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PoliticsNation, Friday, April 6, 2012

Read the transcript from the Friday show

Guests: Chris Hayes; Steve Kornacki; Melissa Harris-Perry, Erin McPike, Kendall Coffey, Ken Padowitz, Walter Zalisko, Toure

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m
Al Sharpton.

We have a lot to cover tonight including a bizarre new defense from
George Zimmerman`s lawyer in the Trayvon Martin case. Believe it or not,
he is talking about shaken baby syndrome. We`ll see what that reveals
about their defense.

But we start with tonight`s lead. This is the real year of the woman.
Today at the White House, President Obama held a forum on women and the
economy, courting women voters with policy, politics, and personal stories.


single mom that struggled to put herself through school and make ends meet.
We had to rely on food stamps at one point to get us by. But she earned
her education, made it through with scholarships and hard work.

Right now women are a growing number of bread winners in the
household. But they`re still earning just 77 cents for every dollar a man
does which is why the first bill that I signed into law was the fair pay

Later this year, women will receive new access to recommended
preventive care like domestic violence screening and contraception at no
additional cost.

Fewer than 20 percent of the seats in Congress are occupied by women.
Is it possible that Congress would get more done if there were more women
in congress?


SHARPTON: In this case, the president knows that good policy is also
good politics. Women are the key to his re-election. The president didn`t
have to weigh in on the controversy over the all male policy at the Augusta
national golf club, but he did, letting folks know that he thinks women
should be admitted to the exclusive private club. And he didn`t have to
call a woman at the center of birth control controversy, Sandra Fluke, but
he want today let her and millions of other women know that she had his
support. The president`s strategy is paying off in polls. He surged 14
points ahead of Mitt Romney among independent women.

Joining me now is Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC`s Melissa
Harris-Perry and Chris Hayes, host of "up with Chris Hayes" here on MSNBC.

Thank you both, for joining me tonight.

Melissa, the president is making a strong push on key women`s issues,
good policy and politics, right?

certainly is true that he has got sot of an expansive record that he can
run on here. He can talk about his first legislation that he signed into
law, the equal pay act, and then of course he had two opportunities to put
people on the Supreme Court and in both cases chose a woman, including the
first woman of color.


HARRIS-PERRY: So, you got - you know, he has an actual record. That
said, because there was enough anxiety between the president on the
affordable healthcare act, the choices to be made, and the reproductive
rights advocates, it`s as much about the fact that Republicans have played
this so poorly, the Republicans are doing such a bad job at this, that
President Obama ends up looking so fantastic.

SHARPTON: See. There we are, Chris. You have the president who has
a solid positive case to make to women, but I think what is really causing
this huge gap with women voters is particularly women, independent voters,
has been that the Republicans have been doing just as poorly on women
issues as the president has been positive.

Like for example, Romney says when they raised the contraception
issue, he says well, he thinks it will pass when people find out his real
position. Listen to this.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Somehow the Republicans are
opposed to contraception. I think it was a most unfortunate twist by our
democratic friends. I think this will pass as an issue when people
understand our real position. I made it very clear, I do not oppose


SHARPTON: Now, Chris, he doesn`t oppose contraceptives, but he
supports personhood which would define life and conception potentially
outlawing a hormonal birth control. He supports the Blunt amendment which
allows employers to deny coverage of birth control and he wants to defund
Planned Parenthood which would make it harder for many low income women to
get birth control. So --

saying he opposes the provision of law that was put in under Richard Nixon
that provides family planning and contraception services to low income
women, right?

So, he - that`s an actual policy position that Mitt Romney has taken
on an existing federal law in which he is against. Now, he may say I`m not
against contraception as a general matter, I don`t think --

SHARPTON: I will just going to make it extremely difficult to you to
get it.

HAYES: Exactly.

But -- and the fact of the matter is, you know, it`s a question of,
when you`re dealing with the Republican Party, you`re empowering the
Republican Party. You`re empowering the Republican Party in a capacity
greater than just the figure-head of Mitt Romney, right?

And the Republican Party has a whole bunch of components of the
coalition and structural incentives in terms of who can be mobilized, who
raises money, what ideological lines they can and cannot cross, and what
their policy objectives will be that are going to lead them to do this.

Look at what the house did. The house in 2010, all of those tea party
folks did not run on contraception. They did not run on social issues.

SHARPTON: They ran on jobs.

HAYES: And the first thing they did when they got in was pick a fight
over Planned Parenthood.

SHARPTON: Well, Melissa. Even an Alaska senator Murkowski criticized
her own party for these issues on women`s health, listen to this.


SEN. LAURA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: After decades of believing that the
issue of contraception and women`s access to contraception, that we had
resolved that decades ago, now all of a sudden, this is not only discussion
in congress, but you have presidential want to be talking about if it`s
good, bad, indifferent or wrong. If you don`t view it has an attack on
women, you need to go home and talk to your wives. You need to talk to
your daughters.


SHARPTON: And Murkowski is a Republican.

HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely. And look. Part of what I thought was
genius about the White House today, is they had their women`s day and their
women`s summit. They actually talked relatively little about
contraception. They should talked about issues that women have thought of
as women`s issues like the economy, like jobs, and all of these things that
the tea party was initially running on in the sense that the fundamental
concerns of any citizen, particularly citizens who are still facing despite
of good job numbers serious economic crisis.

But that said women know that that for us, for our educational
opportunities, for our income opportunities, for our opportunities to buy
homes and accrue wealth, all of that begins with the capacity to control
your fertility. If you cannot space your children, if you can`t make a
decision about when to have kids, then none of the rest of the economic
indicators will matter because you will have the inability to control your
own fertility.

SHARPTON: Now Chris, if you look at the politics of it for a minute,
more women vote in elections than men do. That`s the start would just the
numbers. 2007, 7.8 million more women voted. In 2004, 8.8 million more
women voters, in 2008, 9.7 million more. Obama in 2008 got 56 percent of
women vote, McCain only got 43 percent. Cherry got 51 percent of women,
Bush got 48. So when you have a closer margin between the candidates with
women you could lose.

HAYES: Yes, fist of all, women elect Democrats at the national level,
potential election, they tend to vote for Democrats. The question is what
margin Democrats win them by. As an aside, you know, white men basically
just elect Republicans, and anything that isn`t a Republican result comes
from all the other parts of the population.

SHARPTON: As the only white man --

HAYES: That`s right. My sincere apology.

SHARPTON: Well, at least they can`t say you`re biased. Melissa and I
will be attacking and saying.

HAYES: But that`s in a not story that it checks out. So, you know,
the two key constituencies in terms of what margin is going to be are
Latinos and women in the upcoming presidential election. And if the
margins are like the margins that John McCain faced, well then, obviously,
clearly, you have to make it up somewhere else which is very hard to do or
you will lose.

Right now Mitt Romney will lose if he is polling 13 or 14 points down
among women. That`s the margin McCain got. I think it`s very funny to see
the politics play out in which the - I think the Democrats have very deftly
sort of used the issue. Absolutely, in a lot of politics, war on women,
Carol Maloney sort of the theatrical wear the woman with the microphone.

But for the Republicans to whine about this is hilarious. I mean, you
picked a bunch of policy fights, that you got your butts lift on and now
you`re getting your butt in the politics and now you are complaining they
are playing politics?

SHARPTON: And the politics weren`t even really on the table. They
put them on the table.

HAYES: Right.

SHARPTON: But, Melissa, anything you can think of as a woman and a
strong person on women`s issues, is there anything you think Willard can do
to repair some of the damage with women, with voters.

HARRIS-PERRY: You see him trying to actively trying to do it, and
that is they are going to put his wife. So, I think it actually pretty
compelling voice. They are going to put her up front to kind of re-
introduce Willard Mitt Romney to the American people. He is going to be
Ann Romney coming for now. He has got to stop saying, Ann tells me what
ladies want.

I mean, he doesn`t have to be serious about how they do it. But she
is going to come in and she is going to re- introduce herself as a breast
cancer survivor. She is going to talk about raising children with him, and
it will be about putting a woman`s voice. And, my bet, is the there will
be a Republican woman vice presidential candidate. My money is still on
the governor of Mexico.

SHARPTON: OK. Melissa Harris-Perry, Chris Hayes. Thanks to both of

And you can catch both of my excellent guests here again this weekend.

First up from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 is "Up with Chris Hayes," and be sure to
stick around for Melissa Harris-Perry 10:00 a.m. until noon, both tomorrow
and Sunday, the way to spend Easter.

HARRIS-PERRY: All right. Up with Chris, down with Melissa.

SHARPTON: All right. I like it.

A quick note, Attorney general Eric Holder was also at today`s White
House forum on women and the economy. I`m happy to announce he will be
joining us next week on the national action network`s annual convention in
Washington D.C. where he will give one of our main addresses when we
standard in Washington this Wednesday. We`re honored and exciting to have
him. And finally, "Morning Joe," Joe Scarborough and (INAUDIBLE) were also
today`s forum where Mika moderated one of the event, the president could
help the weigh on the dynamic duo. Take a look.


OBAMA: I thank Mika for helping moderate today and proving that on
your show every morning that women really are the better half. Joe is not
denying it.


SHARPTON: As a regular on "Morning Joe," I`m not going to pick sides
on this one, but you can catch me on "Morning Joe" this coming Monday.

Still ahead, the strange new defense coming from George Zimmerman`s
legal team. Can a 28-year-old man really invoke shaken baby syndrome?

Plus new questions about how Mitt Romney is keeping us in the dark
about his many, many, many millions of dollars.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Willard is trying real hard to keep us in the dark about
what he does with all his money, what is he hiding? That`s next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."

Mitt Romney is facing new questions about his vast personal wealth,
questions that go straight to the heart of his candidacy. The "Washington
Post" reports Romney is exploiting a loop hole in Federal ethics laws to
avoid revealing the nature of his investments. One Republican source tells
the post, quote, "his approach turns the whole purpose of the ethics
statute on its ear."

Remember, we`re talking about an enormous fortune here. Romney`s
total wealth is valued up to $250 million. But we have almost no idea
about exactly what he owns, what companies he supports, or what conflicts
of interest there might be.

And President Obama`s campaign is not about to let that slide. The
president wrote on his twitter account quote, "what`s Romney hiding?"
Tweet admits Romney to demand, he release tax returns.

But we do know a few things about Romney`s riches. For instance, we
know he owns this $12 million beach home in California. We know he is
planning a massive expansion including separate elevators for four
different cars. Yes, elevator for cars. And we know he has a knack for
letting us know he is a proud member of the one percent.


ROMNEY: I drive a mustang and a Chevy pickup truck, Ann drives a
couple of Cadillacs.

Rick, I`ll tell you what? $10,000? A $10,000 bet?

I like to be able to fire people that provide services to me.

Corporations are people my friend.

I`m not concerned about the very poor.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Steve Kornacki, a political analyst for and Erin McPike, reporter for the "Real Clear Politics."

Let me start to you, Steve. Months ago, you predicted this issue
could haunt Romney in the general election, why is he handling these
questions so poorly?

STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: Well, part of it is, you know, maybe that
sort of who he is. This is the guy who almost can`t help himself but
playing to type and it`s a type that could be potentially, you know,
significantly damaging to the Republicans this year. I mean, you were
talking in the last segment about how sort of the two key constituencies is
women and Latinos, now you got certainly true but I got the third one and
that sort of white-blue color voters.

Obama actually held his own within. In 2008, he did well for how
Democrats usually do among them. They swung hard to the Republicans in
2010, and they`re a big reason Republicans had such a year in 2010. You
have a guy like Romney, though, that can`t help but remind people that he
sort of comes from this elite privileged world that threatens something
that Republicans have historically and traditionally been good at and that
is marrying an agenda that`s favorable to that elite privilege world with
rhetoric, with personalities, with style that sort of more fits with the 99
percent. Romney hasn`t do that.

SHARPTON: The appeal of the blue color worker head, or the blue color
voter had, and then was they ran on jobs. They of course changed it once
they got tea party members in congress, but they appealed to what blue
color voter was concerned about.

But Erin, you covered Romney. You traveled around, and you know the
back and forward when this came up before. Particularly, he hides behind
his blind trust defense. But in the past he has attacked politicians for
doing that. Take a look.


ROMNEY: First of all, my investments are not made by me. My
investments for the last ten years have been in the blind trust managed by
a trustee.

The blind trust is an age old rouse, if you will, which is to say, you
can always tell the blind trust what it can and cannot do, you give a blind
trust rules.


SHARPTON: So, 94th call it a rule saying that you could tell it what
you can and cannot do. And when 2012, when his blind trustees questioned,
he knows nothing.

bigger problem for Mitt Romney. The fact that right now, he is accusing
Barack Obama of running a hide and sick campaign and not telling voter
where he stands, although, he is the president and he is talking to the
public frequently.

The problem for Mitt Romney in doing is that he, himself, is trying to
keep these things secret. And it undermines the kind of campaign he`s
trying to run against the president. And that I think is the bigger
problem. Everyone knows that Mitt Romney is wealthy. If he got some of
this out now, it would be perhaps a slightly less problematic thing for him
in a general election. But he`s just being so secretive about it, it just
raises questions.

SHARPTON: Now, let me come back to you, Steve. Because I think she
hit something there. But I also think it`s a problem when you see that he,
himself, personifies this inequality that has been raised by many of us for
awhile. When you look at the tax rate that Willard Romney pays, based on
what we have seen of his releases, and the average secretary, Mitt Romney
pays a 13.9 percent rate, while the average secretary pays 29.9 percent

So, even -- it`s not about begrudging his wealth, it`s the imbalance
in terms of how fair we deal with how people are touched and how people are
handling it in this country.

KORNACKI: Right. And it`s the fact that the issues are on the agenda
this year. And they are on the agenda in a way that they haven`t been in
past presidential campaign. We`re talking about income inequality now.


KORNACKI: We`re talking about, you know, the tax loopholes that allow
people who is with lots of investment income to pay, you know, a very low
rate. And a part of that I think has to do with the occupy Wall Street
movement. It really injected these issues into the public dialogue and it
comes at a time when the Republican Party looks like it is going to
nominate somebody again. Republican Party and the Democratic Party have
nominated rich candidates before. They - both parties frequently nominate
rich candidates, but this is a guy who sort of uniquely personifies the top
one percent just at the moment when Republicans don`t want people talking
about how their policies favor the top one percent.

SHARPTON: Now Erin, another peculiar attack from Romney this week.
He attacked the president again this week for having attended Harvard law
school. He has been attacking for months, look at this.


ROMNEY: I didn`t learn about the economy just reading about it or
hearing about it in the faculty lounge at Harvard.

We spent too much time in Harvard.

All of those years perhaps in the Harvard faculty lounge.

That may be what they think at the Harvard faculty lounge.


SHARPTON: But, Erin, Romney went to Harvard himself and he talked
about how great the education he got there. Look at this.


ROMNEY: Harvard has a terrific program called the joint degree
program, where you can apply to the business school and the law school. If
you go to both, you can take five years of educational training in four
years, it was a lot of schooling.


SHARPTON: So, I mean. Is it for Harvard or opposed to Harvard?

MCPIKE: Well, Al, it goes back to the same thing we were talking
about just a few minutes ago. I mean, Romney can`t cast the stones when
he`s in the same boat. And so, Romney went to Harvard for four years
whereas Obama went to Harvard for three years. And so, he actually spent
more time on that campus than Obama did. So, you know, he just can`t be
making some of these remarks because it comes back to haunt him.

SHARPTON: Well, maybe, Erin, you`re right. That, you know, that is
an old adage, Steve, if you live in a glass house, don`t throw stones. But
if you got a house that has elevator for your cars, maybe you`re not
worried about your house getting stoned too easily.

KORNACKI: Maybe, it is shadow proof glass.


Steve Kornacki and Erin McPike, thank you both for coming on tonight.
Have a good Easter weekend.

Still ahead, we will see what lawyers think of the new shaken baby
defense being raised by George Zimmerman`s attorney. Is this really what
they`ll use if Zimmerman goes to trial in the Trayvon Martin case?


SHARPTON: We`re back with some new spin from the right. Defending
the voter id laws designed to suppress voter turnout. Just listen to Texas
Attorney general Greg Abbott talking about the vote id law in his state.


GREG ABBOTT, TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: I do believe that both the
safeguards and structure put in place by Texas will ensure that it achieves
the same that was achieved in Georgia and Indiana. And that is after these
laws were implemented, you actually saw an increase in voter participation
as opposed to a decrease.


SHARPTON: So voter id laws which make it harder for people to vote
will actually increase turnout. His argument sounded crazy so we had to
look at it. Abbott is right when he said voter turnout went up in Georgia
and Indiana in 2008 after those states imposed voter id laws.

But, that year turn out also increased in 16 other states, primarily
because a guy named Barack Obama was on the ballot, and people were excited
about voting. It had nothing to do with voter id.

In fact, there is strong evidence that the voter id laws may turn out
lower than it should have been. Georgia had a voter id law, and African-
American turnout increased there by just about 17 percent. North Carolina
did not have a voter id law, and African-American turnout went up there by
40 percent. Voter id made the difference. Now that makes sense. Do
conservatives really think their phony arguments can sell their oppressive
laws to the American public? Nice try, but we got you.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. It`s been 40 days since
Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida. While pressure
mounts for the police to arrest shooter George Zimmerman, his defense team
is already giving us a look at their defense strategy, and you won`t
believe it.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We`re familiar with the shaken baby syndrome, the
shaken baby, the brain shakes around inside the skull, you can die. When
someone is pounding your head on the ground, and you`ve already head your
nose is broken, you can be in reasonable fear for great bodily harm which
is what the Florida statue called for.


SHARPTON: Shaken baby syndrome? Zimmerman is a 28-year-old man, he`s
no baby. And while shaken baby syndrome is serious, sometimes a fatal
condition. The police report said, Zimmerman was treated for his injuries
by paramedics in the back of a police car and was not taken to at the
hospital. And that he complied with all verbal commands from the police.
And here is Zimmerman walking through the police station less than a half
an hour after he killed Trayvon. Does this look like someone with shaken
baby syndrome?

Joining me now from Miami is Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. attorney,
now criminal defense lawyer and Ken Padowitz, former homicide prosecutor
from Florida. Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Kendall, let me start with you. Can you believe the claim
of shaken baby syndrome as a defense for a 28-year-old man?

man with a gun to a shaken baby is ridiculous. It`s already back-firing
the court of public opinion. I got to think they`re going to abandon that
well before this gets to a court of law. Assuming it doesn`t. It`s not
the first time they have gone too far with these kinds of exaggerations.
Supposedly Zimmerman was being beaten to appalled. What do you see in the
video? It doesn`t look like any fault doesn`t even look like much of a
beating. And were self defense is raised. Credibility is everything and
making these kinds of incredible stretches as claims doesn`t help George

SHARPTON: Now, Ken, we checked the National Institute of Health to
define shaken baby syndrome as quote, "Injuries usually occur in children
younger than two years old which occur because children`s brains are
softer, their neck muscles and ligaments are weak, and their heads are
large and heavy in proportion of their bodies." But I mean, throwing these
things out there as Kendall just said, one minute he was beaten to
appalled, he an inch from his life, now shaken baby syndrome, the more
they`d throw this out, they even start weaken in the confidence of some of
those that maybe support them. I mean, how much theories can you throw out
there about one incident on what happened to your client?

PADOWITZ: Exactly. I cannot play the role of doctor in my day job,
but I can tell you as a former homicide prosecutor, and Adjunct law
professor that taught scientific evidence, there is a reason why the world
baby is in the term shaken baby syndrome. If there are weaker neck muscles
in an infants head that touch to a head, and the head is larger in
proportion to their body than an adults head to their body, there is a
higher water content in the brain of a baby. So if they plan on using this
defense and selling this to a jury, well, I tell you what, I got some land
to sell you in the everglades because that is just not going to work with
anyone with common sense.

SHARPTON: Now, when you go back to his brother, Kendall, and George
Zimmerman`s brother said, the interview last week that his brother was on
the verge of wearing diapers for the rest of his life at this fight with
Trayvon, but that doesn`t seem to match with the video. It doesn`t match
when you have a second ambulance headed to the scene to take Zimmerman, and
they said it wasn`t needed. I mean, it seems to me they`re just pulling
anything out of the air throwing it out to the public.

COFFEY: They are, and it looks desperate. And frankly, the whole
attempt to defend him in the court of public opinion has been
underwhelming. Everything ranging from -- remember Joe Oliver, the friend
defending George Zimmerman turns out didn`t really know him that well, that
backfired, this shaken baby syndrome, and even just learning in the past
couple of days that the attorneys for George Zimmerman have never met him
face to face even while their insisting that their guy has got an evidence
and they believe him. This is a case where they are not winning, they`re
badly losing in a court of public opinion. And what is that mean in the
real world? It mean that if this special prosecutor declines to bring
charges, given the public perceptions that are out there, she`s going to
get a huge negative backlash unless she`s in a position to very
convincingly explain why in the face of what we consider to be the known
evidence, why she would refuse to bring charges.

SHARPTON: Now, Ken, that is stunning to me. When you hear all of
these statements, all of these real strong allegations made by these
attorneys, and they`ve never even sat down and talked to Zimmerman, I think
one of them said they talked to him over the phone. So I mean, a case this
big, with this kind of visibility, and they don`t even sit down with the
client. And all of the national television thrown all this kind of
scenarios around. I mean, is this a usual way to do something like this?

PADOWITZ: Well, it`s not a way to keep credibility. I mean
credibility is everything. That`s what we have as trial lawyers, as
defense attorneys or as prosecutors. And if you`re going to come out with
some outlandish statements, and try the case in the media, basically put
trial balloons out there and see whether they take or not, you`ll going to
have a hard time in front of that jury. Because, you know, credibility is
at the basis for getting across the defense to the jury. And so, I think
it`s a very, very poor way to conduct business as a defense attorney.

SHARPTON: Now, Kendall, what was interesting is today, the City of
Sanford removed the 911 calls, the video of Zimmerman in the police
station, and the police report from their Web site and put up this letter.
The office of State Attorney Angela Corey has requested the City of
Sanford, remove all reports videos and audios pertaining to the Martin-
Zimmerman case from the Web site, their office has provided legal
justification for the action, and they believe further access to the
information will have an adverse effect on efforts to come to a resolution
to this investigation. Does this sound like, to you, that the special
prosecutor, and we know the grand jury is supposed to be convened as of
Tuesday, does this mean that we could see something before Tuesday? Does
this mean she is doing it because the grand jury is being empanelled? I
mean, what could this mean?

COFFEY: This tells me that she is getting very close to a decision.
And frankly, unless there are some significant forensic results that are
still out with some lab somewhere that she needs to look at, she`s had time
to look at the truly relevant evidence here. She signaled that she is not
thinking that she has to have a grand jury decide. She knows that this is
ultimately her responsibility to decide. So my sense of this and its pure
speculation Reverend, is this case is getting very close to a prosecutorial

SHARPTON: Well, I just remind people again, we`re not saying that we
can decide the case, we`re not calling on a conviction. But we have said
that he should be arrested on probable cause. Why? Zimmerman was armed?
Trayvon was unarmed. Zimmerman was pursuing Trayvon, called the 911 tapes,
Zimmerman was not brought to the hospital for the injuries that he claimed
that he had. He was not brought there at all. So, I think that is going
to be very interesting, Ken, to see where this comes down in the next -- as
we see the grand jury empanelled and where we`re going in the next several
days and weeks.

PADOWITZ: I agree. I think Kendall is correct that this is getting
close to a decision being made by the special prosecutor. I think she is
going through the evidence and I think we see various pieces of
circumstantial evidence that she is methodically working through this case
and will be coming to a decision very soon. And I know that the public is
eager to see whether or not there is a resolution at this beginning stage
as to whether or not there is probably cause that there was a violation of
Florida law, and that an arrest should be made and Mr. Zimmerman charged.

SHARPTON: Kendall Coffey and Ken Padowitz, thank you both for your
time, and have a wonderful Easter weekend.

PADOWITZ: Thank you.

COFFEY: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Up next, the next 72 hours could be crucial in the Trayvon
Martin case. We`ll look at the many unanswered questions still surrounding
that night.

Plus, the President`s critics on the right reach a new low, but we
won`t let them get away with it.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to Politics Nation, 40 days ago, Trayvon
Martin on a rainy February night, Trayvon Martin was on his way home from a
local 7-11 armed only with an iced tea and a bag of skittles. That walk
was less than a mile long. Martin would end up dead less than 100 yards
from where he was staying. At 7:11 p.m., George Zimmerman called 911 to
report a quote, "suspicious man." One minute later, Trayvon got a call
from his girlfriend, according to her account, Trayvon said, someone was
following him.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Trayvon said the man still was following him, and
then I asked Trayvon to run. And Trayvon said, he wasn`t going to run, he
was going to walk fast.


SHARPTON: Now, two minutes into his 911 call, Zimmerman has this
exchange with the 911 dispatcher.


a way.

911 OPERATOR: Are you following him?


911 OPERATOR: OK, we don`t need you to do that.



SHARPTON: There are serious questions about what happened next. Was
Zimmerman really on the way back to the car when he confronted Trayvon?
Were there in fact two separate confrontations between them? What do we
know? What we do know is that at 7:16, the line between Trayvon and his
girlfriend went dead. And around that time, 911 calls like this started
coming in.


911 OPERATOR: Do you think he`s yelling help?


911 OPERATOR: All right, what is your (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CALLER: There`s gunshots.


SHARPTON: Police arrived at the scene at 7:17. And at this point,
more questions arise. How much first aid was done on Zimmerman? Why
didn`t police question him at that point? All we know is that 35 minutes
later, at 7:52 p.m., Zimmerman walked into the police station. Enhanced
video shows what appears to be a mark on Zimmerman`s head, but questions
remain as if he was seriously hurt. He was released later that night and
hasn`t been in police custody since.

Joining me now is Walter Zalisko, a retired police chief from Florida.
And now President and CEO of Global Investigative Group, and Toure, an
MSNBC contributor who has been following the case closely. Walter, let me
start with you. As a former police officer, what questions does this
timeline raise to you?

officers responded, the first question that the officer should have asked
Mr. Zimmerman, as he was standing over the body of Trayvon, is you know,
why did you shoot him? And to see if there was some justification.
Nowhere in the police reports is that indicated that he asked him that
question. And there is that lot of --

SHARPTON: Go ahead.

ZALISKO: Go ahead, sir. I said there is also a lot of other problems
that I see from the media accounts. George Zimmerman is claiming that
Trayvon punched him in the face, and knocked him down, and he was trying to
grab his weapon. Well, I would want to know as an investigator is, why was
that weapon displayed before the encounter? By Florida law if you have a
concealed weapon you`re not to display that until the time you intend to
use it. So the way I`m reading it is that he had that weapon in his hand
when Trayvon approached him or he approached Trayvon. He had a jacket on,
if it was concealed, how would Trayvon know he had a weapon. So, you know,
that would be a question as an investigation I would ask. Did you have
that weapon displayed, when you were struggling, how did that weapon come
out, how did Trayvon know you had a weapon.

SHARPTON: That`s a very, very good point, Toure. I think that what a
lot of people don`t understand, when I first was called by the attorney for
the family and the family started hearing this, the outrage that I felt,
and then as word spread and people around the country got involved, is that
it seemed as though from the beginning, either they were the most inept
police or there was an intentional diversion from trying to find out what
should have happened that night, because all you needed was probable
situation to make an arrest and let the courts, the judge and the jury

TOURE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, two Walter pointed here. The lead
homicide investigator that night wanted to arrest and charge him that night
and go to trial. We know that the stand your ground law is a major
problem, and allows a person like a George Zimmerman to just invoke that,
and then the prosecutors, the burden is put on the prosecutors to approve
that it`s not self-defense. So, as soon as he says, hey, I was standing my
ground, then the duty goes to the prosecutors, it`s become much harder to
make that arrest and make that charge. This is a major problem in America
that we have to work to strike down this stand your ground laws.

SHARPTON: No question about that, I`m all for that. But Walt, I
think that even before we get to that, you raised some fundamental points.
Because when did he invoke stand your ground laws if he wasn`t questioned?
And can police, based on somebody raising it, if he did it at the police
station. Do they make the decision that they are the legislature and they
interpret the law, or do they say tell it to the judge?

ZALISKO: Well, I would think that they would have to, on an issue
like this, they would have to consult with the state attorney and I would
let the state attorney make that ultimate decision. We`re talking a
serious crime here. So, you know, if that was my department, I would let
the state attorney make that ultimate decision whether to arrest him or

SHARPTON: Well, that`s good, because Walt, let me come here to Toure,
the attorneys for the family said that they had information given them that
the state prosecutor at the time, Norm Wolfinger had gone to the station
that night, and had over ruled the investigator that you said wanted to
have him arrested. Now, Norm Wolfinger says, quote, "I`m outraged by the
outright lies. No such meeting or communication occurred. Well, if he
didn`t do it, who did? Who decided not to make the arrest? If we have
affidavit, we`re told that the chief investigator said, he wanted an
arrest, who vetoed it if he is saying, there was no communication or
meeting that night?

TOURE: I don`t know, I would love to get to the bottom of that. I
also had another question that keeps burning in my mind, because this is
the third time in about six, seven years that George Zimmerman has been in
trouble with the law. He was arrested for pushing the cop if he doesn`t


TOURE: He also has a domestic violence injunction against him in
2005. And now, these in all three times, he`s able to sort of slide out of
the problem fairly easily. I wonder if the fact that his father was a
judicial magistrate in Virginia had something to do with that.

SHARPTON: Well, and we hear his mother is also a court clerk.

TOURE: With the court clerk.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you the last question, Walt. Why didn`t
police contact Trayvon`s parents? And what does this say about the
department? He is there, dead, with a cell phone, and if his father had
not kept calling and pursuing, there was never any contact made. I mean,
how do you explain that?

ZALISKO: Well, the fact that they did not reach out to the parents
that night is unquestionable. They had his cell phone. You know, we have
to remember at this point, he is a victim, you know. So, you can search
that cell phone without a warrant. It was very easily to ascertain what
number that was, who the last person they called, besides that, they had
his driver`s license I believe. From media accounts, they had his driver`s
license, they had all his information, why they would not send a police car
in Miami-Dade to Trayvon`s mother`s house, is we don`t know. You know,
that`s the process that they should have followed. Send a car there, make
a notification to her immediately that night, is this your son.

SHARPTON: Walter Zalisko and Toure. Thanks to both of you and have a
wonderful Easter weekend.

TOURE: Thank you.

ZALISKO: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Critics on the right continue to disrespect the president
and it`s got to stop. My response, next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back, we`ve seen how some of the President`s
critics crossed the line of disagreement and become downright disagreeable.
But now this level of disrespect has reached to armed forces. The United
States marine`s name Sergeant Gary Stein is facing the other than honorable
discharge for insulting the President in a Facebook post. My concern
tonight isn`t about so much this one marine, it`s about the casual way that
some conservative critics have gone about disrespecting him and his office.
This week, Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh called the President a thug for
talking about the Supreme Court`s hearings on the healthcare debate.


bad way to start off, looking like you`re, you know, some kind of political
thug at the White House threatening the Supreme Court.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is what he`s arguing here.
It`s figuratively speaking here, Obama has put a bounty out on the Supreme
Court. Figuratively speaking, there is an answer to that, I don`t know if
it`s right, but there is an answer, he is a thug.


SHARPTON: Calling the President of the United States a thug is a new
low, and shows how acceptable this kind of talk has become on the right.
We`ve have seen these insults throughout his presidency.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The reforms I`m proposing
would not apply to those who are here illegally.

WILSON: You lie.

OBAMA: It`s not true.

President`s agenda. It`s not about you. It`s about some phony ideal.
Some phony theology.

President Obama understands America.

dangerous president in modern American history. The President wants to
unilaterally weaken the United States.

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: What`s amazing is what a bully
President Obama has suddenly become.


SHARPTON: You know, when I was a younger activist, I used to say
things, call names. As I get older, I learned that you need to think
before you speak. If for no other reason, thoughtful people will not
listen to you if you can only call names, because they would only assume
you have nothing to say. Thanks for watching, I`m Al Sharpton, "HARDBALL"
starts now.


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