July 12, 2013
Guests: Joy Reid, Faith Jenkins, Ken Padowitz, Marcia Clark, Kyle
Hightower, Lisa Bloom
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": Thanks, Michael, and thanks to
you for tuning in. Tonight`s lead, verdict watch in the George Zimmerman
trial. The jury`s decision could come down at literally any moment. These
are live pictures from the Seminole County courthouse in Sanford, Florida,
where jurors have been shut away in the jury room, deliberating for about
three and a half hours now.
By this point, they probably selected their foreman and are reviewing the
evidence. After 12 days of testimony and 53 witnesses, these six women on
the jury must decide whether George Zimmerman is guilty in the shooting
death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. This morning, they heard Mr.
Zimmerman`s lawyer make closing arguments for the defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: You look at all this evidence,
and you have to say I have a reasonable doubt as to whether or not the
state convinced me. He didn`t act in self-defense. That`s all you have to
do. You don`t have to write innocent on the bottom of the verdict form. I
want you to really, really look at the instructions, apply them, and just
say he acted in self-defense, find him not guilty. Let him go back and get
back to his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: After that, the state had its final chance for a rebuttal.
Prosecutor John Guy made a passionate final plea to the jury.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GUY, PROSECUTOR: This isn`t a complicated case. It`s a common sense
case. And it`s not a case about self-defense. It`s a case about self-
denial. The defendant didn`t shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to. He
shot him because he wanted to. That`s the bottom line. What do we owe
Trayvon Martin? Sixteen years and 21 days, forever. He was a son, he was a
brother, he was a friend. And the last thing he did on this earth was try
to get home. Trayvon Martin may not have the defendant`s blood on his
hands, but George Zimmerman will forever have Trayvon Martin`s blood on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Trayvon Martin was killed February 26th, 2012, one year, four
months and 16 days later. A jury in a court of law is deciding whether
George Zimmerman should be criminally responsible for his death. Every
second it goes by brings us closer to that verdict.
With me now is my all-star legal panel, Joy Reid, managing editor of the
Grio.com, former prosecutor Faith Jenkins, defense Attorney Ken Padowitz,
and former prosecutor Marcia Clark. She is author of "Killer Ambition."
Thank you all for being here.
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Thank you.
JOY REID, EDITOR, GRIO.COM: Great to be here.
MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Thank you.
KEN PADOWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Marcia, how did the defense and prosecution do today in their
final arguments to the jury?
CLARK: Reverend, I thought they both did a really good job, very strong.
And, you know, it`s interesting the different styles that they have to
adopt. And wisely, so, you know, the defense approaches this from a very
calm, very reasoned, let`s all calm down now and think rationally, you
know, and try to step away from all the sympathy issues that are very much
in play for the prosecution.
And which John Guy I thought very effectively used to his benefit in
talking about the young man and boy even, you know, 17-years-old to me, I
have two sons, and they were once 17, and they were boys. And this man,
George Zimmerman in contrasting the two, very effectively I thought.
SHARPTON: Now, let me go to you for this, Ken. You had prosecutor John Guy
and the defense attorney Mark O`Mara. They both talked about the following
and how Zimmerman following Trayvon Martin, how that place into the jury`s
deliberation. Listen to their contrasting ways of dealing with this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`MARA: Every shred of law that applies to this case you will have before
you. What you won`t have is any law that suggests something like following
somebody is illegal because it`s not.
GUY: Right up until the time of his death, was that child not in fear when
he was running from that defendant? Isn`t that every child`s worst
nightmare? To be followed on the way home in the dark by a stranger? Isn`t
that every child`s worst fear that was Trayvon Martin`s last emotion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Ken, what was the more effective approach to you? You`ve tried
over 30 murder cases in Florida.
PADOWITZ: Well, the defense Attorney Mr. O`Mara did a very competent, good
job. And he focused on basically trying to eliminate this following. He
wants the jury to focus on the few seconds right before the shooting so he
can talk about his self-defense. So he effectively talked in a
conversational, professor-like way to that jury to get across that point.
You can`t really look at anything other than what happened right at the
time of the shooting. On the other hand, the prosecutor John Guy, he was
brilliant, just brilliant. This was a fantastic closing argument.
And the way he handled that is he said, don`t look at the last chapter,
look at all the chapters of the book, and all the chapters of the book,
right from the beginning include the following, the following of this kid
who was just there holding candy and walking home. And the following in the
dark. Every kid`s worst nightmare. That was just brilliant how he weaved
that into his closing argument, and very, very effective with this jury.
SHARPTON: I might note that the jury has sent in a note that they are
finished deliberating for the night and will return 9:00 a.m. tomorrow
morning to deliberate. Again, the jury has stopped deliberating tonight,
and are going back into their question. And they will pick up deliberations
9:00 a.m. tomorrow.
Joy Reid, let me go to you on what was just said about the following. Is it
important based on how the judge gave instructions, is it important to the
jury to note a whole story of the following going forward, or based on
under the instructions, do they only have to consider the moments around
REID: Well, Rev, I think that it`s important for the prosecution to take it
back to the following. And this is the reason why. What the -- and I`m not
an attorney. But under Florida law what the prosecution has to prove is
that George Zimmerman was the initial aggressor, that whatever happened in
the few minutes during the fight, it was George Zimmerman who instigated
the fight. And what they were trying to weave in the end, and I thought
John Guy also was very, very good. It was very emotionally affecting. And
it also brought up something I was very confused as to why the prosecution
didn`t say before. This was a kid who was being followed who was probably
And so the idea that someone is following you, is that in and of itself
aggression? Is the act of following someone, trailing them, chasing them,
and then finally catching up to them, did that present fear for Trayvon
Martin such that he had a right not only to defend himself, but that he was
in fear of his life. It takes away from the notion of George Zimmerman as a
victim, and for the prosecution it makes him the guy that was the
perpetrator, the guy following, stalking, following this kid, scaring him,
and the ultimately killing him.
SHARPTON: Faith, you are on the same point.
JENKINS: Well, first of all, John Guy, I agree with Ken and Joy about him.
Because in trials when you`re trying cases, your message, in order for you
to be in the message as a juror, you have to believe in the messenger. John
Guy was messenger today. He spoke on behalf of Trayvon Martin, he spoke on
behalf of his parents, he spoke on behalf of the state of Florida.
And he delivered a message not just about those few moments when he said,
we don`t really know what happened in that altercation between Trayvon and
George Zimmerman, but here is what we do know. And he painted that
narrative from beginning to end, which ended with Trayvon Martin being shot
and killed in his last emotion, his last thought was fear, because a man he
did not know was following him. And I thought that was a great point today.
SHARPTON: Now Marcia, let me ask you something that is going to be
critical. In Florida law, and in the law as you know it, you`ve been a
prosecutor, does the prosecutor have to remove any doubt of self-defense,
or does the prosecutor have to debunk that it was reasonable for him to
feel that it was self-defense, and the defense have to establish that it
was more than reasonable? Because I kind of heard in O`Mara`s closing that
as long as you have any doubt, is was self-defense, then you`ve got to
acquit George Zimmerman.
CLARK: Well, and not any doubt, but a reasonable doubt for sure. And yes,
it`s the prosecution`s burden to not only prove their case in terms of a
second-degree murder, but also disprove that George Zimmerman was
justified. They have to disprove that he had a reasonable belief in his own
eminent death or great bodily injury. And so it`s a burden for the
prosecution to shoulder, and that`s why it was so important for John Guy to
start with the very beginning of everything, as he did so effectively in
showing the mind-set of George Zimmerman.
The ill will, these punks always get away with it, you know, all of the
statements that he made to 911, showing that he is already targeting and
thinking of Trayvon Martin as a criminal with no basis at all. And then,
gets out of his car, and why does he get out of his car? That`s great.
Start right there. You don`t even need to get out of your car. If what you
want to do is tell the police somebody might be up to no good, you call the
police and wait in your car, there is no reason for him to get out at all.
And especially not the lame excuse he gave for looking at the street sign.
SHARPTON: Ken, what then is the defense story that the jury is going to be
able to go through in the evidence that established that at that moment,
that he had no choice other than to use self-defense, if that was
reasonable. Because we had a lot of witnesses talking about who was on top
or bottom. But what was the evidence that they presented to say oh, no, he
was in absolute fear of his life, and that was reasonable?
PADOWITZ: Well, what the defense wants the jury to believe is that at the
moment that he was in this fight with Trayvon Martin, that Martin was going
for his gun. And that the only way that he could protect his life and
protect himself was to grab the gun first and shoot Trayvon Martin. If you
believe that, then you believe his self-defense, and then there is an
acquittal. If you don`t believe that, if you don`t believe that Trayvon
Martin saw the gun, if you don`t believe that Trayvon Martin could get to
the gun, then that calls into question the entire self-defense argument
that they`re making to the jury. And keep this in mind. The prosecution,
once the defense raises self-defense, the prosecution has to prove under
Florida law that beyond a reasonable doubt, there was no self-defense.
So the burden shifts to the prosecution once self-defense is raised by the
defense. But -- no mistake about it. The law is like mud. This jury is
going to hear this law from this court and they`re going to be like every
jury. They`re going to have a hard time going through it because lawyers
can`t even agree what that gobbledygook means when the judge reads that law
to the jury.
SHARPTON: Now, Faith, having said, that and about seeing the gun or
grabbing for the gun, let me show you some of what John Guy laid out in
terms of the inconsistencies, and tell me whether that addresses some of
that from the prosecution`s standpoint.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUY: Sean Noffke told me to get an address. That didn`t happen. Listen to
the tapes. Listen to the walk-through. And listen to the non-emergency
call. Sean Noffke never said that. Why? Why lie about that? It`s so
important. That`s why. Because he wasn`t going back to the car. He was
going back to Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin covered his mouth and nose.
Really? You really think if that were true there wouldn`t be George
Zimmerman`s blood on these sticks that they pried under his fingernails?
Do you really think that`s true? That was a lie. There is only two people
on this earth who know what really happened, and one of them can`t testify.
And the other one lied. And not one lie, over and over and over again. What
does that tell you about what really happened out there?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Faith, is it enough to say that the self-defense claims by Mr.
Zimmerman were based on lies. Is that enough to debunk any doubt about his
JENKINS: If the jury wants -- in considering self-defense, in order for the
jury to believe George Zimmerman acted in self-defense, in order for this
jury to believe that he reasonably feared for his life, they have to trust
in what he said. They have to believe the statements that he made. That`s
why the state went after these statements, went after his own words.
They`re using his own words against him, because they`re telling this jury
you simply can`t trust him. You simply cannot believe him.
And if you don`t believe him about these facts, not knowing the name of the
street, not continuing to follow Trayvon, then you cannot believe him about
self-defense. We already know, he has admitted to shooting and killing
Trayvon. And if you don`t believe him about self-defense, then guess what,
jury? He is guilty of murder.
SHARPTON: Joy, when you look at the charges, second-degree murder, which
carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and manslaughter, which if
done with a firearm as a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, hearing
both the defense and the prosecution, what do you think is likely to be the
impression the jury goes in before we hear any of the evidence that they
sent for or tried to review?
REID: Well, you know, Rev, I think interestingly enough, the two things I
think the prosecution did firmly establish was number one that George
Zimmerman did follow Trayvon Martin, not withstanding his statements. And
number two, that he did act with spite. I think it`s hard not to interpret,
you know, f-ing punks and these animals always get away. I think that they
could clear that bar. So I`m not sure if that gets you to the level of
second-degree murder or not. That`s really up to the jury. But, you know, I
think that Faith makes a really important point.
The only person that establishes George Zimmerman`s self-defense claim is
George Zimmerman, because there were no other witnesses to the entire
fight. But the second thing that establishes George Zimmerman`s claim is
his wounds, the actual blood on the back of his head, the nose, the bloody
nose, and that sort of thing. So, you also saw John Guy, so they kind to
take that apart. He showed the same picture that Mark O`Mara has use very
effectively I have to say during the defense presentation, and he said look
at this guy. Do this guy look like somebody who had to fight for his life?
Look at his nose. Does that look like a life-threatening injury? Look at
And it also had a double effect of showing a fitter George Zimmerman, not
the sort of pudgy, soft guy you`re seeing sitting there, but someone who
looked a lot tougher. So I think that the prosecution needs to take down
not just his statements by saying he was false in other things, but they
also have to take down what really is the strongest defense evidence, and
that`s the bloody nose, the bloody head.
SHARPTON: I`m going to ask the panel to please stay with me. Much more to
talk about. Coming up, what arguments today did the jurors find most
compelling? We go live to the courthouse in Sanford, Florida. Stay with us.
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that keeps going long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: Right now George Zimmerman`s fate lies in the hands of six jurors
who have just finished deliberating for the day. They went into that jury
room today after hearing arguments that were very different in their
presentation, their style, and staging.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`MARA: Now we have our first very large graphic. This is what happens when
you get carried away with graphics. They get ten feet long. How many times
was it said that Trayvon Martin -- I`m going to show you what Mr. De la
Rionda mentioned. It`s an animation. It`s not evidence. To your section,
but first there is the shot, to the nose, we contend. Number one right
there is where the flashlight is found, George`s small flashlight is key.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: In the prosecution`s rebuttal, the state took a different
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUY: I don`t have any audio clips for you. Or video clips or charts or big,
long, ten-foot-long timelines. I don`t have all the fireworks. All the
animation. But come back with me. Come back with me to that scene where it
happened that night. Come back with me and bring with you your God-given
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Two different approaches. Both may have been effective, but how
did it play to the jury? The panel is back with me.
Faith, we saw animations and graphics from the defense, and more emotion
from the prosecution. What approach was more effective?
JENKINS: Well, the defense obviously doesn`t have the emotion on their side
in this case, and that`s why you saw O`Mara`s closing arguments really
lacked the drama throughout it. And he made a point of trying to paint
Trayvon as this very scary individual. He brought out the cardboard figure.
He showed the animation. And he was sending that inference, that message
there. Trayvon Martin was not only just scary to George Zimmerman, but
juries, he should be scary to you too.
And then John Guy came back in his rebuttal and said but this is who
Trayvon Martin really is, this 17-year-old. He just turned 17. He has
skittles. He had iced tea. He was being followed. He knew he was being
followed. And his last emotion was fear.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Ken. When you look at the fact that he did,
he being O`Mara, used the cardboard cutaway, let me show exactly how he
used that, and then how John Guy for the prosecution responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`MARA: You know how tall he is. Take a look at him compared to my eye
George, could you stand up a minute, please? Maybe in effect that because
the State Attorney`s office has decided to charge him, he has to have done
something wrong. Maybe that`s the impression that you have.
GUY: He was responsible for this state, not being able to ask Trayvon
Martin to step forward, so I could put my hand on his shoulder -- I`d love
to do that. Who is responsible for that? And Trayvon Martin is not, was
not, will never be a piece of cardboard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Tell us. What do you think, Ken, who was the most effective
PADOWITZ: Well, there was a treasure trove of that lawyer toys used by
O`Mara. And you know what? Normally, and in many cases demonstrative aids
are very, very effective. I mean, a good portion of the closing argument he
used photographs of each witness and said something about each witness. And
it was flashed on a screen before the jury. Very effective. The computer
animation, I did the first computer animation in the state of Florida. The
one he used not effective. Fell flat. Wasn`t a good use of animation. But
now in the response from the prosecutor, that was brilliant. He turned it
He had the last word, which that is what he had, and he basically took the
items, the toys, the legal, you know, items that are being used in front of
the jury, the demonstrative aids and turned it around and smacked down the
defense attorney with it. So I thought their last word really was the best
word. I think that was the most effective for the prosecutor to basically
push aside those demonstrative aids and minimize their effectiveness by how
he talked to the jury about them. I thought it was brilliant by the
SHARPTON: Marcia, your view of the two contrasting on those particular
items we showed.
CLARK: Well, you know, to me, it`s kind of a lesson to be learned, there is
such a thing as a bridge too far when it comes to the demonstrative
exhibits. A little bit is good. Can be very effective to punctuate the
important points. And then you tip overboard and you turn into Disneyland.
And, you know, I thought that the cartoon was actually -- sorry, the
animation probably more effective than I thought it was going to be because
he did play the 911 tapes in conjunction with them. And I thought that was
a good use of the tool. But it went too far.
And then when he stood up the cardboard cutout of Trayvon Martin in an
effort clearly to show that Trayvon Martin could look menacing, could look
imposing because he was taller than George Zimmerman, I think that that was
taking it a bridge too far. And as we saw, it backfired. Checkmate. The
prosecutor stood up and said that`s a cardboard cutout. Trayvon Martin was
a living young child, and don`t tell me that, you know, there is only one
reason he`s not here for me to put my hand on his shoulder and that`s
because of this guy over here. Great. Wonderful.
And it shows you how you can take all the animation and all that whoopy
whirly gigs and go a little bit too far. And so, giving John Guy the open
door that he walked through to smack them down and say this is about human
beings, not cardboard cutouts, and not cartoons. And he did it beautifully.
SHARPTON: Joy, both the prosecution and the defense talked about common
sense, the jurors using common sense. Let me show you this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`MARA: Be careful with the common sense because common sense is the way we
run our everyday lives, the way we make those snap decisions that we have
to make every day. If you start using those same processes that we`re used
to everyday or just look at things, make a decision and move on, that
subtly and unintentionally you`re going to minimize or diminish the
standard that has to be applied in this case.
GUY: Common sense is so important. This isn`t a complicated case. It`s a
common sense case. I`m asking you to use your common sense. Use your heart.
Use what you know is real. Use what you know you heard and the law in this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joy, you`ve been down there. You have one side saying your common
sense may not understand the complexities of this case, and may not be able
to deal with the standards that you need in the law. You have another one
saying this is a common sense case. What do you say, Joy?
REID: Yes. Rev, I have to tell you, I was a little confused by Mark O`Mara
using that tactic. I`m not sure I would have done that, because it
essentially concedes that the common sense answer to this case is that
George Zimmerman is guilty. But that you need to suspend that, you need to
ignore your common sense. And I think that Mark O`Mara did the same thing
with emotion. There is a risk that you condescend a little bit to the jury
when you say, well, maybe your common sense and the emotional part of you,
all you six female jurors wants to go this way, but you need to not do
that. Don`t think like that.
You need to think -- you need to use your reason and not your common sense,
use your reason and not your emotion. There is a risk that in doing that,
and I know across social media, there was a lot of people who are
responding to it that way, that it come across a little condescending,
where as with John Guy, it was the total opposite. He was saying embrace
your natural common sense. He even said come with me. It was like, he
almost like a pastor. He was almost giving a sermon.
He was saying, let`s just use common sense and use your emotions, sort of
embrace that part of you. So I think for female jurors, I would guess that
John Guy`s presentation was probably more effective, more impactful. And
we`ll see when you combine that with the evidence what that does in those
SHARPTON: Faith, the fact that the jurors have ended their deliberations
today, and they have made the requests for evidence, should we laymen read
anything into that? Is the length of time and the extent that they seem to
go through evidence, will that send a signal, or are we just trying to look
through the weeds for anything?
JENKINS: No. You shouldn`t read anything into this. I mean, they just got
the case today. There are only six jurors deliberating in this case. So I
don`t expect deliberations to take too long. But they just got the case
today. They just were charged on the law. And they`ve asked for the
evidence. So they`re really just getting started. And so I don`t think
there is anything to read into the fact that they stopped deliberations
today. They are going to start again at 9:00 in the morning.
I do believe that these jurors, like most jurors, they really do take their
jobs seriously, they understand the stakes of this case, that one person is
dead and the other person is on trial really for his life. And so they
understand that. And I think they`re going to take this seriously and
they`re going to be diligent in their deliberations.
SHARPTON: Ken Padowitz, thank you for your time this week. The rest of the
panel are staying with us. Still ahead, six jurors will decide the fate of
George Zimmerman. How did they react in the jury box today? We`ll go live
to the courthouse where they`re deliberating in Sanford, Florida.
SHARPTON: Six women jurors will decide if George Zimmerman committed a
crime the night he shot Trayvon Martin. We`ll go inside the courtroom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, FLORIDA 11TH CIRCUIT COURT: For two centuries, we have
lived by the constitution and the law. No juror has the right to violate
rules we all share. At this time, if all you have will please take your
notes with you and follow Deputy Jarvis back into the jury room.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That was 2:28 p.m. when Judge Nelson sent the jury on their way
to begin deliberations. They deliberated for three and a half hours and are
done for the night. The jury consists of six women, five of them are white,
one is black or Hispanic. Five are mothers, and they range in age from
their 30s to 60s. So how did they react to today`s closing argument and
Joining me now live outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida, is Kyle
Hightower, reporter for The Associated Press, who has been inside that
courtroom for every second of this trial. Kyle, what did the jury look like
when they got the case today?
KYLE HIGHTOWER, REPORTER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Reverend Al, I would say
anxious and maybe a little stoic as they left the courtroom this afternoon.
This is a group that whenever Judge Debra Nelson has asked them for breaks,
for water, to stretch out a little bit, they`ve always denied her. But
today, they took her up on an offer right before lunch to take a break
before she gave them their official jury instructions. Then they seemed
very stoic and very anxious as they left the courtroom today.
SHARPTON: Now you reported one juror had a strong reaction at one point
today when prosecutor John Guy said this. Let me play to it you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUY: Don`t misunderstand me. Your verdict is not going to bring Trayvon
Benjamin Martin back to life. Your verdict is not going to change the past,
but it will forever define it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Kyle, what did you see at that point?
HIGHTOWER: Well, obviously, Reverend Al, it was a line. It was obviously
designed to elicit emotion. And juror B-29, the juror from Chicago,
originally from Chicago, with eight children, only one child of the age of
18, she wiped away a tear. I mean, it was very noticeable. She reached up,
she wiped the corner of her eye and in the bottom of her eye twice to wipe
away a tear. So, it definitely elicited emotion that I think John Guy was
trying to go for.
SHARPTON: All right, Kyle Hightower, thank you so much for your time.
So what are the jurors discussing now, and when can we expect a verdict?
Lisa Bloom joins the panel. And Lisa, the jury is done deliberating for the
night. And earlier they asked for an evidence list. What do you make of
that, and what do you make of this juror with the tear?
LISA BLOOM, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, she was obviously moved. And this is
a very intense case there is no question about it. You know, we talk a lot
about the fact these jurors are mothers, and that`s true. They`re also
professionals, a number of them. And let`s include their brains as well as
their uteruses when we`re talking about them. One of them for example ran a
call center supervise 1,200 people. And other one, ran a construction
company. Two of them work in the medical industry. So I would like to talk
about them as full human beings and not just as mothers.
This jury deliberated as you said for three and a half hours today. And
they`re not done. It`s a little bit of a slam I think to Mark O`Mara, if I
may say so, because he seemed too confident in his closing argument that
there was going to be a quick verdict. I think he was even implying to them
that they should write innocent at the bottom of the form. Well, he didn`t
get that today. I don`t think he is going to get that at all. He might get
a not guilty, but he is not going get them to write innocent at the bottom
of the jury form.
SHARPTON: Marcia, this jury has been sequestered for more than 18 days. You
know about sequestered juries. How does that impact what goes on?
CLARK: I do think it makes them move more quickly. I mean, obviously, they
all want to get home. There`s no question about that. And they have been
pushing really hard through this trial. There is a bit of a stutter step as
we`ve just heard from your live reporter, the AP reporter, now that they
know the case is coming into their hands and they`re going have to actually
deal with it. And I can imagine them kind of doing a little bit of a gulp.
Because it`s bound to happen. They`re going to come in and hear different
opinions. People who think they`re friendly and get along very well are
going to be surprised by what they hear from the people they thought they
knew after living together for 18 days.
Nevertheless, with the pressure of knowing that they cannot leave this
hotel, these confines until they finish, I think they will push through to
finish. I`m not surprised they didn`t come back today, not at all. There is
enough here to think about. It is a simple case and there are not hundreds
of witnesses. And that is true, but nevertheless they are very sharply
defined opposing points of view here that can be brought to bear in the
jury room. I would expect though to see a verdict by tomorrow night.
SHARPTON: Joy, let me go to you. One of those witnesses, Marcia said it
wasn`t a lot. But one was Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin. And
Mark O`Mara brought her up in his closing argument. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`MARA: Miss Fulton, people asked why, you even question for, how dare you
question the mom of a passed away 17-year-old. Doctors cut people sometimes
when they do their work, and that was something that I had to present to
you to something about the way it happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How important and effective was Sybrina Fulton`s testimony that
O`Mara even clarified why he did what he did?
REID: Well, you know, Rev, I think any time the mother of the victim
testifies, it`s obviously impactful. It obviously affects the jury and it`s
obviously effective. Because she said, what you would expect her to say was
that she heard her son crying out on that 911 call. And I think she was a
very, very good witness for the prosecution. You know, but Mark O`Mara has
a job here, which is to sort of try to get the juries to skip back from the
natural sympathy and emotion that you would feel when you`re talking about
a dead teenager. He`s got to get them to put that aside.
And so, I think anything that he can do to mitigate what jurors might feel
was I don`t know, a tough questioning of her, I don`t think it was tough
questioning of her. But to say, listen, I understand you`re sympathetic to
this mom, but that`s not your job. His presentation was very, I would say,
professorial, it was very methodical, it was not the emotional
presentation, because it is his job to drain the emotion out of the case,
to walk people back from their emotional instant response and to get them
to just look at whether or not the prosecution proved its case beyond a
SHARPTON: Now, let me go to you, Faith. When you heard read backs, when you
review testimony, obviously emotions and personalities of witnesses and all
are gone. In this particular case, as a lawyer, who do you think that will
be -- who would that help the most in terms of just reviewing solid
evidence and testimony without emotional as we go through all the
JENKINS: Well, I think it depends on what read back the jurors asked for. I
mean, if they are considering all of their prosecutors` witnesses and what
they said, they may ask for more read back to get clarification on that.
But these jurors, some of them have taken notes. Some of them have not.
It`s their recollection that will rule. And so they may ask -- this trial
has been three weeks. So they may just want to remember specifically there
may be some internal debating going on about what a witness said. And about
So they may just want to recall what that witness said and ask for read
back based on that. So you can`t really read a lot into that. Because like
I said, some witnesses have taken a lot of notes. But the jurors may not
want to rely on someone else`s notes. They may just want the information
from the court reporter herself.
SHARPTON: All right. Panel, please stay with me. We have a lot more to
The right to self-defense. But whose self-defense? The answer to that
question is key to this case.
SHARPTON: It`s the key question for this jury, what about Trayvon Martin`s
right to self-defense? That`s next.
SHARPTON: When the jury comes back tomorrow morning, they`ll be wrestling
with one central question. Did George Zimmerman kill Trayvon Martin in
self-defense? That claim is at the heart of Mr. Zimmerman`s case, but today
the prosecution again raised another question, something lots of people
have been e-mailing me about. Didn`t Trayvon Martin also have a right to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUY: That child had every right to be afraid of a strange man following
him, first in his car, and then on foot. And did that child not have the
right to defend himself from that strange man? Did Trayvon Martin not also
have that right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Faith, why did the prosecution think this was so important for
the jury to think about?
JENKINS: Because they`re focusing on who was the initial aggressor here.
They`re not trying to tell this jury exactly what happened when George
Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin met. They`re trying to show this jury, George
Zimmerman was the initial aggressor from the very beginning. In fact, it
started months before he ever saw Trayvon Martin with his mind-set, with
these people always getting away, referring to all the young black males
that he previously called the police about.
So the prosecutor wants to focus on who the initial aggressor was, and
based upon George Zimmerman being the initial aggressor, so what he got
punched? So what he has these injuries? Trayvon Martin had every right to
defend himself. George Zimmerman was the one following him.
BLOOM: You know, Reverend Al, Faith is right. The problem is the
prosecution didn`t argue that. They fought so hard to get into evidence
those prior events where George Zimmerman called about African-American
males in the community. One hundred percent of the calls he made about
suspicious people in the community were about African-American males. They
got it in, and then they didn`t argument it in closing argument. And so,
what the jury heard was the defense version of well, it`s very reasonable
that he was suspicious because it was raining and he was walking around.
And the prosecution didn`t say -- I didn`t frankly in my opinion have the
guts to say that`s not what this was about.
I mean really, we can look at autopsy photos. We can look at the deceased
remains of a 17-year-old, and we don`t have the guts to talk about race?
And I think that`s what is really underlying this case, the failure of the
prosecution, among other things to talk about race and say of course he was
profiled because he is African-American. We have the statistics.
SHARPTON: But Marcia, didn`t he argue that he was profiled, Marcia, and the
fact that they didn`t bring in race and have the defense say that there is
no evidence of race here, and let me bring in three of his black friends.
The profile statement they made, the fact that they used over and over
about him calling people a-holes, doesn`t that really give the jury the
picture that he had some hardened feelings without giving a lay-up shot to
CLARK: I totally think so. Yes, I have to say I really agree. And here is
the thing. They got those calls in. The calls were there, and they were
pretty good evidence of a mind-set that predated him ever seeing Trayvon
Martin. And that was a good thing to do. You have to walk the line of the
race card very, very carefully, and you don`t want to overplay this,
because you can really turn a jury off. You have to be careful what you`re
doing here. And I thought the prosecution did. They said number one thing
that he was profiled. They did say that.
And everybody knows what they`re talking about. The jury understands what
that means. They`re not stupid. And then on top of, you have -- don`t
forget, you don`t want to alienate your jury by leaning too heavily on it,
so they didn`t. But they put it out there for sure. And having had the
calls, look, you never remember to say everything in closing argument. I`ve
never seen a prosecutor or a defense attorney remember every single point.
They don`t have to. You don`t have to.
BLOOM: What the prosecutor actually said -- this is not about race.
CLARK: They said everything they needed to say. They certainly made all of
the strongest points. Lisa, they heard those calls. They`re not forgetting
it. This is not a year-long trial. It`s only a three-week trial. They
BLOOM: They don`t this jury -- they don`t want this jury --
SHARPTON: But Joy, let me bring Joy in. Joy, you and I and others may have
our feelings. The question is what you want to put in front of a jury and
make sure that it is something you can back up. Do you think that the
defense was prepared to try if they had played race? And clearly in my
opinion, when you bring up profiling, everyone knows what you mean. Don`t
you think they had some scenario set to bring in black friends of Zimmerman
to answer that?
REID: Well, probably. So but I think also more importantly that Mark
O`Mara, if they could have gotten it in, was also prepared to bring in text
messages, pictures from Trayvon Martin`s cell phone, other things that if
you combined them with that grainy 7-Eleven photo, the photo of Trayvon
with the shirt off and the gold takeaway grill in his mouth, all of that
was painting the picture of a scary black man. And recall, the defense are
the one that put on the stand a woman who had her home broken into. They
were the ones who said who was breaking into homes?
REID: These young black men. So race was brought into the trial. It`s just
that -- I mean, listen to John Guy`s accent. This is a southern man. He
understands he is trying a case in the south. People sometimes forget
Florida is still the south. And that there are attitudes about race that
pre-exist that could also exist in the jury. I think they might have been
afraid to bring it up in fear of alienating the jury, but there is no doubt
that racial profiling is what this case is about. I think everyone
understands it. But I think the prosecution might have been afraid to say
JENKINS: Can I add something to that? Because they were subtle in bringing
it up, and I think they were right to do that in this circumstance. Because
they don`t want this jury to feel pressure that they have to make a race-
based statement with their verdict.
REID: Exactly. Right.
JENKINS: They want this jury to make a humanity-based statement and that`s
what John Guy was doing today.
SHARPTON: I got to stop it there. Thank you to the panel, and thank you for
your great analysis. We`ll be right back with my final thoughts on this
trial. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: This case is in the hands of the jury. Six women who heard from
more than 50 witnesses. They will begin deliberations again at 9:00 a.m.
Eastern Time tomorrow morning. I`m in Birmingham, Alabama, headed home
around that time. I will be thinking about a 17-year-old kid that I know.
What protects him if he feels he is being followed by someone not in law
enforcement? I will also be thinking about those that are feeling
threatened and feel that someone is doing something wrong. What protects
them against unforeseen criminality, even if it`s in their own head?
That`s what this trial is about. And how the law protects both of them and
not violate either one of them. If one of them were violated, the other one
is the one that should come out of this trial with the jury saying the
other one was the one whose rights we must protect. This is what this is
all about. That`s where your opinion and my opinion must be based on.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. Have a good weekend. See you back
here on Monday.
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