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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Navy Jet Crashes Into Apartment Building; Jobs Report
Aired April 6, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: It's 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.
And we begin tonight with breaking news. A Navy fighter jet crashing into a Virginia Beach apartment complex just after takeoff this morning. Rescuers are searching at least five heavily damaged buildings. They're looking for survivors. They're looking for victims. Witnesses on the ground saw the plane going down, nose in the air and dumping fuel before it crashed, sending fire and thick black smoke into the air.
An eyewitness joining us now by telephone.
Sir, can you hear me?
MATTHEW EDWARDS, EYEWITNESS: Yes. Yes, I can.
BANFIELD: Tell me everything you saw.
EDWARDS: I just got of off work, and it was a little before noon. I was sitting on my couch and I heard a big bang and went to door and my uncle who lives across from me, his name is Pat Kavanaugh. We both came out and we looked up and saw the big black smoke behind our building.
He cuts back through his house. I come around the building and see the pilot in our backyard laying there. He was talking. I asked him if he was OK. He said yes and my uncle was right there with him. I didn't really worry about him too much because my uncle is an EMT, retired.
I went throughout the building complex, just yelling and telling everybody to get out. We have got to get away. Thank God, not a lot of people were home. It was crazy. Very crazy.
BANFIELD: And I had heard that the pilot may have said to some witnesses on the scene or at least residents on the scene he was sorry he had crashed into their home. Is that true, and did you see anything like that?
EDWARDS: Yes, ma'am, I did hear him say that as I was walking away from the pilot. He said that to my uncle as I was walking away. But, yes, I did hear that.
BANFIELD: I want you to stand by, Mr. Edwards, Matthew Edwards joining us, an eyewitness to the scene. Because our Barbara Starr is also standing by -- Barbara, what's the latest from the Pentagon on what happened and how this happened?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, this really incredible scene that we watched unfold a good part of the day happened apparently when the training flight took off from the Oceana Naval Air Station, a two-seater F-18.
By all accounts it ran into trouble very quickly because basically it crashed into the apartment building about two miles from the runway. So the working assumption right now is it did not achieve significant altitude before the pilots realized they were in trouble, leading them, forcing them into an ejection potentially at very low altitude.
Pilots as we have talked about very well trained to try and steer their plane away from populated areas. But these two may not have had any choice. We have the witnesses reporting flames under the plane. We have reports that fuel was coming out of the plane and the initial indications from the Navy are that that was not fuel dumping, but rather part of what this catastrophic malfunction may have been in the plane that led to the fuel basically flowing out of the plane.
So what the Navy is saying is that this was a catastrophic mechanical malfunction of some sort. They're going to be looking for the data recorder. They're going to be looking to pick up all the debris from this so they can look at it and analyze what happened.
BANFIELD: I just want to go back to what you mentioned a moment ago, and that is about the fuel being released from the plane beforehand. This is something they're assessing at this point whether the fuel was being dumped so the impact wasn't as critical or this could have been the beginning of the breakup of a plane.
STARR: Yes. You know, by all indications right now, they don't seem to think -- and these are very initial reports -- they don't seem to think it was necessarily what you and I would call a pilot dumping fuel for safety reasons, but more or less part of the malfunction.
I think it's very early on and they're going to be investigating all of this, trying to determine what happened. But, you know, the fact is the fact that it crashed less than two miles from the runway is the clearest indication that they ran into trouble very quickly and they were not able to achieve significant altitude.
BANFIELD: And then of course, Barbara, one of the accounts is also that one of the pilots was actually able to verbalize to a resident I'm sorry that we hit your house. You know how early reports come out.
I don't want to lend any credibility to that right away, but if that's something that they're discussing that would suggests that his or her condition is good at this point.
STARR: Yes, we did have some viewers on our air earlier today as you saw that said the pilot apologized for hitting their apartment building.
By all accounts at this point, and it may change through the night still, both of the pilots are OK. One already released. One still being treated. But still, let's be very clear here. Emergency services are continuing to search through the wreckage, search through the buildings.
There are mixed reports, mixed numbers about whether or not there may still be people on the ground missing because there are residents of these apartment buildings that clearly may have been away from their homes. They're walking through it all. They're trying to track down apartment by apartment who lived there, how many people lived there, their identities and try and make sure they know where they are and that they are safe.
Everyone is very hopeful, but I will tell you that until there's the final count, people are just holding their breath to see what the final situation is on the number of people on the ground, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Barbara, don't go anywhere. I have another question for you, but I want to jump in with someone who does live there, Matthew Edwards, who's an eyewitness.
Mr. Edwards, Can you still hear me?
EDWARDS: Yes, ma'am, I can.
BANFIELD: I want to ask you about those who may be unaccounted for at this time. Do you know -- as Barbara just reported emergency services continue to comb through the area, going through the burning embers, going through every spot they can in the residences. Do you know anything about who's unaccounted for? Do you have idea who is still left to be found?
EDWARDS: I actually -- I have sort of an idea. We were speaking with our general manager Earl and we were doing a count of everybody, of all our neighbors.
All of my neighbors and the neighbors across from me closest to the crash are pretty much accounted for. There is one older lady that I didn't quite hear about. But I'm pretty sure she's OK, because she was not home at the time. But I believe everybody got out. I think the only people that are really -- the only things that are really hurt are animals and buildings.
BANFIELD: And, Mr. Edwards, also we were looking at some pictures just a moment ago of what seemed like civilians and residents running in to help, to pull, you know, water hoses for firefighters. Can you tell me a little bit about the effort to join in and to sort of help in this crisis by bystanders?
EDWARDS: Absolutely. I personally put my hand on a hose and a firefighter asked me to help out and I personally, you know, carried things over to the scene.
I mean, it was amazing to see all the people just standing and the fire department said one thing and 30 people must have stepped off the curb to help. We were pulling hoses, bringing blocks, whatever.
BANFIELD: Our thoughts are with you and your neighbors as you continue to try to find those I believe six now who may be unaccounted for. Certainly better than the 30 who were unaccounted for before.
But, Matthew Edwards, thank you for your time tonight and for your perspective on this.
EDWARDS: Thank you. And thank you to those pilots. They really did their job.
BANFIELD: Yes, it sounds like it. Certainly, as the investigation continues, we will find out more about how that happened.
Barbara Starr, thank you as well. You will continue to update us as you find new information as well I hope tonight, right?
STARR: You bet.
BANFIELD: All right. Barbara Starr joining us live from the Pentagon as well. Thanks to both of you.
Up next, James Carville on today's tepid job numbers and the political fallout that that could cause for President Obama as he heads into full campaign mode for the fall.
BANFIELD: "Raw Politics" tonight and jobs, hiring slowed dramatically in March with employers taking on just 120,000 workers. That's half the job gains compared to the month before. The unemployment rate fell slightly though, 8.2 percent.
All year, President Obama has been pointing to the monthly figures, suggesting strong growth in the job market.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We just learned that our economy added 220,000 private sector jobs in December. After losing more than eight million jobs in the recession, we have added more than three million private sector jobs over the past 22 months.
Our businesses just added 233,000 jobs last month, for a total of nearly four million new jobs over the last two years. More companies are choosing to bring jobs back and invest in America.
American manufacturers are hiring again.
We have seen signs that our economy is growing stronger and creating jobs at a faster clip.
The economy is getting stronger.
The economy is growing stronger. We're heading in the right direction. And we're not going to let up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Well, not unexpected, but the Republicans are now the ones pointing to the monthly jobs report and using today's numbers to slam the president.
GOP candidate Mitt Romney saying -- quote -- "It is increasingly clear the Obama economy is not working and that after three years in the office the president's excuses have run out."
Let's bring in CNN political contributor James Carville to answer some tough questions about this.
Why, Mr. Carville? Is Mitt Romney wrong when he says that?
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, first of all, to be fair to the president, when he took office, they were losing three quarters of a million jobs a month.
But, look, I'm not a big believer that this economy is very good. I think when the president goes out and says things, the improvement, it's getting better out there, I don't think people like to hear that. So I don't think these numbers are very good, I didn't think the numbers last month were very good either.
I think the president needs to talk more about the middle class, talk about how he's not satisfied with the pace and why he has a jobs bill that's sitting there and languishing and doing nothing at the Congress and things like that. I don't think 120,000 is a very good number and I didn't think 220,000 was a very good number when you put it the overall context of the number of people who have lost their jobs.
BANFIELD: Gee, and you're the guy who calls himself on the airwaves the professional Democrat. If you not able to put a positive spin on it, how on earth can the campaign can put a positive spin on it?
CARVILLE: I don't know that the campaign has to put a positive spin on it.
CARVILLE: No. Look, when people, when the president on the campaign goes out and says things are getting better, you have a large number of people in the country that say, no, they're not. And if he thinks they are, he doesn't get my life.
And, by the way, he can easily say, all Romney wants to do is double down on the mess that got us here. His program is utterly absurd. I think he can come across like he's fighting for middle class people, that he's unsatisfied, that he's proposing things and the Republicans keep blocking him.
That's a much better message than things are getting better. That's not going to work out there.
CARVILLE: And it didn't work at 220. It's not going to work at 120.
BANFIELD: If he can harness that message. There was a pretty strident op-ed in "Wall Street Journal" this week saying that the battle will be about the economy, that the Republicans are going to say it has not been this bad of a recovery since the Great Depression.
Now are they wrong and how does President Obama take that message and somehow make it better? It's good, but it's not good enough.
CARVILLE: It's simple. There's never been a worse recession since the Great Depression than the one that their policies caused. So why would we would go back to the very policies that caused us this?
And the president would be well to argue that he's working day and night to try to do this, but, yes, he is unsatisfied with the pace of this recovery. And it's going to take a long time before people's incomes get back up. The middle class in this country has been hit by a truck. And, you know, that needs to be acknowledged.
BANFIELD: Hey, James, when you started this interview with me, I'm going to quote you. You said, when he took office we were losing three quarters of a million jobs per month.
CARVILLE: A month.
BANFIELD: I hear you. I hear you. And that's not good either.
And Gene Sperling said this today. He is the assistant to President Obama for economic policy. He said: "The economic hole the president inherited is very deep. We're making progress, but we're nowhere close to satisfied."
At what point though do you say this is 2012, that was 2009? You get these questions all the time. When do you have to take account for it and say, all right, my job, I can't continue to blame the administration before me?
CARVILLE: Well, I don't know -- first of all, I don't know that he's blaming the administration by pointing that out.
BANFIELD: I'm going to repeat it, James. He said the president inherited a very -- the hole that the president inherited is very deep. That's the hole that he's talking about from the Bush administration. That's not from day one.
CARVILLE: What Geno (ph) said is very accurate.
And the other thing is that what can be pointed out, however bad -- however difficult this economy is, this president has created more jobs in three years than President Bush created in eight. And that's private sector jobs. And one of things that has caused the job numbers to be horrific -- and I think the president did point this out -- is we have lost I think 600,000 public sector jobs since this recovery started.
But my point is that we should agree this number is not good enough, that it's a tepid number and it's going to be a while before the middle class can feel this recovery. I think that's what people want to hear.
BANFIELD: You think we will dip below 8 percent in the jobless rate before the election?
CARVILLE: I don't know. You know how it is. There's people that look and people that do that. I have no idea. But, you know, hopefully.
BANFIELD: Do you think we have to? If President Obama wants to keep his job, do you think we have to dip below 8 percent unemployment before Election Day?
CARVILLE: No. Look, in July -- I looked today. In July 2004, the economy created 73,000 jobs and President Bush got elected.
And another thing is Romney is the most popular -- most unpopular challenger in the history of modern polling. There's somebody that has got to run against President Obama. But the number -- this recession has been very, very difficult on a lot of families, particularly middle class families in this country.
And that just has to be acknowledged. And I think to not acknowledge that, it tells people you're not really in touch with what's going on out there in the country.
BANFIELD: All right, James Carville, it's always good to talk with you. Thanks so much.
CARVILLE: Always good. Thank you. You bet.
BANFIELD: By the way, I would love to be a fly on the wall in your house tonight to hear what your wife has to say about all of this. Any night.
CARVILLE: I got a fly swatter.
(CROSSTALK) CARVILLE: We have got a lot of flies down here. Thank you very much. You bet.
BANFIELD: ... Louisiana. Good to see you.
And we have got some breaking news that we want to bring you as well in the Trayvon Martin case. It's a 360 exclusive interview with an eyewitness to the tragedy. I want to let you know what she has to say about her encounter with the police that night. Might surprise you. And also coming up next, George Zimmerman's legal team and our own legal experts Mark Geragos and Sunny Hostin, are going to weigh in. It's all coming up.
BANFIELD: More breaking news tonight only on 360, a key witness to the killing of Trayvon Martin who says police turned down what might have been important information about this case. She also talked about whose voice she heard that night crying for help, Martin's or his killer, George Zimmerman.
In addition that, Zimmerman's attorney advancing new and some say novel an explanation of their client's head injuries that night, shaken baby syndrome. And more new data in case that's already seemed packed with too much information and too few hard facts.
Nearly six weeks since George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin scuffled, we still really don't know what happened in the minute or so before it began. Did Martin stalk and sucker punch Zimmerman or did Zimmerman confront Martin?
Conflicting claims, but again, no hard facts. Was Zimmerman being beaten to within an inch of permanent brain damage, as his brother has said, or was the scuffle minor enough for Zimmerman to get up and walk around and then just minutes later seemingly walk around a police station unharmed?
We have got grainy videotape, but no medical records and no forensic proof yet as to who was actually crying out for help or who was on top when the deadly shot was fired between those two who were scuffling.
No clear answers which leaves the case open to interpretation, speculation, accusations, but again, no resolution, which is why 360 and Anderson have been doing their level best to stick to the facts while trying to expand what we really do know.
And that's how we will do it tonight starting off with one of the eyewitnesses, an actual eyewitness. We have already confirmed through our reporters and our producers on the ground that this witness does live in the complex and that she has spoken with police. She broke her silence on this program last week and she hasn't spoken with anyone else. So we're bringing her back because tonight, she's got a lot more to say. We spoke exclusively earlier this evening. And we're showing her in shadow to conceal her identity.
BANFIELD: When you heard those voices that night, can you characterize what kind of scream you heard?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, there was two as I say yelled for help and the first one was like just a very clear loud yell for help.
But it really is the second one that really always will stay with me. It was kind of almost like a yelp. It was like a devastating, dispirit type of yell for help. And even to a sense, it could even be -- possibly have been a cry.
BANFIELD: Did it sound like you could determine it was someone who was in his late 20s or someone who was in his late teens?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, from the very beginning and I still do feel that it was the young boy.
BANFIELD: And when you say young boy, do you mean a 17-year-old?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Sorry. I kind of -- not knowing either person, I kind think there was the boy and there was the man, because the boy was -- well, the person was 17.
BANFIELD: Knowing now what you know, go back to that night. At the time, you didn't know how would anybody was in that struggle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.
BANFIELD: When you heard the yell, did you make a determination?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I definitely could tell that it was a younger, youthful voice than it was the deep voice that I heard when they were argue, and I heard them outside my window.
BANFIELD: Tell me more about the argument.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I didn't hear the words, but when I opened my window I could definitely hear someone arguing, someone yelling. It wasn't like someone was out there having a conversation.
BANFIELD: Were they both yelling?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could still hear the younger -- I'm saying again, the younger person's voice, but really the other voice was the one that was more dominant and loud.
BANFIELD: The deeper voice was louder?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. BANFIELD: What was the younger voice saying and what kind of a context can you give me with regard to that part of the argument?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you could still hear the other person's voice, but just not as much as the person that was being the louder aggressor.
BANFIELD: Could you make out anything that was being said between them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I could not. I just immediately knew that it was not somebody having a conversation. It was something very serious.
BANFIELD: It sounded like a confrontation?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BANFIELD: Did it sound like one was being confronted and another was defensive or did it sound like both were confrontational?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would have to say both, but you just really hear that one louder, dominant voice more than you hear the other one.
BANFIELD: The older person's voice or the deeper voice?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes.
BANFIELD: Did you ever hear any racial slurs in that confrontation?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, because I did not hear any words, just arguing.
BANFIELD: Did the argument sound serious enough that you thought someone is going to get hurt here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew there was something definitely wrong. Of course, then, when I saw it next, it was two men on the ground. So at that point I definitely knew there was something wrong and I needed to call.
BANFIELD: When you called 911, what did you tell them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told them that there was two men on the ground, something really horrible is happening.
BANFIELD: Did you talk to the dispatcher at the time that the gunshot went off?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I did.
BANFIELD: And what did the dispatcher ask you and what did you tell the dispatcher? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I kind of was watching and talking at the same time. And not really ever hearing what a gun sounds like in person, for me, it was more of a popping noise.
So I think in my mind, I'm thinking OK, that probably is a gunshot, but you're just in such disbelief that this is happening right outside your window.
BANFIELD: Did you tell the dispatcher I think I heard a gunshot?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BANFIELD: And what did the dispatcher ask?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I just said to him, I hear popping noises and I think it's a gunshot.
BANFIELD: Did the dispatcher ask for descriptions of what was going on as you were talking?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was more that I was describing because it was like I'm watching a movie and I'm telling you on the phone, you know, exactly what I'm hearing.
In fact, I even thought to myself, why am I telling him on the phone what's going on? Let me just take the phone and put it right up to the screen. Possibly he can even hear it.
BANFIELD: Is that what you did?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I did.
BANFIELD: You held your phone to the screen so the dispatcher could hear everything?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I did. But I'm not sure at what point I put it up, but I did tell him, I'm putting it up to the screen, maybe you can hear it.
BANFIELD: Where were you looking at the moment the gun fired?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was looking at the two men on the ground and heard the gunshot.
BANFIELD: Could you tell who was on the top, who was on the bottom?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know it was very dark, but I really would have to say that I thought it was the larger person that was on top.
BANFIELD: And when the gunfire went off, what happened to the larger man who you think might have been on the top? What happened at that moment?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I will just say a couple seconds later that larger man was walking closer to where I could see him. BANFIELD: Before those couple of seconds at the moment the gunshot went off, what happened with the larger man?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, obviously the other man -- the boy was dead and the other person got up and was walking away from the body.
BANFIELD: When you first saw him coming towards you, could you see any blood on his face? Was it light enough for you to be able to see any blood on his face if there was any there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was not light enough for me to see if there was any blood on the face.
BANFIELD: So there could have been, but it's just not something you could testify to?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I cannot testify because I did not see.
BANFIELD: Did he say anything?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a man that came out with a flashlight who was a resident and they possibly were saying something to each other, but I could not hear what the words were.
BANFIELD: Your experience with the police that night, did they ask you any questions? Were they interested in hearing your account?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. The lead investigator came into my house with another police officer and I taped what I witnessed.
BANFIELD: What kind of questions did they ask you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just what I saw, what I heard.
BANFIELD: Did they seem -- did they seem interested? Were they in-depth in their questioning of you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not sure if I would say in-depth, just that I kind of told what I saw and heard.
I did offer to show them where I did see the incident, and they said, no, we don't need to see it.
BANFIELD: They weren't interested in you taking them to that location?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, they were not. * WITNESS: I did offer to show them where I did see the incident and they said, no, we don't need to see it.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: They were not interested in you taking them to that location?
WITNESS: No, they were not. BANFIELD: Why do you suppose they weren't interested?
WITNESS: You have to ask them that.
BANFIELD: Were you surprised?
WITNESS: I don't know how investigators think.
BANFIELD: You offered to take them to the location where you saw them fighting?
BANFIELD: And they declined?
BANFIELD: In retrospect, are you surprised?
WITNESS: I can't answer either way.
BANFIELD: Did you get a feeling one way or another from these investigators things that they may have said to you while they were in your unit as to how this all unfolded?
WITNESS: Well, after I finished my taping and I still was feeling, you know, quite upset, I expressed that, you know, I'd never really forget those yells for help.
I wish I could have done something, you know, in retrospect and the lead investigator said to me kindly, he just said, "Well, if it makes you feel any better, the person that was yelling for help is alive."
BANFIELD: Since that time, the lead investigator, Chris Serino, has been reportedly -- an account of his says reportedly been to another resident who had a 10-year-old boy who called 911 that he didn't necessarily believe Mr. Zimmerman's story.
Does that surprise you?
WITNESS: Well, it was kind of bewildering to me at the time to think, wow, I really thought it was the boy crying for help, but here's the lead investigator, you know, telling me that, no, it was Mr. Zimmerman whom I know that name now.
BANFIELD: Where you saw the fight taking place, was there a hard surface anywhere nearby, a sidewalk or a street?
WITNESS: It's the back of the complex where homes -- the back of the homes were facing where it happened and there is a sidewalk. But when I watched it, they were always on the grass.
BANFIELD: How far away was the sidewalk?
WITNESS: I would say about four feet. BANFIELD: So they were about four feet away from a hard surface?
BANFIELD: If Mr. Zimmerman said that his head was being slammed against the sidewalk and that he was trying to maneuver himself on to the grass, would that make sense according to what you saw?
WITNESS: Well, I can't speak for him. I just know from the time that I watched it was entirely on the grass.
BANFIELD: Were the police receptive to your attempts to fill them in on further details after this incident?
WITNESS: Well, we had the community meeting with everyone and my developments and the police officers came and said it was very critical. If anybody has anything to say and something that they witnessed.
Actually they left their business cards on our doors and I just know me for, I called the lead detective twice and I still have not received a phone call back.
BANFIELD: Are you surprised by that?
WITNESS: I just thought that they would call me back.
BANFIELD: Again, a witness in the case of the shooting of Trayvon Martin afraid to show her identity, but at least speaking with us in silhouette to tell her story.
As to the allegation that the Sanford police were not terribly interested in the re-enactment or at least a tour of the crime scene that she witnessed, the scene that she witnessed at altercation I should say. We called the police for their response to this, but we didn't get a call back. It was late at night in Florida as well.
But on another note, in one of the questions I mentioned in there. There was an eyewitness that I had said was 10 years old, in fact 13 years old so misspeaking there.
Moving on, after that interview, I also spoke with eyewitness' attorney, Derek Brett. He said something very interesting about the state attorney who by the way has finally just two days ago interviewed this witness.
So the state attorney watching over this case has finally decided this witness needs to be interviewed. It happened on Wednesday.
But Derek Brett, the attorney for this said what was unusual about the interview was the lack of thoroughness that he saw in the state's investigation. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BANFIELD: Did you feel confident that the state attorney was thorough in its questioning of your client?
DEREK BRETT, ATTORNEY FOR EYEWITNESS: If this was a first time questioning session, then I would be very concerned. These gentlemen had affidavits, an affidavit from my client from before.
They -- he had at least whatever notes have been taken by the lead Sanford investigator, which I could be critical of that investigation and that question. I can state that.
But it's difficult to surmise exactly what the state attorney's office and their two investigators that called down from the Jacksonville state attorney's office actually knew at that point.
So do I think that there could have been other questions asked? Yes. Do I -- was I in any position to help them fill in the blanks or ask questions to my client? No, that's not my job. It's the job or investigator, even if it is necessary to reiterate questions.
BANFIELD: What was lacking in their questioning?
BRETT: It was very general. It was really just trying to fill I think from their perspective. I don't want to quote them on this, but basically a couple or some holes that they saw.
And that's what it was. It was 15 minutes that was filled also with, you know, general answer and some brief questions to my client, which my client answered thoroughly.
BANFIELD: It's 15 minutes.
BRETT: It's about 15 minutes.
BANFIELD: That's all the time the interview took?
BRETT: The actual question and answer time that's correct.
BANFIELD: How long did you expect the interview?
BRETT: Listen, as an attorney, I think I'm very much in the role of almost the police investigator. Police investigators asked, good police investigators asked very much the same types of questions an attorney will -- a good attorney will ask in a deposition or in a cross-examination in the courtroom.
BANFIELD: So, in this case?
BRETT: I would have -- I would have kept her around and I would have had her redo the entire story all over again.
Let me tell you something. I just sat through my client's interview with you. You asked more questions knowing probably less about this case than the state attorney's office did a couple of days ago.
BANFIELD: So we've contacted the state attorney's office about Mr. Brett's account and they declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing, which is fairly standard in a situation like this.
George Zimmerman's two lawyers were listening to our interviews with the eyewitness and with her attorney and so were Mark Geragos and Sunny Hostin and you are going to hear from all of them, next.
BANFIELD: Our breaking news tonight: an eyewitness to the Trayvon Martin killing who says police showed only limited interest in what she said she knew. She says they turned down her offer to show them potentially important information in the case.
Joining us now is George Zimmerman's legal team, Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner.
Welcome to both of you.
I think off the very start of this interview, we should probably ask you to react to these claims that this witness says that the Sanford police weren't interested in having her take them to the spot where she said she witnessed the scuffle. She wanted to almost show them a re-enactment and they said, no. We're OK.
Does that trouble you?
HAL UHRIG, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Not particularly. You know, it's a matter of how you try to evaluate what she perceive and what they actually did. I don't there's much question about where the scuffle took place, one shot rang out and the person apparently died right there.
It's not hard to find the spot. I don't think they need to neighbor to take them out and show them where that happened. That may have been their take on it.
Look, we appreciate your help and tell us what you saw and tell us what heard. You don't need to take us out there and show it where it happened. We know where it happened.
BANFIELD: And, Craig, she also said that she was quite certain this time and she has been interviewed before, but she seems to have fuller or more robust details at least on what she said witnessed that night.
And she says she was certain that the larger Hispanic-looking man was on top of the boy. That's her account -- the boy, at the time, the shots hang out and that he got up off of that scuffle and started walking towards her.
CRAIG SONNER, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: You know, I've actually read through her testimony from the last time and this time. It doesn't appear to me that she was sure what she saw. It was dark and that is going back to her --
BANFIELD: And I know we've sort of thrown this at you. It's all been happening as the program has been compiled tonight. There hasn't been a lot of time for you to digest.
SONNER: I think it was dark and I don't think she's sure what she saw.
BANFIELD: She seemed very, very confident though that the person's voice that was screaming for help was -- what she called immature voice and she feels it was the boy's voice.
Hal, do you want to comment on that?
UHRIG: Well, sure. You know, I'm not sure when she came to that conclusion. Remember we're talking about a boy that was originally put out to the public with a picture of a 12-year-old and the image was the little boy went out to get the Skittles.
The pictures that you've put up tonight, which are more recent show a 6'3" boy who's 17 years old. And I've heard 17 years olds with high voices like this and I've voices like mine. So I'm not sure you can make that generalization or conclusion.
What would have caused her to think as she looks -- it's too dark to tell who's who. You can't tell exactly what's going on, but you recognize one of them as a boy who's 6'3".
BANFIELD: I think the police report has him above 6 feet tall, certainly not the shorter version that came out earlier in the case, but that he's about 6 feet tall? Do you have further information?
UHRIG: He's over 6 feet tall.
BANFIELD: How do you know that?
UHRIG: Let's just say we have reason from information we know that. He would be around 6'2" or 6'3".
BANFIELD: And this is one of the things I think that the public that has been so voracious for every single detail on this case. They want to know everything.
And in this particular case, I've been in the murder courtrooms that forensics are everything. What do we know about the forensics in this case because heretofore, we got nothing?
SONNER: I'll take that. We don't know anything yet. It hasn't been released. The state attorney is doing an investigation and right now, they opted not disclose that information.
BANFIELD: Have they shared with you at least? Has there been any discovery. I know we are not in a legal situation at this point, but --
SONNER: I'm not going to disclose that. We have been in contact and the disagreement that we're not going -- anything that I do or might know, I'm not going to disclose yet.
If there charges filed, (INAUDIBLE) appearance, they are going to plead not guilty, get bond, we'll bond him out, and then we'll do a demand for discovery at which point, the state will have 15 days to respond and give us discovery.
And then we'll go through whatever forensic evidence they have. But that's the biggest problem with this case so far is everyone is jumping to conclusions and I understand. I'm not -- I'm not trying to, you know, putting one down and to be insulting one.
Everybody wants to know what happened, but we need to take a step back and let the evidence come out. So those are all good questions and there are going to be good answers.
BANFIELD: To that point, I was listening and listen, I have a legal mind. I worked for a long time at a network called Court TV and so we were very cautious about details that people guessed, that people witnessed.
There was a congresswoman by the name of Frederica Wilson, a congresswoman from Florida, who on the Hill on March 27th last week had this to say about this case.
Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. FREDERICA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: This investigation is laced with racial profiling, lies and murder. Trayvon was haunted, chased, tackled and shot. Ill-conceived laws and lax gun laws all contributed to this tragedy.
In closing, Mr. Zimmerman should be arrested immediately for his own safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Hal Uhrig, you heard those words. Trayvon Martin was hunted, chased, tackle and shot. And this is from a congresswoman on the record prepared statement.
UHRIG: Among the most irresponsible and uninformed statements I've heard from the floor of Congress where we've heard a lot of uninformed statements made in the past.
She wasn't there. She's reacting to statements made at rallies from people who weren't there, from conclusions made by people who had agendas.
She doesn't seen the forensic either, and to make a suggestion that she know it was racial profiling where she doesn't know George Zimmerman, doesn't know a thing about him --
BANFIELD: Do you think they should put George Zimmerman out? Do you think he should be telling his story in the press to counter this --
UHRIG: We'd love to be able to do that right now.
BANFIELD: And why not?
UHRIG: Among other things his safety is very much at question as a result of the way these rallies have gone. But besides that, we would -- I can't imagine a situation where prior to the decision made to charge or indict, I would have my client go out and make those statements.
There's going to be a time hopefully in the fairly near future will have an opportunity to tell the public exactly what happened.
BANFIELD: A question for you on CBS this morning, you made a comment about shaken baby syndrome and I'm very confused about what it means. Whether it's part of a possible defense or whether this is a description on what your client has told you.
But you said we're familiar with the shaken baby syndrome. You shake a baby. The brain shakes around inside the skull. You can die when someone is pounding your head on the ground.
UHRIG: Let me put that in context.
BANFIELD: Put it into context for me, please.
UHRIG: Perhaps the better example that I gave is Liam Neeson's wife, who fell on a ski slope and hit her head just once and did in fact die.
In shaken baby syndrome, you are able to take a baby and shake it so that the brain shakes around inside the head. And for an adult the way that kind injury would happen is, you smack your head on the ground. Your brain smacks around inside of your skull.
All we're saying, it's a way to injury someone. You can disorient someone with concussion or kill them.
BANFIELD: Are you talking about a potential legal defense in terms of state of mind, or are you talking about a potential legal defense in terms of diminished capacity?
UHRIG: Neither one. What happens with the "Stand Your Ground" law is this: if you are in reasonable fear of great bodily injury, you are allowed to use whatever forces necessary including deadly force to stop yourself from getting that injury.
If you had your nose broken, attacked by somebody either on top of you and smacking your head into the ground and whatever disorientation that causes, well, you've got a gun that they might use. The question is: are you in reasonable fear and apprehension of great bodily injury? That's what it means and doesn't mean anything more than that.
BANFIELD: Mr. Sonner, you think your case is going to get indicted?
SONNER: At this point, we don't know. There's not really -- no, I can tell you the possibilities of things. I mean, they could go to the grand jury and they could indict or they no bill. The state attorney could actually file charges or the state attorney could no bill it.
Those are the possibilities of things that can happen and without having all the details, it's hard to say what's going to happen.
BANFIELD: And that's where the story ends, is that it ends because we don't have the details yet.
But I do look forward to another chance to speak with both of you. I thank you both, Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner. Thanks for coming in.
SONNER: Thank you.
BANFIELD: In the meantime, let's bring in criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, and also CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin.
Sunny, I'll begin with you. Some of the new developments, you have been able to listen in on the witness as she says what thinks that she saw. She feels she saw the larger man of Hispanic description on top of what she said is the boy after the shot is fired.
He gets up and walks towards her. And yet she does say it's too dark for her to determine if there is any blood or injury on his face. Do you make anything of it?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it certainly corroborates with two other witnesses have also described. You spoke to her. I spoke to two other witnesses and they both described the same thing, Ashleigh.
They both described seeing George Zimmerman straddling Trayvon Martin and then walking away. And so, you know, I think what we can learn not only from what all these witnesses are saying, is that -- all the facts that we are learning is that there is a lot of conflicting evidence here.
BANFIELD: And --
HOSTIN: When you have conflicting evidence, you know this, Ashleigh, that's something that is typically tried. That's the case that typically goes to trial.
BANFIELD: Heck yes. And I'll tell you what --
HOSTIN: What is surprising is that we haven't seen an arrest. We haven't seen any charges, and this incident happened February 26th.
BANFIELD: And I think that when you say conflicting information, there is no shortage of information, but facts are at a premium these days. And a lot gets -- you heard the congresswoman stating her fact as though she witnessed the case and people begin to argue.
HOSTIN: But, Ashleigh, there's evidence -- there is evidence to support what the congresswoman said. She said that Trayvon was followed, confronted, tackled and shot.
BANFIELD: Tackled and shot?
HOSTIN: Dee Dee who was the on the phone with him, Trayvon's girlfriend, says she thought she was tackled.
He by his own admission said that he followed Trayvon Martin and the dispatcher said we don't need you to do that.
And Dee Dee said that she thinks that she heard the confrontation. So there is evidence to support what that congresswoman said.
BANFIELD: I still think hunted and chased is pretty strident language for a case that she called him a little boy as well. I think she seemed ill-skilled in some of the facts of this case.
Let me jump to Mark Geragos for a second because every time I play the devil's advocate, my Twitter just fires up like crazy. Thank God I'm not a defense attorney. I don't know how you do your job.
But I do want to ask you this --
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Exactly.
BANFIELD: Yes, bless you.
But listen, in this particular case -- I feel as though that if it ever ends up in a courtroom, which is a possibility, forensics are going to be critical.
If the witness I spoke tonight is accurate and she says that Mr. Zimmerman, or at least someone matching Mr. Zimmerman was on top of Trayvon Martin, and got up and got off. How do we get a gunshot wound to the chest and a victim face down in the grass who is about 160 pounds?
GERAGOS: Well, that's precisely what one of the problems are here. And, Ashleigh, I have to tell you, your intro to this piece was a closing argument for the defense. Frankly, in just terms of all the conflicting evidence and the direct examination of this witness, I think actually this witness helps the defense in some ways.
If you take a look at that law down here, they studied it a little bit and have determined that one of the reasons I think that there was not a filing and they basically arrested him and let go, is that this law reads basically that if you're in reasonable fear, that then there is immunity, actual immunity from being arrested. HOSTIN: But, Mark?
GERAGOS: So I think one of the problems, yes? Hold on --
HOSTIN: The law also said, Mark, that if you are the first aggressor, you cannot avail yourself --
BANFIELD: My goodness, we just opened another whole can of worms --
BANFIELD: Make it quick.
GERAGOS: Sunny, before we go down there, that's the problem. That's the problem is they can't determine that yet. They really can't.
BANFIELD: I've got seven minutes until the end of the program, but I can go another hour and 20 with both of you.
Mark Geragos, Sunny Hostin, thank you. I look forward our further discussions on this and more.
GERAGOS: Thanks, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: And we will be right back after this.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Susan Hendricks with a 360 bulletin.
First, Syria, no sign yet that the Assad regime will live up to the promised Tuesday deadline for pulling troops out of towns and cities. Instead, opposition groups say government forces have killed at least 52 people across Syria today alone with shelling reported outside of Damascus.
A 360 follow now, police in California believe they have found the gun used in Monday's campus massacre in Oakland. They say it does match the serial number of a weapon purchased by the suspect here, One Goh. He is charged with seven counts of murder.
And remember the Japanese fishing trawler that drifted all the way across the Pacific after last year's tsunami? Well, today off Alaska, the Coast Guard sank it to keep other ships safe.
More 360 right after this. Stay with us.
BANFIELD: That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks so much for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.