin
screaming, and then he is shot. This is the very last sounds out of this
young man. If you believe the defense, it is Zimmerman. But whoever you
believe, these are the final moments of Trayvon Martin`s life. I think it
gives you chills. It`s horrible.

Legally speaking, will anybody be able to prove it was one of the
other of them screaming? I expect Trayvon Martin`s mother to testify and
say it`s her son. She said that consistently. I think could be very
powerful evidence.

SHARPTON: Ken, defense attorney Mark O`Mara question Ms Lauer about
the scream she heard that night. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK O`MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Did you consider those screams to be
life-threatening screams?

LAUER: Yes.

O`MARA: Did it seem as if they were the screams of f somebody who was
getting beat up?

LAUER: They were being hurt somehow, yes.

O`MARA: You ever seen this picture before?

LAUER: Yes.

O`MARA: Could those screams have come from somebody who was having
this done to them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Speculation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Ken, he is trying to be dramatic, showing a picture of the
injuries of Mr. Zimmerman. What do you think?

PADOWITZ: Well, clearly, the objection, it was correct by the
prosecution. It`s asking the witness to speculate. And we can`t ask
witnesses to do that. We don`t want them to guess. We want them to tell
the jury exactly what they know. And this witness was really neutral. She
didn`t know who the screams were coming from. But when we add all the
other testimony from the other witnesses in the case, the prosecution
obviously wants the jury to believe that those screams were coming from
Trayvon Martin.

And it is a horrible tape to listen to. I mean, it has major impact,
and it`s a tremendous weight that jury is going to give this. The big
question is who are they going to believe the screams were coming from?

BLOOM: But this makes an impact in the courtroom, OK? He know
there`s is going to be an objection. He doesn`t care. He is getting an
image in front of the jury that this could have been the reason for the
screams.

SHARPTON: But Faith, the prosecutor came back, and he raised a
question about the same screams. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Mr. O`Mara asked you about the screaming you felt I guess based on
what you observed were life-threatening, correct?

LAUER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you don`t know who was being attacked or who
was not?

LAUER: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t say it was Mr. Zimmerman or Trayvon
Martin who was screaming for help?

LAUER: We couldn`t see anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You couldn`t say it was Mr. Martin yelling for
help, because Mr. Zimmerman had a gun and he was yelling help, help, help.
You can`t say whether it was or t?

LAUER: Can`t say either way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JENKINS: So he is making the point these witnesses are simply coming
in, telling about what they heard, what their observation were, if any.
Nothing more. They don`t have a dog in this fight. No bias here. And I
can tell you the most significant thing about this call, it is now in
evidence. The jurors will be able to take this back into the deliberation
room and listen to it again.

John Guy, the prosecutor, one of the prosecutors is going to get up
and ask them again listen carefully. What when do the screams stop? The
moment that gunshot goes off, this person, who sounds like they`re
screaming for their life, that person is silenced. That is the significant
argument about this call.

SHARPTON: If the person screaming is silenced, and of course the
prosecution would want to use that saying it had to have been Trayvon
Martin, then, again, if Mr. Zimmerman does not get on the stand that hangs
out there, Lisa. But if he does get on the stand, he is going to have to
explain why he went silent.

BLOOM: Well, and here is what the defense said in opening statement
about that. The screaming stopped because the threat had been removed once
the shot went off. That`s the defense argument.

But when you match it up with George Zimmerman`s statement, he said to
the police that after he shot Trayvon Martin, he didn`t think he hit him.
He thought that Trayvon was just surprised and shock and fell backwards.
He thought the threat remained. And that`s why he got off of him and
spread out his hands and held him down. So, it`s not consistent with
George Zimmerman`s story.

SHARPTON: Well, was it part of the problem that he said that and then
they testified that his hands were not spread out?

BLOOM: That`s right. And the body was found with the hands
underneath. But I would use that if I`m the prosecutor to say it wouldn`t
make any sense. If George Zimmerman is the one screaming for help, after
the shot it doesn`t make sense for him to stop screaming. Because he still
thinks the threat exists, according to his own statement.

PADOWITZ: His own statement, right.

SHARPTON: Ken, do you think that the screaming and the aftermath of
the shot is going to be one of the main considerations of this jury?

PADOWITZ: It absolutely will be.

And going back to the point of whether or not George Zimmerman has to
testify to explain it, Lisa Bloom initially had said that there is a tape
of George Zimmerman explaining, and if they can get that in, the defense,
that George Zimmerman may not have to testify.

Well, I strongly disagree with that. I don`t think there is a
prayer`s chance that the defense is going to get that tape in. It`s a
hearsay statement. It is self-serving. It`s not a confession. And
therefore under the rules of Florida evidence, that tape is not admissible.
The prosecution is not going to put that tape, in and that`s going to force
the hand, the prosecution hopes, of having George Zimmerman having to
testify. Having to testify that it was him screaming and not Trayvon
Martin.

SHARPTON: Lisa?

BLOOM: No, I agree. I agree that it`s hearsay and the defense wants
to get it in and they probably will not be able to get it in. The
prosecution may introduce it for some reason or another to that George
Zimmerman told a story that was filled with lies, that`s contradicted by
all of the prosecution witnesses. I mean, that remains to be seen whether
or not it`s going to come in.

SHARPTON: Let me go back to you, Faith.

Another witness took the stand late today, and said that she saw
George Zimmerman on top in the fight. She is the third witness so far to
say he was on top. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: Did you ever hear the person on the bottom say
anything?

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

GUY: At any point did you see the person on top or the person on the
bottom get up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Si.

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

GUY: Who did you see get up?

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The one who was on top. I took a few steps from
where the body was, in the direction towards the receptacle. You walked
back, and while he was doing this pacing, he would put his hands up on his
head like this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Faith, there has been other counts. But three people
have said Zimmerman was the one on top. How does this play to the jury in
your opinion?

JENKINS: It`s corroboration. One witness after another, one piece of
evidence after another, the state is going to argue corroborates the fact
that George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor. Even if you take Rachel`s
testimony, you don`t have to take her testimony by itself. You then
combine that testimony with these other witnesses who are saying things
that corroborate Zimmerman was the initial aggressor. They`re building the
strength of their case on these witnesses one after the other.

SHARPTON: Lisa?

BLOOM: Well, the problem is they see him on top after the shooting.
Nobody was a witness to the shooting itself. And Zimmerman`s own story is
that, yes, after the shooting, he pushed Trayvon Martin off of him and then
he was on top for a period of time. So I don`t think them seeing him on
top after the shooting in and of itself is all that significant.

SHARPTON: Ken, how does the jury sort this out?

PADOWITZ: Well, I think the word for today is combination. I think
that`s correct. It`s the combination of all of the evidence. It all fits
together. And when you have the last witness testifying that George
Zimmerman was on top. That`s going to be consistent with him pursuing,
confronting and being the aggressor

And I think that`s the combination of all the evidence, not one
witness in a vacuum, but all of it together is what this jury sitting
there, these six women from Florida are looking using their common sense
and life experience, and they`re adding that all up. And at least that`s
what the prosecution hopes.

SHARPTON: All right. Faith Jenkins, Lisa Bloom, and Ken Padowitz,
thanks for your time tonight. There is more, and we`re going to be
covering it every day. We`re going to stay on this story.

Ahead, inside the prosecution`s case. Will the jury view Trayvon
Martin`s friend as a sympathetic figure or an unreliable witness?

Plus, President Obama`s historic visit to door of no return. A
monument to victims of the slave trade.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: For more than five hours, the defense in the George
Zimmerman trial tried to trip her up. So how did Trayvon Martin`s teenaged
friend do during her grueling cross-examination? Was she sympathetic or
inconsistent or both? The key witness. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: No witness so far in the George Zimmerman murder trial has
sparked as much conversation as Rachel Jeantel. The 19-year-old who was on
the phone with Trayvon Martin just moments before his death. The defense
questioned her for five and a half hours over the last two days. At times
she got laughs, like when she talked about a previous interaction with the
prosecutor, who she called a bald-headed dude.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL JEANTEL, FRIEND OF TRAYVON MARTIN: TC, bald-headed dude.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This guy?

JEANTEL: Yes. Sorry, all right. Sybrina and me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The other time she seemed to snap at questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Of course, we don`t know if you`re telling us the
truth or not.

JEANTEL: Why you need to lie about that, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Maybe if he decided to assault George Zimmerman, he
didn`t want you to know about it?

JEANTEL: That`s where we taught it, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m sorry?

JEANTEL: That`s where we taught it to do that, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But overall Jeantel seemed more comfortable today than
yesterday, leading to this question from the defense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Are you OK this morning?

JEANTEL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You seem so different than yesterday. I`m just
checking. Did someone talk with you?

JEANTEL: Is that a question?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. Did someone talk with you last night about
your demeanor in court yesterday?

JEANTEL: No, I went to sleep.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Jeantel is a key witness. But how will the jury view her
testimony? All of the jurors are women. The prosecution says five out of
the six are white, and five are mothers. Will they see Jeantel as a
sympathetic witness, a teenager who is mourning her friend, or as someone
who is unreliable?

Joining me now is Criminal Defense Attorney Billy Martin, who has
represented many high profile clients. He was also a long-time federal
prosecutor. And former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey, now an MSNBC legal
analyst. Thank you both for being here tonight.

KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Thanks for having us.

SHARPTON: Billy, how do you think these jurors will react to Rachel
Jeantel`s testimony?

BILLY MARTIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Reverend, I think any
time you have a homicide prosecution, a criminal defendant starts with a
real uphill battle. In here, the evidence is uncontroverted that George
Zimmerman followed, ignored police demands, and then some type of
confrontation occurred. So, the jury listening to her will know the
following, that when she talks about he says I was being followed, the dude
is still following me, I think I`ve gotten away from him. Uh-oh, he`s
back.

Those are all facts, which nobody will controvert. So, they will
believe her on that. On other issues it may not be important. But I think
overall these five women who are listening on that jury will have some
degree of sympathy because she looks like a 19-year-old teenager with some
limited skills who is there talking about a horrific fact. She is going to
win some votes and lose some. But on key facts, I think the jury will
believe that she heard he was being followed and I`ve lost him, but he is
back on me again. That`s what the jury is critical. That shows he was
being -- Trayvon Martin was being pursued.

SHARPTON: Kendall, they -- the defense was asking Rachel to read a
copy of a letter her friend wrote for her and gave it to Trayvon Martin`s
mother. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Are you able to read that copy well enough that you
can tell us if it`s in fact the same letter?

JEANTEL: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Are you unable to read that at all?

JEANTEL: Some I do not.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Can you read any of the words on it?

JEANTEL: I don`t understand. Cursive --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She admits she can`t read cursive handwriting. Does that
admission in your opinion Kendall make her sympathetic?

COFFEY: Well, I don`t think it affects the sympathy calculus a whole
lot because the real question is, was she believable. I think the attorney
pushing the point as he did unnecessarily may have been unsympathetic. But
do I think that she is somebody that this jury easily connects to? I don`t
think so. But whether or not the jury can relate to her in a normal sense
of seeing somebody who might be their own daughter, or who might be their
own niece or their own friend, what I think the jury is seeing is somebody
who is there, doesn`t want to be there.

It was brought in by a horrific twist of destiny and tragedy to have
to talk about what happened in the final minutes of the life of a friend of
hers and who`s by and large being truthful. And truthful is a lot more
important than sympathetic or any other word when it comes to the key
witness for the prosecution.

SHARPTON: Now, Billy, yesterday Jeantel testified that Trayvon Martin
used some slurs to refer to George Zimmerman. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANTEL: I asked him how the man looked like. He looked like a
creepy (bleep) cracker.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Then what happened?

JEANTEL: And then he said (bleep) still following me now. That
(bleep) is still following me now.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That he is still following him?

JEANTEL: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now the defense jumped on that as a racial slur. But she
also said he used the n-word, Billy. So does one cancel or balance the
other? I mean what are you -- what do you take from the defense making an
issue of this?

MARTIN: I think the defense is really trying to attack this young
lady, this teenager. And I think it will balance out. I go back and I
agree with Kendall, that I think that the jury is going to look at facts
that make her believable on key facts, on the issue here. The key word
that I think she said she was consistent with, this creepy guy is following
me. And the key elements here are not some of the other slurs that may
have been used. They will be offensive, and the jury may not want to hear
them.

But on the key elements, was he following him, and did Trayvon Martin
have a choice? I think the jury is going to be convinced that Zimmerman,
based on her testimony, was in fact following her and Trayvon Martin had no
choice but to try to run, and he could not. Those are key facts. And all
the other issues may come in. But on those facts, she appears to come
across as believable.

SHARPTON: Kendall, they could have possibly the mother of Trayvon
Martin testify about the language these kids used, the n-word, the c-word.
I mean, what happens? What is your view on this? Is it that important?

COFFEY: Well, I think it could be important. The prosecution doesn`t
really know. But the one thing they don`t want this jury to believe is
that it was Trayvon Martin who is using ugly language and maybe had some
attitudes about somebody like George Zimmerman. And the prosecution you
saw on redirect tried to get this witness, Rachel Jeantel to talk about
cultural differences, but she wasn`t in a position to do that. And I think
it doesn`t take a lot. But if the prosecution perhaps through Trayvon`s
mother is whose going to be a witness in the trial explains it yes, there
might be language like that, but it had nothing to do with racial
attitudes.

It`s teenagers with all the talk they use and some of the slang they
use. And it`s going to be important for the mother, I think, to say
something, because the one thing the defense is trying to do throughout
this process is put Trayvon Martin on trial. And the judge has kept them
from doing that with a lot of evidentiary rulings. And the defense is now
trying to see if they can get through the side door with some of these
issues to make out Trayvon Martin as being somebody who would have been the
one to throw the first punch.

SHARPTON: Billy, what happens if they put his mother on and she
addresses this? And can that backfire since not only did the term the c-
word be used, but the n-word used. It`s kind of hard to say that he was
being racial when he used the term that is negative toward his own race as
well as toward another race.

MARTIN: Reverend, many years ago when I was a prosecutor here in
D.C., I was a chief of the D.C. Homicide Unit, chief prosecutor in the
homicide unit. And you get all these words. This is not unusual in a
homicide case to have vulgar language and activity that people feel and
find uncomfortable. I think a juror and jurors look right through that and
look at what are we really trying to determine?

They`re not trying to see if one was a good person or a bad person
there are facts here. And these facts will show who was the aggressor, who
had the ability to flee, and who had the gun. I think they`ll look right
past these slurs and find the facts that really will help them decide this
case. I don`t think the slurs are going to make a difference.

SHARPTON: Well, Kendall, at the end, there was also the back and
forth about the ability of the witness to understand English because she
had three languages she understood. Don`t you think the defense gets into
looking a little condescending, like do you understand English because you
also speak Spanish and Creole?

COFFEY: Absolutely. Picking on her because she didn`t read cursive
language. There were a couple of points where the defense was starting to
be a little patronizing. That always backfires. And I think she -- I like
the way she stood her ground on that. She speaks three languages. You saw
throughout some of the questioning how she would correct the defense
lawyers, not rudely, but simply standing up for herself. And so whether
the jury found her sympathetic or not, I think there had to be something of
a grudging respect for this very young woman who is dealing with a
situation that she couldn`t have imagined ever encountering, who by and
large stuck true to her testimony and true to her beliefs.

SHARPTON: Billy Martin and Kendall Coffey, thank you both for your
time tonight.

MARTIN: You`re always welcome, Reverend.

COFFEY: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama`s visit to the door of no
return. Often called the last stop for millions of slaves before leaving
Africa.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Up next, President Obama is in Africa today and in Senegal,
he took the first family on a historic visit to a former slave site, the
door of no return. I`ve been there. And if you ever go, you never will
forget it. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It was a brief moment, but a long time coming. President
Obama spent part of his first full day in Africa, visiting the door of no
return on Senegal Goree Island. He stood in the same doorway where
millions of Africans are said to have passed through before they were
loaded on to ships as slaves, bound for America or to die on the voyage
there. The visit with his wife and daughters was emotional, not just
because of his role as our first African-American leader, but also because
the first lady herself descended from people held in slavery. The trip
offered a reminder of how far we have come and how far we still need to go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Obviously, it`s a very
powerful moment, and I think more than anything what it reminds us of is
that we have to remain vigilant when it comes to the defense of people`s
human rights, because I`m a firm believer that humanity is fundamentally
good, but it`s only good when good people stand up for what is right.
Obviously, for an African-American and African-American president, you
know, to be able to visit this site I think gives me even greater
motivation in terms of the defense of human rights around the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The focus on human rights is at the heart of this trip, and
it`s an issue already on the minds of millions. Especially given the
ailing health of Nelson Mandela. Today President Obama called Mandela his
inspiration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: My first act of political activism was when I was at
Occidental College as a 19-year-old. I got involved in the anti-apartheid
movement. I think at that time, I didn`t necessarily imagine that Nelson
Mandela might be released, but I had read his writings and his speeches.
And I understood that this was somebody who believed in that basic
principle I just talked about, treating people equally. And was willing to
sacrifice his life for that belief.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Preside Mandela inspired people all over the world. And
tonight he and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s time for "Reply Al." Keep sending all those questions
in. Friend or foe, I want to know.

Antoinette writes, "What can be done about those who still want to see
our president fail?"

What can be done is we must be determined to keep fighting or what is
right -- health care, a new economic arrangement in this country that would
lead to jobs, infrastructure development. We must not get weary. We must
not get distracted. We must not got get tired. We must keep fighting.
They`re bent on failure. We must be bent on the success of the American
people and the American promise.

John writes, "How do people like me in a blue state influence the
people that are in a red state and a red state of mind?"

You know, I just saw Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood
here in the building. She is in Texas, a red state. What do you do? You
keep fighting. You stand up no matter where you are. And if you lay out
truth, people will recognize it. It may take a moment. It may be a few
and then a little more and a little more. But never stop and never lower
your guard, if you know you`re right.

Remember, friend or foe, I want to know. Keep them coming in.

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
BE UPDATED.
END

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