tv Lockup MSNBC July 13, 2013 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
called, please answer whether this is your verdict. >> juror b-25, is this your verdict? >> yes. >> juror b-76. is this your verdict? >> yes. >> is this your verdict? >> yes. >> juror b-51, is this your verdict? >> yes. >> juror e-6. is this your verdict? >> yes. >> juror e-40. is this your verdict? >> yes. >> ladies, i wish to thank you for your time and consideration of this case. i also wish to advise you of some very special privileges enjoyed by jurors. no juror could ever be required to talk about the discussion that's occurred in the jury room except by court order. for many centuries our society has relied upon juries for consideration of difficult cases. we have recognized for hundreds of years that a jury's deliberations, discussions, and votes should remain their private affair as long as they wish it. therefore, the law gives you a unique privilege not to speak about the jury's work.
although you are at liberty to speak with anyone about your deliberations, you are also at liberty to refuse to speak to anyone. a request to discuss either your verdict or your deliberations may come from those who are simply curious, from those who might seek to find fault with you, from the media, from the attorneys, or elsewhere. it will be up to you to decide whether to preserve your privacy as a juror. is there anything we need to take up before the jury before they're sent back to the jury room to be discharged? >> no, your honor. >> no, your honor. thank you. >> ladies, thank you very much. you will be taken back to the jury room to be discharged. >> please be seated. mr. zimmerman, i have signed the
judgment that confirms the jury's verdict. your bond will be released. your gps monitor will be cut off when you exit the courtroom over here. and you have no further business with the court. >> thank you, your honor. >> thank you. is there anything else this court needs to take up before we recess for this case? thank you all very much. court is -- oh, the evidence will be released. the evidence will be released. >> a case that riveted a nation. the death of an unarmed teenager, trayvon martin. the question of george zimmerman and whether he acted in self-defense, clearly the conclusion that a jury of six women came to tonight. george zimmerman, not guilty. it was a case that was as much about larger issues. it was about guns in this country. it was about race in this country. the reverend al sharpton joins
us now. your reaction. >> well, i think that this is an atrocity. i think that it is probably one of the worst situations that i've seen. what this jury has done is establish a precedent that when you are young and fit a certain profile, you can be committing no crime. just bringing some skittles and iced tea home to your brother and be killed and someone can claim self-defense. having been exposed with all kinds of lies. all kinds of inconsistencies. we had, even at trial when he is exposed over and over again as a liar, he is acquitted. this is a sad day in the country. i think that we clearly must move on to the next step in terms of the federal government and in terms of the civil
courts. clearly, we want people to be disciplined, strategic. this is a slap in the face to those that believe in justice in this country. >> you spend time in that communicate. you talked to many of the people who were involved. you walked in that neighborhood. you saw where trayvon martin died. your reaction. >> well, i have two reactions. one, we talked earlier about the social pressures on these jurors. these were five white women. the other juror of indeterminate race. it is remarkable in 2013 we are not sure of people's race but that's what we're going with. they had to go home to a community in sanford that was split along racial lines. in a lot of ways, a conservative community supporting george zimmerman, has become something of a matter of conservative dogma. you saw gun owners, people conservative supporting him. he raised $300,000. that did not come from no one. that came from people ferry venlly believing in his defense.
one bought him his clothes. i think those jurors had to be mindful going home to their community and how they would explain convicting him. i think those social pressures existed too. to talk about black sanford. not only that but black americans who are tweeting me now. there has been a sense of demoralization and really depression about this case from the very beginning. the notion that a black man's life isn't worth much in america. was tied up in this case. and the notion that this boy walking home was out of place just by being there. by being dressed the way he is. that his existence was almost illegal. someone acting in the guise of a police officer but with no authority, given to him by the law could question, detain, follow, shoot and kill a young black man and not even be arrested. just be sent home. a lot of african-americans in sanford, this will double them down on their feelings with the sanford police.
about the justice system. about not counting, not mattering. i had a young man from sanford texting me while we were on the air who was saying the tension was so thick, he could not stand it. for a the love african-americans, this is a country when the, this is a moment when the country sends them a message. and the message is it's okay to shoot and kill one of your sons because it just doesn't matter that much. unfortunately, that's the message that i'm getting back from a lot of people who are really depressed. not just african-americans. white, black, hispanic people who are saying, i'm depressed. i feel down. this hurts. and i think it will hurt for a long time. >> we see the reaction of george zimmerman's family. there are tears, hugs and smiles. outside a crowd that has been there through much of this night and most of them supporters of trayvon martin. let me go to craig melvin and get a sense of what the reaction was there when the verdict was heard. >> we listened very closely to that crowd that has been gathered outside the courthouse for all day and much of yesterday as well.
when that verdict was read at 9:59 p.m., silence. you could not -- we did not even hear a gasp. and we started to hear some sirens as well. right now we look over there. they're still there. the folks who gathered there are still hanging out outside the courthouse. no chanting. no singing. we did note during the reading of the verdict, george zimmerman's family all sitting there. they were holding hands across the row. their hands were locked. george zimmerman as well. his demeanor, different, obviously than it had been through the trial. george zimmerman did not express a great deal of emotion at any point during the trial. we saw him take several deep breaths before that verdict was read. and shortly after, when i say shortly, i mean probably 90 seconds after the verdict was read. he was laughing with his attorneys, hugging, shaking
hands, smiling, appeared to be tremendously relieved. also, right now we can tell that you we hear some choppers above us. those are, folks at home who may hear those as well. those are news helicopters. those are not law enforcement helicopters. a number of news helicopters. obviously they've been covering the story extensively for the past 17 months as well. they've had choppers up much of the evening. you can see from this vantage point that the crowd that had been assembled there, they are starting to leave. peacefully, we should note. they are starting to presumably head home. >> and also those choppers, they have very specific instructions to keep their cameras off of the back of that criminal court building. that it is the right of these jurors, if they choose to leave and not come to the microphones, to do so at this point. reverend al, you said that now
we have to move forward. but what is the next step after this? >> well, i certainly will be convening a conference call of those of us that have protested this from the beginning. the legal step forward is that the family has a civil suit that now i'm sure will fast forward. zimmerman will have to testify in that suit. and he will be confronted with these inconsistencies and possibly can say things that can lead to new evidence. the federal government, the justice department suspended its investigation, is my understanding. we will probably be calling on them now to remove that suspension and move forward with the investigation to see if their civil rights violations. clearly, we will be moving in the next few hours to where the next steps will be. >> again, we don't know whether the jurors will come to the microphone or at what point they may answer any questions. but lisa bloom, what question do you have? what do you want to know from
them about how they came to this conclusion? >> well, let me give you my legal assessment of this. unlike reverend al who labored valiantly with the family from the beginning to make this happen, i came into this case with basically a clean slate. i didn't know much about it other than what i read in the papers. and i watched this trial minute by minute, day by day. reverend al knows, on his show every day. early on i thought the prosecution was not doing such a great job. by the end of the prosecution case, i thought they had improved. they had put on some good witnesses. by the end of the defense case, i had a lot of sharp criticisms for the prosecution in this case. and particularly in closing arguments, i was really surprised at how weak the prosecution was. if i may be honest in closing arguments. i think the prosecution team was clearly out-lawyered by the defense team. and i think the evidence was there to convict, if not of second-degree murder, certainly of manslaughter. but the prosecution team making
some very odd decisions and the way they put this case in, particularly in closing argument. asking questions and using a lot of maybes and mights, rather than connecting the dots. leaving a very wide door open for the defense to say, this is a reasonable doubt case. and i know these prosecutors practice down there. and i thought programs that was the strategy that was unique to them. but it was really very surprising to me. this prosecution team missed a lot in this case. they missed the fact that george zimmerman, when he said his head was being pounded on the cement, he was actually on the grass many feet away from the cement. that was not pointed out in closing argument. until closing argument, they missed the placement of the gun behind george zimmerman, inside his pants. they mentioned it for the first time in closing argument and glossed over it and moved. on that should have been a central point. they mention that had trayvon martin was wearing a hoodie with a sweatshirt underneath which explains why it would be separated from his body even if
he were in a standing position. that was an important defense argument. they refused to address the issue of race. they hid from the issue of race while the defense addressed it squarely. and they never offered a theory of the case. so when i was asked to indicate, as i think many legal pundits were. i want to emphasize to everybody listening, that doesn't mean the evidence wasn't there. i can't explain why the prosecution in this case made the decisions that they made but this was a very predictable outcome. >> we are less than two minutes away from the state attorney coming to the microphone and reto this. i think if we can briefly, it is worth making at least a statement about, does this speak to a larger issue of race in america and our perceptions of young black men who have a hoodie up and are walking through a neighborhood. is it about the prosecution? is about it this jury? do we know? >> i think this is the reason why you need to make sure the
juries are balanced more by race. you had in this case, six jurors. none of whom is a young black man who had that experience of walking through a store and having people follow you around or walking around. being yourself. being seen as dangerous when the white owner of facebook, the guy who owned facebook could go on a who had three on the new york stock exchange and not be seen as criminal. i remind everyone that you had a juror from sanford. a very conservative high level ownership of guns. and there was a fealty that a gun owner should be able to carry, should be able to conceal and carry. a severe protection in the law for the discharge of a firearm in that state. florida is a state that is essentially run by the nra. the lobbyists for the nra. people call them the de facto governor of florida. a gun state.
if you discharge your firearm, you are going to get a lot of support in florida. if you coupull a jury with no african-americans on it, you won't get people with the life experience of trayvon martin and his family. i never thought you had a case that was built for the martin family. it was never built to sympathize with their experience or with trayvon. the first time that the prosecution really brought home that emotional context for the death of this boy was in john guy's closing. that's when he finally forced everyone to look at the emotional center of the case which was a young man whose last act on earth as john guy that, to get home. it was the first time the prosecution did that. i'm with lisa. there were a lot of mistakes made. a lot of courses not taken. conceding george zimmerman on the top. not litigating the notion of why did george zimmerman get out of his car? which everybody talked about, like every day including on
social media. but they didn't do it. so i think the prosecutors will go back and look at what they did. and they have to find a lot of mistakes that they made. you know what? they can't appeal. they have simply lost. >> there is a reason why african-americans are underrepresented. not only on this jury but on almost every jury in america. that's because a felony disenfranchisement laws which means convicted felons cannot serve on juries. in some states, that's as many as one in three or one in four african-american men. across the board, african-americans are underrepresented on juries and african-americans are overrepresented as defendants. meaning they're far less likely to get a jury of their peers. >> and far more represented in incarceration. even john guy said -- >> we're going to go listen to the state's attorney now. let's listen to their reaction to the not guilty verdict. >> we are so proud to stand before you and to tell you that when we announce the charges, 15
months ago, we also promise that we would seek the truth for trayvon martin and due process for george zimmerman. that we would give all of the facts and details of this very difficult case before a jury. and that we chose to do it that way because we felt that everyone had a right to know everything about this case. that for a case like this to come out in bits and pieces served no good to no one. as mr. guy told the jury yesterday, to the living, we owe respect. to the dead we owe the truth. we have been respectful to the living. we have done our best to assure due process to all involved. and we believe that we brought out the truth on behalf of trayvon martin. there are so many people to thank. starting with sheriff eslinger
and his entire sheriff's office. they've been so good to us as has michelle ken and all of the people here. as you know, we traveled from our own circuit to be here and that has not been easy. but it's been made so much the better by having so many people be gracious. you have respected our privacy, you the media. because we said after the press conference that we were going to try this case in the courtroom. not in the media. and we appreciate your respecting our privacy in doing that. i have an amazing team of lawyers, paralegals and investigators who put their lives on hold and with me, accepted the governor's assignment to take on this difficult investigation and this difficult case. and i'm so proud to stand here with them and to be part of the historical aspect of this case, to show that the american
justice system can and should only be done in a court of law. i don't believe it helps anyone for us to be out espousing opinions about our cases, and i think as you see, we put this case in front of a jury. and that leads me to thanking the jury for the 16 hours of deliberation that they took to go over all of the facts and circumstances. what we always believed was that this was a case of details that had to be analyzed very, very carefully. i could never understand people, even people with law degrees who had not read all of the police reports. who had not read all of the witness statements. yet who came one opinions one way or the other. and this team of people standing with me who stand with me every day in the fourth circuit, and try tough cases like this, all the time, knew we had to do the
best to get the entire facts and details of this case out and before a jury. i think this jury worked very hard. we honor them for their service. judge nelson worked very hard. we want her to know that we appreciate all that she did to keep this case on course. and of course, our hearts as always go out to our victim's famtly and all victims of crime. as long as they know there will always be prosecutors fighting for the truth, i think the victims will continue to rely on this justice system. i'll turn it over. bernie, would you like to say a few words? >> i want to thank you all for respecting our privacy. i am disappointed, as we are with the verdict. but we accept it. we live in a great country that has a great criminal justice system. it is not perfect but it is the
best in the world and we respect the jury's verdict. >> john? >> i would also like to thank you for your time and attention that you give in this case. both sides are deserving of your attention. we have, from the beginning, just prayed for the truth to come out and for peace to be the result and that continues to be our prayers and we believed they have been answered. >> rich? >> i would like to say to the family of the dead teenager, trayvon martin, that i appreciate the way they have handled this matter. they have been dignified. they have showed class. they have kept their pain in check when they needed to and they have grieved when they needed to. and i think that they have handled it like ladies and gentlemen. it can't have been easy and it won't be easy. i ask that, i know you all have a job to do but when you approach all that, keep them in
mine, too. thank you. >> i also want to thank the thousands of people who sent prayers our way, held us in their thoughts throughout this entire process. we got a lot of encouragement from a lot of people. but again, this is something that we do in our circuit. we try a lot of murder cases. we never know what a jury is going to do. we go into every case putting our best case forward and leaving it in their hands and that's what we did in this case. is it appropriate to take questions? >> [ inaudible ]. >> well, we charge what we believe we can prove based on our standard jury instructions and based on the facts of the case. so that's why we charged second-degree murder. we truly believe that the mindset of george zimmerman and the words that he used and the reason that he was out doing what he was doing fit the bill
for second-degree murder. second-degree murder is a general intent crime. unlike first-degree murder which requires specific intend and sort of a design -- i'm sorry. i was not finished with my answer. >> [ inaudible ]. >> i didn't finish my answer. and so because it is a general intent crime, you look at the way the crime is committed. it doesn't have to be between two people who know each other. >> what was the greatest challenge that your team faced -- [ inaudible ]. >> i think one of the greatest challenges we faced is taking over a case that had already been being investigated for as long as it was before we stepped in and were able to start conducting our own investigation. it was a challenge but it's one we took when the governor assigned this case to us. and we did everything we possibly could. yes, ma'am. i'm sorry. would you just let me know and i'll answer. thank you. >> for the time of london and the daily beast. i wondered if you are able to
pinpoint one aspect of the case or one i'm of evidence or witness evidence that let you down on this. >> oh, we never would say that anything let us down. we are used to the imperfection of both witnesses and evidence in criminal cases. and we've all been trying criminal cases for a very long time. and you just can't guess before you take a case to a jury how something is going to turn out. so you work very hard. you put your witnesses on the stand. you argue your case to the jury. and then you focus on the law and the arguments and then you leave it in the hands of the jury. what we promised to do was to get this case in front of a jury and give george zimmerman and trayvon martin each a day in court. >> [ inaudible ]. >> i'm sorry. nbc news. can you tell me if you and the prosecution team have had a chance to speak with face to
face trayvon martin's parents? >> well, i spoke with sybrina earlier today. do you mean since the verdict? >> yes, ma'am. >> no, we have not. we came straight down here after the verdict. >> wftv. i was wondering, do you think that the judge got it wrong with the felony murder based on child abuse? or were you just disappointed with that ruling? >> thank you for asking about the lesser included. scheduled two lesser includeds are a part of the standard jury instructions. once you've tried your case, then you are to look at, obviously, second-degree murder, manslaughter is a necessarily lesser included. a schedule one. then if we believe the facts of our case fit any of the schedule two lesser includeds, we ask for them. a charge conference is usually a very basic part of a trial and doesn't require a lot of drama, quite frankly. so because trayvon martin was 17
at the time he was killed, we believe because we believe it was an intentional killing. that the facts fit the third degree felony murder. third degree felony murder is a nonenumerated felony. a complicated concept but it is a schedule two lesser included which is why we requested it. we request lesser included. the judge gives what she believes is appropriate and that's how we try cases. >> from the "miami herald," can you talk about florida's stand your ground law and whether or not the changes in the law in 2005 affected the facts in this case and whether it could have been won, perhaps, prethe changes in the law. >> well justified use of deadly force has changed. stand your ground is a procedural mechanism, as we call it. we fully expected because of what we were hearing, that the defense would request a stand your ground hearing and we would have put on the same evidence. it would have been just in front of a judge instead of a jury. the duty to retreat aspect
actually had sort of disappeared before stand your ground kicked in. you're talking about the castle doctrine and how that got extended into public areas? yes. a very complicated and difficult area of the law. i think i did allude to that pretty specifically when we first announced the charges. justifiable use of deadly force is one of the most difficult areas of the law and one of the most difficult affirmative defenses to which we respond in our criminal cases. yes. >> christy o'connor. at the beginning of this case, the country felt that there was such a strong likelihood that you would prove that that voice was trayvon's, and then obviously things turned around. talk about that voice tape. whether, and also, any other evidence that you thought was strong and what happened to it and how it affected you will. >> what was convincing to us, when we listened to the tape is that the scream stops the moment the shot is fired.
that's the kind of common sense evidence prosecutors rely on every day. that scream stops when the shot is fired. so we always believed after hearing that tape that it was trayvon martin. >> mike galanos with hln. piggybacking off that, was that the argument, one of the key ones you had to win? who was screaming for help? maybe it was the severity of george zimmerman's injuries. did you feel you had to win those? >> that's another interesting point. a lot of people said, why didn't we produce the photographs of george zimmerman's injuries? the blood on the back of his head? well, one of the reasons is because we didn't also produce the picture of his physician's assistant who said the cut was this big. so see, when you put together a case, you have to analyze all of it. not just what was going on at the time of the crime. so those injuries, we believe, did not rise to great bodily harm. children across this country, athletes get injuries like that every day and go right back into the game. or their parents kiss them after
they've fallen off their bike and they go right back in. i'm not trying to minimalize this but we did not believe that what the statements were that were made by george zimmerman comported with injuries of great bodily harmful and one of the other key pieces of evidence as christy asked earlier, we don't believe he could have been straddled and had the gun on that inside back holster and gotten it out if he was truly being beaten at the time the shot was fired. and so that's another key element in our decision to file charges. yes, ma'am. >> lisa lucas, new york daily news. >> hi, lisa. >> let's talk about rachel jeantel's testimony. were you disappointed in the result of that testimony? do you think that damaged the case? >> lisa, we deal with witnesses to our homicides on a regular basis who are sometimes friends of the defendant, who are sometimes friends of the victim. a lot of them may or may not be educated. a lot of them may or may not have good memories.
eyewitnesses and ear witnesses come with just a realm of issues. and so you can't say that you're disappointed in them as long as you've asked them to take the stand and tell the truth and you believe your witnesses have done that. i apologize for messing up the protocol. >> i'm barbara from reuters. you said earlier that one of the greatest challenges of this case was taking over an investigation that had been handled by another agency for so long. are you saying that the sanford police department messed up this case? >> absolutely not. >> would it have been different if you had handled it from the beginning? >> absolutely not. what i'm talking about is the burden that it put on us to come in after the fact the way we work shootings, we work side by side from the police from the time of the shooting. that's not a criticism of anybody. it just made it more difficult for us than what we're used to. no, i think during the press conference, i told you all that we believe the sanford police
did everything that they could that night. let me remained people again that when a citizen does a shooting, and it is not in the commission of a felony. a full blown felony like they're being robbed. they're being raped. it is an encounter that happen like this in mutual territory. those are a lot more difficult. and we have to look at those very carefully. justifiable use of deadly force is something we look at when police officers have to take a life or have to apply deadly force. when citizens have to do it. and when it happens inside their dwelling or inside the store that they own, or during the commission of a forceable felony, that is so much easier of a decision to make. when two people are in mutual ground and make no mistake about it. trayvon had every bit as much the right to be on the premises that they were on as did george
zimmerman. then that then goes to all the facts and circumstances behind the case. and that's why this case was unique in that sense. that's why it was difficult. >> once you determined that you could be -- once you found out that you could not determine who started that confrontation, why did you decide to go forward? isn't that a key point of a case like this? >> i'll let bernie answer that. >> i think we have to go back to the beginning. who was following who? >> i'm sorry. bernie. >> who was following who? isn't that what this case boils down to? that was our theory. now, we respect a jury's verdict. really what it boiled down to is a kid minding his own business. being followed by a stranger. so i would submit that's when it started. i don't know if that answers your question. >> when you -- >> that's not the theory.
that's the facts. you'll be able to inquire. it boils down to you have a 17-year-old kid who is minding his own business, wearing a hoodie and gets acosted, gets followed by an individual who wants to be a cop. >> i do want to mention one more thing. this case has never been about race, nor has it ever been about the right to bear arms. not in the sense of proving this as a criminal case. but trayvon martin was profiled. there is no doubt that he was profiled to be a criminal. and if race was one of the aspects in george zimmerman's mind, then we believe we put out the proof necessary to show that zimmerman did profile trayvon martin. but the right to bear arms is a right in which we all believe. i especially believe in that right.
what we want is responsible use when someone feels they have to use a gun to take a life. they have to be responsible in their ugs and we believe that this case was about boundaries and george zimmerman exceeded those boundaries. >> a quick question for you. you mention that had you're disappointed in today's verdict. can you talk a little bit, you guys put a lot of effort, a lot of time, a grueling schedule, 17 months. you talk about that frustration? >> well, let me make sure i say it clearly. i respect the jury's verdict. this is no criticism of the jury verdict. i believe wholeheartedly that we live in the greatest country in the world so i accept it. but i am disappointed. i've been trying a lot of cases. i tried 300 something cases about, 80 something murder cases. this is only my second murder case that i've lost. i am a disappointed? yes. i thought he was guilty.
what matters is what the jury that and i accept it. i don't know if that answered your question. >> mr. de la rionda, could i get your impression of the 2005 expansion of the florida's self-defense statutes? does this make your job harder? >> you know, self-defense has existed for a long time. and we've dealt with for a long time. i personally have tried, 10, 15 self-defense cases. they're tough cases but we accept them. the law has not changed that much. stand your ground was a big thing but the law has not changed. we believe in the right the bear arms and the right to self-defense. we felt in this case that it was not proeappropriate. >> john guy talked about the fact that this would be a verdict that sent a message and that it was going to be about what happens when a guy follows a young child and then shoots him. can you tell me what you think
about what this verdict means to the nation and what it says? >> yeah. i don't believe i said it would send a message. criminal cases are about victims. a one-on-one confrontation. it was a determination about what that between those two individuals. i certainly didn't mean to characterize this as sending a message outside the courtroom. >> one more question. >> this question is about ben. since testifying in that pretrial hearing about discovery evidence, we understand that he was terminated. can you talk to us about why he was material natd from your office? >> i believe that we have released a letter that details why he was materiterminated. we want to keep a promise on what we promised 15 months ago. to get the evidence in front of a jury, or a judge if it had been a stand your ground hearing. i believe that's what we've done. i believe the focus needs to be
on how the system worked and how now everyone in this country, because of you all, because of you all covering this case, can say that they know the facts that were allowed in front of the jury and now they know and can make up their own minds about the guilt of george zimmerman and know that this jury gave it a lot of time and attention. i don't think anybody will tell you that they don't appreciate how much the jury did. one more thing that i did forget to mention earlier. when you asked about second-degree murder, remember that the definition of that is an act or a series of acts. we believe the series of acts of mr. zimmerman and what he did leading to trayvon martin's death were why we were able to file second-degree murder. i'm sorry. was that the last question? again, we want to thank all of you. we want to thank all of the people who have sent prayers our way. we want to thank again the people of seminole koinl for allowing us to come in here and
try this case. god bless you. we do ask for peace and for privacy to the extent that trayvon martin's family wants that privacy. thank you very much. >> and the prosecution team. you saw angela corey. she was not arguing this case. the other three lawyers you saw, bernie de la rionda, richard manti are all expressing a certain amount of emotion and understandably, disappointment that george zimmerman has been found not guilty. melissa harris-perry -- i'm sorry. oh, mark o'mara is at the camera. we're getting the defense team so let's go back. >> so a letter that i wrote to the sheriff. i think it needs to be spoken. it was meant as a letter to him personally but he was okay with me reading it to you. so we want to take a minute to acknowledge, not only the court
system and the judge making sure this trial got moved forward and got to a good conclusion. i don't think that anybody here realizes what effort was put into by the sheriff's office and sanford police department to make sure that everything that we had to do in this case was done properly and was done in a way that ensures the safety of the community. so if you would indulge me for just a minute. you will notice in my arguments, if not my letter. i want to take a moment to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for the way your organization has handled the george zimmerman matter. i want to get this letter to you before the verdict. this was july 8th, last week, because i did not want the message to be impacted one way or the other by the eventual outcome. i know your involvement preceded my involvement back in i am a 2012 and that you used the entirety of your department's resources to properly address the reality of where this case was and the potential of where it might go on any given day.
while i understand that i am unaware of most of the work that your department has done, i am very aware of at least some of the results. i also want to stand by virtue of the confidential nature of the efforts, you will never receive true recognition of the work that achieved the result. the county wide impact of this case and your responses to it. the integrity and the dedication that you and the entire sheriff's office has brought to this difficult and complex situation has in large part helped direct it toward a more rational and peaceful unfolding. i am not sure what the next couple. weeks may bring. i am confident that you will continue to protect your county, its citizens and its institutions, particularly the now often asailed judicial system. i want to express my heart felt gratitude for the way you handled me and my team throughout the difficult times, the men ask women of your department have treated all members of the process, my team to the martin family to the
prosecution to the public in a completely professional and respectful way. we have done in it such an organized and seamless manner that their presence went almost completely unnoticed. what i have noticed is your department's calm certainty that they know what to do, how to do it, and how to protect all of those involved, including the process while accomplishing their tasks. personally this made my job much easier because i can focus my team's efforts in the proper presentation of the case without concerns for outside influences or logistical concerns. we come to the courthouse every day knowing that you have that covered. i do not know what awards or commendations are available to acknowledge the pure perfection with which you and your department have handled the entire event but i am certain that you have the vote of every member of my team interesting prosecution team, the judicial staff, the media and everyone who has interacted with your department in this case. thanks again. i just thought that was
appropriate because both the sheriff and sanford pd has done an amazing job in this case peaceful and successful. having said that, we appreciate the jury's time and effort. we really do. they spent an enormous amount of time during the trial listening. they were very intent. i mentioned at some point that the jurors, you have to wake them up or shouting a file. not this jury. they listened, they took notes. they were as engaged as he shall else in the process and it made for the type of verdict that we had to have which was a verdict that listened to all available facts. not all the facts but all the available facts. the evidence, the law and the time and consideration that the jury gave to it before making that final decision. obviously, we are exstatic with the results. george zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself and self-defense. i'm glad the jury saw it that way and i hope everyone who
thanks, particularly those who doubted george's reason and doubted his background now understand that the jury knew everything that they knew was enough for them to find him not guilty. you know even more than the jury knew about both parties and the george was the type of individual from what you know and his involvement with this community. this was not a unique event for george to try and be involved with this community. to be involved with the police when necessary. i'm just glad the jury saw it that way. very, very happy with the results. >> sometimes i can be a little more blunlt. i think the prosecution of george zimmerman was disgraceful. i am gratified by the jury's verdict as happy as i am for george zimmerman.
i am thrilled that this jury kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty. for that, we are eternally grateful. but it makes me sad, too. that it took this long under these circumstances to finally get justice. >> thank you. hi. there this case became a little personal for you. there were some threats made to your family. some jabs about opening statements. we all watched as things got heated between and you judge nelson. can you talk about what this was like for you? this trial these last few weeks personally? >> sure. stop me if you've heard this one before. no. i'm not going to talk about that. no. this trial is about george zimmerman. not about pictures of ice cream
cones or -- i still think the joke is funny. i'm sorry about that. i'm sorry i didn't tell it better but there was an important reason for it. there needed to be a disconnect, frankly. a disconnect from an act that was hard to follow. but i knew, mr. o'mara knew and you soon found out that it was indeed just an act. i couldn't follow that act with that kind of passion and glaring and staring and all of that. we needed facts. unlike what miss corey said, they brought the facts. they didn't. anybody that watched this trial knew the defense put on the case. we proved george zimmerman was not guilty. so no, i won't talk about that. >> yes, sir, ben montgomery, tampa bay times. can you give us any insight into mr. zimmerman's state of mind upon hearing the verdict? >> i don't know how you can feel when you're in trauma and stress
for 16 months and -- he's very very happy with the result, obviously. there is just a release that happen, an emotion release, endorphin release, adrenaline release. i think it will probably settle on him tonight when he is with his family and can actually realize that he doesn't need to come back to the courthouse tomorrow or ever again unless he wants to under his own free will. so i think he will be great. i think he is still worried and hopefully, everyone will respect the jury's verdict as they should and most have said they would. and we'll take it day by day. he is doing good. >> this is grace with "in session." i know this is a yes or no question but i want you to expand on it. >> i need to apologize over the public defender in this state. for this reason.
i said that the way that we were treated in the discovery process, and the fights that we had to go through in the discovery process made me think that maybe the prosecution thought they are dealing with a couple of young overworked public defenders. and that insulted public defenders. don west was one. i learned my craft from public defenders. when i was a prosecutor, that's who i learned from. so to the extent that there was an insult there, i apologize for it. what i men to say is that it seemed as though the prosecution was used to getting away with what they got away with, with the enormous demands they put upon us to try to get discovery that in 30 years of experience, i've always gotten on the table right up front. so yes, it was a fight that we had to fight. they outfunded us. if only we had the time to fight for the stuff, the information, the discovery, the just result
that we had to fight for, this case might have been tried six months ago. and certainly i wouldn't have had the hundreds and hundreds hours wasted in a situation where they never should have made us waste time. was it fair? it was a little bit david and goliath but we won. >> danny morales with the valencia voice here. george had a very good poker face on when the verdict came in. at what point did he express his gratitude to you and how excited he was to finally be able to go home? >> i think per what we discussed with him beforehand, it was after everyone left the room where you can actually show a little more emotions. when you have an emotional outpouring like that, sometime you get that on a camera or something. it is not really what you want to see. he certainly thanked us, obviously and i think he was able to finally e-mote as it became a realization. >> new york daily news. i would like to ask you was your
best moment and your weakest moment and ask the same of you to say for the prosecution. >> i think the best moment was when they said not guilty. i think that was probably -- right? the best moment right then. >> i agree with that. >> during the trial? >> if you haven't heard of trial hypnosis, i'll explain it to you. i absolutely believe every time i opened my mouth it was a great moment. nobody else thought so. but i always did. so it was the whole -- it's a trial. it is where we live. like a surgeon being in surgery. it is where you want to be. it is what you want to do. so i would, everything that we did was with a purpose and a plan. most of it worked out how we wanted. every emotion we filed. every argument we made. it is what we do as trial lawyers. >> lisa lambkin. a couple legal questions.
one is speaking about the state attorney's office now, that you've gotten the not guilty verdict you wanted. are you going to pursue the sanctions? number one. and then second of all, hopefully not upsetting your wife because i'm sure you will need a vacation. how do you address the civil aspect of this now? as far as the stand your ground and keeping george zimmerman from being liable. >> sure. as to the first, yes, a sanctions hearing to be set. there is not only that but of course, the state is then responsible for a lot of the cost that's we've incurred to acquit george zimmerman. so we'll have a hearing on that as well. so we're not quite done yet. and on the civil aspect, if someone believes that it is appropriate to sue george zimmerman, then we will seek and we will get immunity in a civil hearing. and we'll see how many civil lawsuits spawn from this fiasco. so -- >> with fox news, what happens
to, i know this seem like a basic follow-up. what happens after mr. zimmerman? are we going to hear from him? where does he go? what's next for your client? >> i don't know what you do after 16 months of this. i'm really not sure. i think you need to go somewhere. relax. get your bearings back. i think that he would like to, once he settles in, let you know who he really is. since that could not be told except through us and even in that way, quite limited. but i'm sure that if he could wave his magic wand, he would get his life back. he always brings up the idea, the life that's lost forever. i'm not comparing the two. now that the jury decided he acted properly and self-defense, maybe we can give him a little of that understanding as well. that he needs to get on with his
life after having suffered several traumas. >> hello, sir. a two-part question. with the l.a. times, the first part is, the prosecution raised this question about whether the outcome would be different if the races of the defendant and the victim were different. do you think it would have been different if george zimmerman was black? and the other part of my question was does he fear for his safety, surrounding his security? >> i think that things would have been different if george had been black for this reason. he never would have been charged with the crime of it seems as though what happened was an event that was being looked into by sanford police department and quite honestly, as we now know, looked into quite well. i have taken advantage of police departments who have not done a good investigation of crimes. that's what i do for a living. when i looked at the sanford police department investigation, they had done quite a good job and you can compare what they did across the country to see
who does good or bad jobs with their investigation. they are doing quite a lot. what happened was this became a focus for a civil rights event. a wonderful event to have but they decided that george zimmerman would be the person who they were to blame. and sort of use as the creation of a civil rights violation, none of which was borne out by the facts. the facts that night. it was not borne out that he acted in a racial way. his history is a nonracist. and you know all the an he can dotes about the meantees and the children in his home. if only those who decided to condemn mr. zimmerman as quickly and as viciously as they did would have taken a little time to find out who it was that they were condemning, it would never have happened.
and it certainly would not have happen if he was black because those people who decided that they were going to make him the scape goat would not have. i'm sorry? she did have a two-part question. >> i'll ask her question because i wanted to ask that too. first of all, how concerned is he? is he going to sort of stay in hiding for a while and sort of feel it out and see what happens? and then the second question is, i've never seen jurors thank defense attorneys for giving them instructions on the law before. as what happened to you during jury selection. my jaw dropped open. what was your reaction when they thanked you for explaining the law? >> as to the first question, yes, he has to be very cautious and protective of his safety. because there is still a fringe element who have that at least,
in tweets and everything else, that they want revenge. that they will not listen to a verdict of not guilty. although i think everyone in this room would agree this was a very fair trial. more fair to the state on occasion than the defense but certainly it was a fair enough trial in that the state got to present everything they could. in that sense, there were people who have their anger. they will just have it because they're angry people. not because it is based in fact. we can't help that but we do need to be worried about. second question, everything i do i think is done well. it was, i don't remember a jury actually verbalizing thank you to me when i'm trying to help them understand an area of law as i talked about, is utterly unique and we drag them in off the street and ask them to take on our mantle of how we work our lives in the courtroom and do it well. maybe i'll take that as a
compliment that they were listening. and obviously they got an opportunity to put in. in practice with their verdict. >> don west, mike galanos, hln. you had a chance to cross examine ramp he will jeanel. did you relevant tish challenge? >> no question. it was a challenge. what i think we needed to establish with miss jeantel, while it took several hours to accomplish and those challenges within that itself. we showed through her testimony, when the phone call, the second to last phone call ended with trayvon martin. what was it? 7:12:48. when the next one started, and then when the event itself occurred. through that testimony corroborated by the phone record, we could show as mr. o'mara clearly pointed out in closing, there were four minutes between the time when trayvon
martin ran off until he reappeared and the confrontation with george zimmerman occurred. as well, the circumstances under which miss jeantel was asked to answer questions. was extraordinarily challenging for her. my goodness. she wanted to be left alone. she didn't volunteer anything until she was pulled out of this. the first interview she gave was with the family lawyer with the family on the other end of the phone. it was an interview made for tv, not for law enforcement that was then followed by an interview with -- the state attorney's office on april 2nd under the most extraordinary circumstances. it took place in miss fulton's living room with her sitting next to miss jeantel. that set the stage for the witness herself saying i was uncomfortable. i changed my testimony to,
really to know accommodate the feelings. that was the setting for all of this. plus, as she pointed out, she really didn't want to be there. was that a challenge? of course it was. i think ultimately, when you distill it to its important parts, that we did accomplish ultimately what we wanted. as for dr. bao, did you hear dr. de mayo's testimony? much of it was to set the stage for that. indicating whenner they would clearly disagree. trying to identify why and how they would disagree and then offering, i think, the foremost expert in the country on the very issue we had in our case. >> do you think this verdict will hurt race relations?
>> judge nelson run her courtroom very well. and she moved this case along at a pace that i appreciated. we were asking for motions to continue along the way. not because of her time line as much as the state's concerns over discovery. it turns out, we were able to accomplish what we needed to in the time she gave us. within the context of the courtroom, as i mentioned a couple times, i appreciate that she reminds me when i do thing like speaking objections or somehow no, no, no comes out of my mouth. that's okay. she needs to run a strict courtroom. and i think that she did. so i sort of appreciate that. i'm okay with that. we certainly had some concerns about rulings as they occurred but we respect them as the rulings they are. you had a second part to that? >> [ inaudible ] race relations? >> i kept saying a year ago that i really hope that they don't. i kept suggesting to mr. crump on three separate occasions that
we not suggest this as a civil rights case of the century. because it is not. it was a self-defense case. did it bring to the forefront the conversation that young black males are treated a certain way in the criminal justice system? absolutely. is that positive? absolutely. do we need to have that conversation? absolutely. however, if portenning that conversation on top of the zimmerman verdict will affect the ability to have that conversation, shame on them. that conversation needs to be had. now it may not be had because we have sort of artificially separated the two camps, if you will over this verdict. this verdict still has nothing to do with civil rights. it is not the context of the george zimmerman verdict. >> george howell with cnn. this question specifically to you, mr. west. as far as the relationship with the judge, the back and forth, can you talk to us a about it
about that? do you feel that you were getting fair treatment? a second question similar to both of you. what do you say -- >> after 16 hours and 20 minutes of deliberations, a jury has found george zimmerman not guilty. not guilty of second-degree murder. not guilty of manslaughter. he is a free man. the defense is now reacting to that verdict. >> what could you do you have tell people, people have watched around the country and have dug in on either side. what do you tell people given the tension that could follow this verdict? >> that has been a challenge for me. a number of extremely high stakes, death penalty cases. nothing like this with the media attention. nothing that had the case tried over and over and over again in the media. nothing where