Nightly News   |  April 11, 2012

Facts ‘ambiguous’ in Trayvon Martin shooting

If the defense can successfully argue that George Zimmerman was acting in self-defense, a judge could dismiss the case. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reports.

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>> with us in the studio, savannah guthrie . you're the lawyer here, not me, but as i said it, other than premeditated murder in the first degree, this is the toughest possible charge. you said a few minutes ago, also tough to prove.

>>> one person, trayvon martin, no longer with us. it's george zimmerman's account against some of the witnesses, but as far as we know, some of the witnesses' accounts are conflicting. and where there is ambiguity, in fact, our legal system sets it up so the benefit of the doubt goes to the accused. add to that, you have florida's stand your ground self defense laws, and actually, this defendant will have an opportunity to go before a judge before there's even a trial and argue that he was acting in self defense . if he can prove it by a preponderance of the evidence , a lower standard, a judge could dismiss the case.

>> how are you feeling tonight if you're say the former police chief of sanford, florida. this guy was walking around as late as perhaps lunch time this afternoon?

>> it's an embarrassment for the police force because they said, essentially, we can't arrest. george zimmerman said it's self defense and that's the end of the story. now we have seen this special prosecutor saying these cases are hard, but we fight them every single day and we're going to get juss for trayvon martin. it's a bit of a black eye for the department. also in terms of what was lost in the early hours, evidence that might have been lost may have the prosecutor at a disadvantage as she tries to bring the charges.