July 9, 2013
Guests: Faith Jenkins; Ken Padowitz; Lisa Bloom, John Burris, Seema Iyer,
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Welcome to "Politics Nation." We are
monitoring the NTSB press conference in San Francisco tonight. But we
start with a big day in the George Zimmerman trial.
Tonight`s lead, the scene of the altercation today. With the defense
getting ready to rest tomorrow, focus in the Zimmerman murder trial was on
the fateful moment of struggle right before Mr. Zimmerman killed Martin.
Who was the aggressor? Who`s life was in danger? All playing to the key
question, did George Zimmerman have a right to self-defense to kill Trayvon
Today, the defense called a forensic pathologist to the stand who supported
Zimmerman`s claim that Martin was on top.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VINCENT DIMAIO, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: This indicated that the gun was not
against the skin, but the clothing itself had to be two to four inches away
from the body. At the time Mr. Martin was shot. If you lean over
somebody, you will notice that the clothing tends to fall away from the
chest. If instead you`re lying on your back and somebody shoots you, the
clothing is going to be against your chest. So, that the fact that we know
the clothing was two to four inches away is consistent with somebody
leaning over the person doing the shooting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That testimony contradicted what two prosecution eyewitnesses
said, that it was Mr. Zimmerman who was on top of Martin. The pathologist
also said today under a tough cross-examination, he was forced to admit
that Martin might have been pulling away from Mr. Zimmerman when he was
shot dead which could undercut a claim of self-defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, STATE PROSECUTOR: You don`t know if Trayvon Martin
was backing up, backing away in terms of providing an angle, or going
forward. You can`t say.
DIMAIO: All I said it was consistent with his account, Mr. Zimmerman`s
account. That`s all.
DE LA RIONDA: But it`s also consistent with Trayvon Martin pulling back in
terms of the same angle.
DIMAIO: I told you that too, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: By all accounts, this was a brief confrontation. But those last
few moments are the heart of this case.
Joining me now, former prosecutor Faith Jenkins, MSNBC legal analyst Lisa
Bloom and defense attorney Ken Padowitz.
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: Thank you all for being here.
LISA BLOOM, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ken, let me go to you first. In your view, is today`s testimony
a win for the defense, or does the jury put it all together and cancels it
KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, quite frankly, I think it was a win
for the defense, absolutely. This was a very, very strong witness. This
expert is a renowned expert. He came across as a very experienced
testifier in court. And this guy knows what he is talking about, as his
presence indicated to the jury. He knew the medicine. He knew the
science, and he applied it to the facts in this case. He was a very, very
And the prosecution`s cross examine fell a little bit flat. I was hoping
for maybe some better questioning. Maybe they hired their own expert that
would give them questions on how to battle with this expert in court. And
I just didn`t see that. I saw a very flat cross-examination by the
prosecution. So I think the win definitely goes for the defense in this
case. This was an excellent witness for them.
SHARPTON: Faith, the jury has heard now expert on the other side saying
that they felt that Trayvon was on top or was on the bottom, rather. We
heard eyewitnesses saying they think both. I raise a question to Ken on
whether it was a wash.
But let me ask you differently. If I`m on the jury, and I`m looking for
the fact that the claim is self-defense, does the fact that whoever is on
top really establish to me whether someone had to shoot and kill to save
their life? I mean, does it really matter?
JENKINS: That`s what the defense wants to focus on. They want to focus
all about this positioning that Trayvon was on top, and therefore George
Zimmerman had to use the force that he used. The prosecutors are focusing
on who was the initial aggress here. Because if you`re in a fight, one
minute you`re up, one minute you`re down, the positions may change. But
who was the initial aggressor. You can see when they got up and they first
started questioning Dr. Dimaio, that`s what they started asking. You
weren`t there, right? You don`t know who threw the first punch. You don`t
know how this altercation started. Your testimony is strictly limited that
gunshot wound and the angle of that gunshot wound. You don`t know how this
started. Because that`s what they`re going to focus on. Trayvon Martin
could very well have been defending himself while looking down the barrel
of a gun.
SHARPTON: You have certainly, Lisa, been probably through this case as
much as anybody. How do you judge today`s performance by the defense and
by the prosecutor?
BLOOM: So Ken`s right. This witness came off very well. That`s because
the prosecution was relatively soft on him on cross-examination. I thought
much of what he did was unscientific. And I`ll tell you why.
He is wearing a fitted shirt, leak you wear, like most men wear, in the
courtroom, and he is demonstrating with his fitted shirt. Well, of course
the shirt is against him. When he leans forward, guess what? The shirt
does not go forward, because it`s fitted. Why not do some experiments with
a baggy hoodie, which is what Trayvon Martin was wearing, with a baggy
sweatshirt underneath it? And guess what you would find? That does not
rest against your body when you`re in a seated position.
The whole point is it`s gathered at the bottom, as you can see in this
picture. It bags out. That`s a style that teenagers like. That`s why
they wear it. When you`re upright, it`s not necessarily right against your
skin. He didn`t do any experiments with hoodies. He actually said he was
kind of unfamiliar with them and he joked about it in the courtroom. This
is an expert witness who will take a bullet and put it through the brain of
an innocent animal as an experiment. And he won`t even take a hoodie and a
baggy sweatshirt and put it on to prove his point?
SHARPTON: Ken, as Lisa was raising, dramatizing that point with the
hoodie, something else comes to mind. As the coroner was part of the
testimony was going to go by, because if I`m on top of someone, she is
saying if I`m wearing baggy stuff, it would be baggy. But if I`m on top of
someone, you know pummeling them, wouldn`t that make the clothes come
tighter to me rather than hang off of me? I mean, if you`re reaching back,
that brings the clothes to you.
PADOWITZ: Lisa has some excellent points. And the problem here is,
though, we`re debating this on television. But in that courtroom, the only
thing those jurors are concerned about is what they`re hearing in evidence.
And what came in evidence is a very, very strong witness for the defense.
And a very mediocre cross-examination.
You know, I`ve done 35 first-degree murder trials. I`m not an expert
pathologist. I hire the best pathologists in the country in a high profile
case like this to advise me on what questions to attack the defense expert
witness. And I don`t know if the prosecution did that here. But it just
didn`t seem like they did. They just didn`t have the one, two, three punch
that I was hoping the prosecution would do in front of this jury. Because
the only thing that matters is what is going on in that courtroom, and what
the jury hears from that witness stand.
SHARPTON: Faith, the state argues there are many unanswered questions, how
did the fight begin, what position were they in when the shot was fired.
Why was there no blood entry wounds (ph). Let`s go to that.
The prosecution did dramatically go to the witness and showed the picture
of Zimmerman and said what would happen if he put his hand on Zimmerman`s
face. Let me show you that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DE LA RIONDA: The other thing that I want to ask you about this is -- may
I approach, your honor?
JUDGE DEBRAH NELSON, SEMINOLE COUNTY: Yes.
DE LA RIONDA: The photograph that was taken at the scene?
DE LA RIONDA: I`m sorry of the defendant, I apologize, when he has blood
DE LA RIONDA: OK. I put my hand over that, right?
DE LA RIONDA: What do you expect my hand to have on it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The fact that no blood was found on Trayvon Martin`s hand at
SHARPTON: Does that not in some ways use this witness helpful to the
JENKINS: It`s always a big deal when you can get a defense expert to
concede a point like this. Because on cross-examination, the prosecutor
was able to establish George Zimmerman`s account on this is simply
physically impossible. If you are bleeding and you have blood on your
face, as demonstrated in those pictures, and Trayvon covers your mouth and
your nose, he would have blood on his hands there is no trace of blood on
Trayvon Martin`s hands.
Now, surely, if the rain didn`t wash away the blood on George Zimmerman`s
face or the back of his head, it certainly wouldn`t wash away every trace
of blood on Trayvon Martin`s hands. That`s another inconsistency, another
embellishment or lie by George Zimmerman that the state was able to get
this witness to make a concession on.
SHARPTON: Now Lisa, both the DNA expert and the medical examiner said
there was no blood on Trayvon Martin`s hand.
BLOOM: Well, that`s right. And I think that is a bit of a problem. I
would also add that this expert said dead men don`t bruise. And they use
that to explain the lack of any bruises on Trayvon Martin`s hands. Well, I
would ask on my cross-examination, does that also possibly explain no
bruises on his body, even if George Zimmerman hit him. They would not
bruise, because he died immediately afterwards. This whole altercation was
just a couple of minutes.
I would ask him if George Zimmerman had hit him, had punched him, had
kicked him in the seconds before he died, that would not show, isn`t that
correct, Dr. Dimaio? We didn`t hear those questions.
SHARPTON: Let me go back to you, Ken. Let me ask this. The prosecution -
- not the prosecution, but the defense has indicated they may rest as early
as tomorrow. In the beginning statements that we all talked about here,
the prosecution said I`m going to prove a web of lies. The defense said
I`m going to deal with a vicious fight that was a threat to Zimmerman`s
life. He had to defend himself. He had no choice. If they rest tomorrow
as we are seated in standing in your case tonight, has the defense proved
there was a vicious fight that was a threat to Zimmerman`s life?
PADOWITZ: Well interestingly, the defense doesn`t have to prove anything.
SHARPTON: No. I didn`t say that. I said in the opening statement, have
they gone by what they said they would do in their statement? They have no
burden of proof. But this is what they stated.
PADOWITZ: That is what they stated. And you`re right. That`s the road
map that they`re laying out for the jury, that they`re trying to show this
vicious fight. They did say that but, remember, again, their job is to
only prove reasonable doubt, to show reasonable doubts to this jury. And I
think that anyone looking at this trial can say that at closing statements,
closing arguments, the defense has a number of things they can say to the
jury, these are reasonable doubts.
Now, whether the jury thinks they`re reasonable doubts is the golden
question. But they`re going to come there to that jury and say look at all
these reasonable doubts that we were able to show on cross-examination of
the government`s own witnesses and on the witnesses that we provided to you
on the defense side of the case. So they may not have lived up to
everything they said they were going to do in their opening statement, but
they clearly have many arguments they can make to this jury that reasonable
doubts were shown. And we only need one.
SHARPTON: I want my legal panel to stay with me there is much more from
the trial today.
And coming up, a major surprise from the defense. They fought hard to
introduce Trayvon Martin`s toxicology report. So why are they changing
their mind now?
Plus, George Zimmerman`s mixed martial arts training, does it better to
help us understand the altercation that took place that night?
And a remarkable story of hope. For the first time we hear from the three
women held captive for nearly a decade in Cleveland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I may have been through hell and back, but I am
strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face. And with my
head held high, and my feet firmly on the ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And remember, friend or foe, I want to know. Send me your e-
mails. "Reply Al" is coming. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on facebook
yet? The George Zimmerman trial has everyone talking again today. In
fact, thousands of you tuned in to our live stream of the trial. We`ve got
more on the issue of drugs in this trial, coming up.
But first, we want to hear your thoughts on the trial. Please head over to
facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation
that keeps going long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: There was a major surprise in the Zimmerman trial today. This
afternoon, sources close to the defense told NBC News they will not bring
into trial Trayvon Martin`s toxicology report, which contains evidence that
Trayvon had small amounts of marijuana in his body when he died. Some
believe that the information is irrelevant to determining whether Zimmerman
had a right to kill Martin.
The defense decision is a head-scratcher, because the defense had argued
strenuously and successfully on yesterday to be allowed to introduce the
information into the trial. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON WEST, ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: We know that there is a positive level for
THC in Mr. Martin`s system. We know from George Zimmerman`s non-emergency
call that he said Trayvon Martin, the person he didn`t know that he later
found out was who he was describing looks like he is on drugs o something.
The fact that Mr. Martin indeed was under the influence of drugs at the
time is highly relevant and probative for the jury. It supports the -- our
claim of self-defense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The judge ruled the jury could hear the evidence. So why did
the defense change its mind about using it?
Back with me again are Faith Jenkins, Lisa Bloom and Ken Padowitz. I want
to get everyone on this one, starting with you, Lisa, what happened
overnight? They were fighting. They said they needed this for self-
defense. All of the sudden they`re not doing it.
BLOOM: Well, a trial is a fluid and dynamic situation and obviously they
changed their mind. Maybe they got tired of beating up on the victim. You
know, they had just had Tracy Martin on the stand and you know, criticized
across the board for the way they treated him. Maybe they thought it would
look like they were beating up on the victim.
He had trace amounts of THC in his system. Most scientists we have spoken
to said this would have no effect on him. He could have smoked pot, you
know, a week, two weeks earlier. So really it would have just been a
SHARPTON: So, the statement we just heard, one of the defense lawyers
saying he was under the influence at the time would be a stretch.
BLOOM: You know, the only person who I heard say that was Dr. Bao who
changed his testimony and then said it would be that outside the presence
of the jury. Initially said no effect and then changed his testimony
because he gets to change his mind all the time according to him. It`s
just an opinion. So, he changed his mind and that`s what led to all this.
I don`t think it would have been significant.
SHARPTON: What do you think, Faith? One of the callers in my radio show
today said that maybe they figured out, and he is a marijuana user. I
wouldn`t know. That marijuana really calms you down rather than makes you
more aggressive. So, do you think maybe a pot smoker expert down there
told him you better not use this?
JENKINS: That`s exactly what I think happened. I think that they took
into consideration if the state put on a rebuttal witness, what that
rebuttal witness would say about the impact of smoking marijuana, and it
would be the opposite result of what they wanted. Because that want to be
ail to paint a picture of Trayvon as this really violent person who
initiated this violent confrontation.
And an expert could come back and say, well, first, just because you have
that element in your system does not mean you smoked marijuana that day.
And second, these are the impacts of having marijuana, or smoking marijuana
and it makes you calm down. It makes you mellow, not aggressive, not
capable of inflicting the amount of violence George Zimmerman said Trayvon
initiated on him.
SHARPTON: You know, Ken, last year it was widely reported that George
Zimmerman had a prescription for medications. Here is the Associated Press
report from July of 2012 that says the medication report also said in the
weeks before the shooting of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman had been
given prescriptions for Adderall, used to treat attention deficit and
hyperactivity disorder, as well as an insomnia medication.
Do you think that maybe they were fearful if they entered this toxicology
report on Martin, it would open the door for the prosecution to put these -
- this record of medication on Zimmerman in front of the jury?
PADOWITZ: No. I don`t think that was their consideration. I think they
had an epiphany. They went into a meeting and it was a smoke-filled room
and they came out and went from stupid to smart. They realized this is a
two-edged sword and this can hurt their case. They were going to over try
their case when they were creating or attempting to create reasonable
doubts, and now they were going to attack the victim, but by marijuana use,
and many people may know that marijuana does not turn somebody aggressive.
It may do just the opposite. So they got smart, and they got smart real
fast, and they did a real good job by deciding not to put in that evidence.
SHARPTON: For the record, Ken said they were in a smoke-filled room. I
BLOOM: Let`s put together the facts in this case. If he was under the
influence of marijuana, he was the kind of pot smoker who is walking slowly
through the rain, talking about the ball game on the phone with his friend
Rachel Jeantel, looking into windows. He is not the kind of pot smoker,
the extremely rare kind that would say sucker punch somebody in the face,
climb on top of him and threaten to kill him.
SHARPTON: Now, so you think it was more strategic in terms of their
BLOOM: If I were the prosecutor, I would say bring it on. Let`s talk
about the depressant, marijuana, that was in Trayvon Martin`s system.
Let`s talk about the upper, which is Adderall that is in George Zimmerman`s
system. Bring it on. Let`s have all of it.
SHARPTON: And you agree with that, Faith that you would put the Adderall
in and the marijuana?
JENKINS: I would certainly make that argument. But I think the state is
happy that this is not coming in, because Trayvon Martin so far, he is a
kid walking home with skittles and iced tea. And the defense is going to
try to argue but he is also a drug user. So I think the state is happy
that this isn`t coming in.
SHARPTON: Now, the fact that, Ken, we are starting to wind down now, and
we -- if the defense, rather, does settle tomorrow or in the next couple of
days, then the prosecution comes back with a rebuttal case, and then we
could be seeing this last another two or three days.
The rebuttal case, if you were on the prosecution`s side in terms of the
strategy meeting, what do you think needs -- at this point, we don`t know
what is going to be presented tomorrow. What do you think needs to be
PADOWITZ: Well, there are a few things you could do in closing argument or
rebut. For instance, nobody has touched on the fact that if Trayvon Martin
is holding a can of iced tea, if he was the aggressor, he could use that
can of iced tea as a weapon. He could use that in his hand and punch or
hit Zimmerman in the face, you know, on the body, anywhere with this can of
iced tea as a weapon that there is no evidence that that occurred there is
no evidence that he was the aggressor using this potential weapon.
So, there is a number of different things. You could go through a lot of
different evidence in this case and potentially rebut, or you could put it
in as -- and weave it into your closing argument, using the evidence that
is already out there before the jury.
SHARPTON: Late today, the judge will rule on whether jurors will be
allowed to see a computer animation of the struggle. It was created by an
animator who was hired by the defense. The defense has been giving the
animator input about whatever it is to take into account. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In fact, what you did is you changed it based on what
Mr. Zimmerman`s attorneys told you people said.
DANIEL SHUMAKER, CRIME STATE ANIMATOR: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that actually apparently was different enough from
the way you had originally created the animation that you have changed it
at least twice?
SHUMAKER: Just to be more accurate, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So one question that we get from one of our viewers is why the
prosecution doesn`t call Zimmerman to the stand to ask him to re-create the
screams of the 911 tape. But, of course, the prosecution can`t call
Zimmerman. It would have to wait for the defense to do so. But it could
be a good topic.
Faith Jenkins, Lisa Bloom and Ken Padowitz, thank you for your time
BLOOM: Thank you.
JENKINS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, George Zimmerman then and now. Could his appearance have
an effect on the jury?
And in the political world, governor Bob McDonnell is making news today,
and it includes hot pockets, Mac and cheese, pop tarts, and a Ferrari.
SHARPTON: This is Virginia governor Bob McDonnell. He`s got a big smile
in that picture, and he had a lot of reasons to be happy. He has been a
rising star in the Republican party, grooming to be the running mate to
Mitt Romney in 2010, even gave the GOP response to the state of the union
But the smiling governor may not be smiling anymore. He has a new name,
governor free stuff. The governor has announced he is reimbursing Virginia
$2400 for food and supplies his kids took from the governor`s mansion back
to college or on trips. He is paying for things like hot pockets and easy
Mac, even pop tarts. The governor`s kids got a lot of free stuff, a lot, a
lot, a lot of free stuff.
But that`s not everything the governor`s gotten for free. We`ve also
learned about some big gifts he has reportedly got from a campaign donor,
including a 15,000 for catering for his daughter`s wedding, the use of a
Ferrari after a vacation, a $6500 engraved Rolex watch, and $15,000 worth
of clothing for his wife, including an Oscar de la Renta jacket, a Louis
Vuitton leader hand bag, designer shoes and a designer dress. Governor
McDonnell isn`t reimbursing anyone for that free stuff.
And those allegations are serious. The FBI and others are investigating.
Did governor free stuff think that by paying for some pop tarts would make
us forget his real ethics issues? Nice try, but grab another hot pocket
because we got you.
SHARPTON: Here`s what we know. On the evening of February 26, 2012, there
was an altercation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. This whole
case centers around that altercation and the events leading up to it.
George Zimmerman says his life was in such grave danger that in order to
defend himself, he was justified in pulling the trigger and killing Trayvon
Martin. But in the trial this week, we`ve heard testimony that Mr.
Zimmerman was taking Mixed Martial Arts classes in the months leading up to
It`s a fighting style where people learn submission holds, chokes, and
locks. Earlier in the trial, a prosecution witness testified that it was
Trayvon Martin who used MMA-style ground and pound techniques on Zimmerman.
But does the testimony this week change how the jurors will view the tragic
confrontation that night in Florida?
Joining me now, John Burris, a criminal defense attorney and former
prosecutor. And Seema Iyer, also a criminal civil defense attorney and
former prosecutor. Thank you both for coming on the show this evening.
JOHN BURRIS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.
SEEMA IYER, CRIMINAL CIVIL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Now, yesterday George Zimmerman`s former MMA instructor
testified. Let`s take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think he may have trained two to three days a week at
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK. And how long were those classes?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How long is a normal training session?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Normal training sessions are two hours long.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: On a scale of one to 10, when George Zimmerman first got
to you, what number would you assign to his abilities?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: 0.5.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Less than a one?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So during that approximate year, give or take a few
months that he was involved with your facility in grappling, he got from a
0.5 to what rating would you give him on your scale?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Maybe a one.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Why so little progress?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, it`s not that he made such little progress. It`s
a tremendous amount of work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: John, let me start with you. George Zimmerman was taken MMA
classes for close to a year. His trainer says he was not athletic or
physically adept, only at a 1.5 skill level. How might the jury react?
BURRIS: Well, I think the jury will be impressed by the fact that he has
had the training, and that he had been there for a period of time. They
would be less impressed that he had no ability and that he didn`t have the
ability to remove Trayvon Martin or he had no ability to defend himself.
At issue for the jury will be whether or not he had a reasonable
alternative than using deadly force.
And to the extent they heard that he received some training for over period
of time, I don`t think jurors would then say that he didn`t have any
ability, that he didn`t have a skill level, that he couldn`t defend himself
in that way. It will have some impact, but I don`t think we`ll have to
menace. I think actually it`s to the prosecution`s benefit around this
issue given the length of training that he had.
SHARPTON: Seema, having heard John say that, let me raise to you this.
The cross-examination, under cross-examination, he had to say to the
prosecution the specific skills that Zimmerman was learning in the class
and how they would help him in an altercation. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So the goal of some of those techniques that we`re
taught, the shrimping, the bridging, that sort of thing is actually to take
yourself from being, as you put it in, perhaps if someone had you in a
mounted situation, to be able to reverse that or at least get out of where
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: To get into a not quite as bad situation for sure, or
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So if he was being trained in how to reverse a situation, or to
get out of a situation, if you`re on the jury, could you then say why if in
fact he has been mounted upon, and we don`t know, but that`s the claim, and
it`s denied by the prosecution, why didn`t he use that skill that he had
been studying a year, why did he have to shoot and kill Trayvon Martin?
IYER: Well, Bernie de la Riondo, what he did at that point.
SHARPTON: Who is de la Rionda -- the prosecutor?
IYER: The prosecutor.
IYER: Really crucial, Reverend Al. And that is, it goes directly to the
jury instructions that the prosecutor was trying to establish that George
Zimmerman had the equipment to get out of that altercation. Now, this is
the important part. When there is a prolonged distance between one event
and the other event, the clock restarts. So at that point, George
Zimmerman is no longer being attacked. He has removed himself from the
situation. He takes out his gun. And at that point, the new event starts.
He`s the aggressor. See how the self-defense now falls?
SHARPTON: Right. Very interesting. Now, let me ask you this, John. Let
me show you a picture of George Zimmerman the night of the shooting. And
him in court this week. Zimmerman`s attorney says that he has gained over
100 pounds since the shooting. How will this affect the jury in terms of
seeing him, if at all?
BURRIS: Well, the jurors can make their decision and I`m sure the
prosecutor will do this that is based upon that particular night. To the
extent that he has gained weight, that has should have no affect at all
from the jury consideration. What they will see is the picture of him on
that particular night where he looked really fit. He was actually small.
He had been involved in a lot of training. So I don`t think that the
jurors will be prejudiced for him by seeing that he has gained all this
They might think that, you know, he is having some other kind of problems.
But in terms of his conduct on that night, how he looked, how he acted, it
will be judged by that night, at least that`s what the prosecution hopes,
and that`s how the prosecution should stay on the point and make those
IYER: I respectfully disagree with Mr. Burris, my colleague, and that is
this. When Zimmerman presents himself in court, it`s very natural when a
witness testifies and they`re testifying about the defendant to look at the
defendant. So you have that visual connection. And let`s be real. There
is prejudice all over the place. These jurors will be prejudiced by
natural things. It`s natural to have sympathy for someone who is
essentially been sitting in seclusion, Zimmerman, and who has gained over
100 pounds. Why do people gain weight? Sometimes because they`re
depressed, because they`re sad and because they`re scared.
SHARPTON: Now, John, let me ask this --
BURRIS: I don`t agree with that, but that`s OK. We disagree.
IYER: OK, John.
SHARPTON: You respectfully disagree, and that`s good.
BURRIS: We respectfully disagree.
SHARPTON: Let me say this, John. The fact that Zimmerman has said, well,
his instructor said he only had limited skills, even though he was training
two or three times a week for a year, but it also comes back to mind that
Zimmerman said he didn`t know anything about stand your ground. And then
his teacher comes on and said oh, no, we talked about it extensively, and
he got an A in the class. So, again, is this web of lie theory going to
come back in the end to try to even discount this?
BURRIS: I don`t think so. And it should. The point of it, not only was
he in a class where he was learning about stand your ground, he was also
learning about the laws of self-defense, and he was taking self-defense
classes. So all of this goes to the effect of making himself physically
fit to meet any particular challenge out there. And for him to deny it and
to try to make himself sound like a clucks and a person`s inability to take
care of himself, I don`t think the jury will accept that.
That doesn`t go to a lot of other issues, but certainly what he has said
about his mental state and what he has said in terms of his preparation, in
terms of classes he has taken and the laws that he was aware of and having
denied knowledge of some of those.
SHARPTON: Seema, there are also, I might add, and I want to be clear that
there was a witness that said they thought they saw the guy on top who he
described as being Trayvon doing an MMA attack. But there is no evidence
at all that Trayvon Martin had any MMA or any other martial arts training.
So you`re dealing with evidence that Zimmerman did. There is really no
evidence that Trayvon knew any martial arts.
IYER: That is correct. And we just have to realize that some witnesses
use certain terms, like ground and pound, because of their own knowledge.
Not because of the knowledge.
SHARPTON: He said it was MMA-type, to be fair to the witness. He did not
say that as an expert.
IYER: And the whole event was a fluid event.
IYER: The fight was rolling around, one on top of each other.
SHARPTON: John Burris and Seema Iyer, I thank you both for coming on the
show tonight. Ahead.
BURRIS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: .Bill O`Reilly wondering if bad things are going to happen if Mr.
Zimmerman is acquitted. Well, my response to that is coming up. But
first, the three women kidnapped and held captive for nearly ten years are
breaking their silence. The incredible story of strength and hope, next.
SHARPTON: Three women held captive in Cleveland for nearly a year --
nearly a decade, rather, speaks out. The amazing story is next.
SHARPTON: The three Cleveland women held captive for nearly a decade
speaks out. The amazing story is next.
SHARPTON: There are three Cleveland women held captive for nearly a decade
are breaking their silence. In a remarkable show of strength, they
appeared for the first time in a taped video. Amanda Berry, Gina deJesus,
and Michelle Knight thanked supporters and offered them an incredible
message of strength and hope.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANDA BERRY, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: First and foremost, I want everyone to
know how happy I am to be home with my family and my friends. It`s been
unbelievable. I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family
through this entire ordeal. Everyone who has been there to support us has
been a blessing to have such an outpouring of love and kindness. I`m
getting stronger each day, and I`m having my privacy has helped immensely.
I ask that everyone continue to respect our privacy and give us time to
have a normal life.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Gina, if you could say something to each and every
person out there who contributed money to your funds to help you, what
would you say to them?
GINA DEJESUS, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: I would say thank you for the support.
MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: Thank you, everyone, for your love,
support, and donations. Which helped me build a brand-new life. I just
want everyone to know I`m doing just fine. I may have been through hell
and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my
face. And with my head held high and my feet firmly on the ground.
Walking hand to hand with my best friend, I will not let the situation
define who I am. I will define the situation. Thank you for all your
prayers. I`m looking forward to my brand-new life. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: As their captor faces 329 counts in court, including multiple
kidnapping and rape charges, the strength and courage of these women coming
forward is truly inspirational.
Joining me now is Wendy Walsh, a doctor of psychology and behavioral
expert. Thanks for being here tonight.
DR. WENDY WALSH, HUMAN BEHAVIORAL EXPERT: I`m happy to be here. Wasn`t
this a great set of videos?
SHARPTON: Yes. It really was. And after watching this tape, let me ask
you, Wendy, what can you tell us about how these women are doing two months
after they have been saved from captivity?
WALSH: Well, you know, as a clinician, I could look at it and say well, I
can see their affect, meaning the way they talk or their tone of voice
seems a little young for their biological ages. So that makes sense if
they were kind of got emotionally stuck in their early teens.
WALSH: But I will say that they have really taken charge of this in a very
positive way. And I think there is a lesson here for Hollywood publicists
who ever have to do damage control. They controlled the video so they
didn`t have to have media questions that could have been damaging or asking
them salacious questions about what happened in their captivity. They kept
it positive. They expressed gratitude. But they also asked again for more
SHARPTON: Now, how difficult is it for them to come forward?
WALSH: I`m sure it`s very, very difficult. But I`m sure they wanted to.
I mean, the donations have added up to nearly a million dollars. They
wanted to express gratitude for that. If you remember that during their
years of captivity, their only connection to our culture, to our society
was through the television set.
WALSH: So it makes sense that they would want to use video to explain, to
try to connect back with us, if you will. But they also still want to
protect themselves, because it`s going to be a long road ahead. This is
not an easy thing.
SHARPTON: What do you think about the timing of this?
WALSH: Well, it may be a little early. It`s about two months, I think.
But, again, because it was so controlled, it`s not like they came out the
week afterwards, and it`s not like they let us wait for months and months
and months. Remember, by doing this, they`re protecting themselves,
because otherwise, you know, certain -- member of the media would be
stalking them. So, this is a great to sort of protect their privacy.
SHARPTON: Michelle Knight talked about her plans moving forward. Watch
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KNIGHT: God has a plan for all of us. The plan that he gave me was to
help others that have been in the same situations I have been in. To know
that there is someone out there to lean on, and to talk to. I`m in control
of my own destiny with the guidance of God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: She wants to help others. What do you make of that?
WALSH: Well, actually, that is one of the healthiest defenses against
emotional pain. Sigmund Freud pointed a long time ago, termed it a long
time ago. He called it sublimation. Sublimation is taking your own pain,
finding people who are experiencing the same kind of thing and helping
them. And as you`re helping and consoling them, you`re also healing
SHARPTON: Now, Ariel Castro, their captor, has been indicted on 329 counts
including kidnapping and rape charges. How will they cope living through
WALSH: Well, that`s the thing, isn`t it? This trial is coming up. These
young women will be asked to testify. The question is will this appearance
in court be an active reinjuring themselves and having to relive what went
on, or will this trial be a place of empowerment, where finally they are in
control. Finally, they can have a voice and say what they need to say to
this monster of a man.
SHARPTON: Dr. Wendy Walsh, thanks for being here tonight.
WALSH: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: And Dr. Walsh`s latest book, "The 30-Day Love Detox" is
Ahead, Bill O`Reilly is asking if things are going to happen if Mr.
Zimmerman is acquitted. "Reply Al" is next.
SHARPTON: It`s time for "Reply Al." Keep sending me all your questions.
Friend or foe, I want to know.
Jalen writes, "In regards to the Trayvon Martin case, what do you believe
will have the bigger impact on America, if the defense wins or the
Well, thanks for that question, Jalen. Here is what I know. People
shouldn`t be assuming anything. Bill O`Reilly is wondering if bad things
are going to happen if Zimmerman is acquitted. He is asking about the
potential for violence if an acquittal comes down. And Zimmerman`s lawyer
Mark O`Mara says his clients will never be safe because there is a
percentage of the population who are angry and might take it out on him.
Let me be very clear. From the beginning of this, when I was called and
came in just to say this should go to trial and should not be decided in a
police station, this family has said we believe in peace and we believe in
trying the criminal justice system. I went and helped to lead and organize
the first big rally in Sanford, where tens of thousands of people came.
And from that rally all the way through the rallies and the marches
subsequent, leading to this trial, not one brick has been thrown. Not one
window broke. With all that on the right wing has tried to project, we
have all been a movement of nonviolence just seeking fairness and justice.
And this is not new. I sat in a courtroom many years ago, well over a
decade ago, with the family of Amadou Diallo, a young man from Africa, who
was killed in The Bronx, unarmed, not committing a crime, shot dead by four
And the trial was moved out of the city upstate. They found the four
officers not guilty. We walked out of that courtroom with our heartbroken.
And let me show you what I said then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We do not want to tarnish his name with any violence. Let not
one brick be thrown, not one bottle be thrown, not one evidence of violence
come from us. We are fighting violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We are fighting violence, and we always will. Justice requires
that we stay nonviolent and not become what we fight.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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