Nightly News   |  July 13, 2013

Coffey: ‘Manslaughter is easier to prove’

NBC News legal analyst and veteran criminal defense attorney Kendall Coffey joins Lester Holt with more on the Zimmerman trial.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> i want to bring in our legal analyst kendall coffee. you heard the jury is asking for clarification on manslaughter. what's the difference, what's the significance of this?

>> both crimes are subject to self-defense, so the prosecution doesn't avoid that issue. but manslaughter is easier to prove and it doesn't require even an actual intent to cause the death of trayvon martin and i doesn't require the kind of hatred or spite that a second-degree murder charge would require. on the other hand, if manslaughter is returned as a conviction the consequences are very serious, up to a 30 year maximum prison time.

>> trial watchers couldn't help speculate. is there anything we can read into it that they are asking to hear more about manslaughter.

>> we never know what the jury is thinking but it suggests the jury is giving real consideration to a charge of manslaughter. given everything that's happened, it's a positive to prosecution. rather than a quick verdict of acquittal. the jury is thinking about manslaughter.

>> thanks for being with us tonight. now texas where there was high drama late into the night but in the