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CNN NEWSROOM

Witness' Conversation With Martin Family Attorney

Aired June 27, 2013 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON WEST, ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE LAWYER: You also, though, told Mr. de la Rionda under oath you had gone to the hospital, correct?

RACHEL JEANTEL, STAR PROSECUTION WITNESS: He had asked me did I go to the hospital and I said yes.

WEST:: So, you -- I know that you had said that earlier to Mr. Crump and to Miss Fulton, to give a plausible explanation to them for why you didn't go to the memorial service or the wake. Is that right?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And then when Mr. De La Rionda asked you about it again, you gave the same answer?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: But you knew that was a lie?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: Again, you lied because you wanted to give a plausible answer to Miss Fulton as to why you didn't go to the wake?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: But on the April --

(END LIVE FEED)

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Welcome to NEWSROOM. You're watching Rachel Jeantel continuing to be questioned by defense attorneys in the George Zimmerman murder trial. Of course, this is the young woman who had that last phone conversation with Trayvon Martin shortly before he died.

During testimony this morning she gave differing accounts of exactly what was said on that phone call. The defense attorney is now asking her about when the police questioned her, Sanford police finally questioned her, months after the event, and with her were Trayvon Martin's parents along with the parents' attorneys. Let's listen.

(BEGIN LIVE FEED)

WEST: In the interview -- in the first conversation with Miss Fulton on March 19th and there's a letter on March 19th, at no time did you mention that you heard Trayvon Martin say a little get off, get off? Correct?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: Is that yes, you did not say that.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir. What's your question again?

WEST: In the -- in the meeting you had, the conversation you had with Miss Fulton on March 19th before you did the interview later, and in the written statement that you and miss sir prepared for Miss Fulton, personal statement, in neither of those instances did you say that you heard Trayvon Martin say, as you said later, a little get off, get off, correct?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And that's because you didn't think that was important at that point?

JEANTEL: Mr. Crump and Miss Fulton did not ask me about when -- when the fight started in the grass. They did not ask me about that. He asked me about that.

WEST: So when you decided what part of what you knew to tell Miss Fulton you decided not to tell her that part?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Argumentative.

JEANTEL: She didn't ask me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not sure that was her answer, so you need to re-ask the question. I believe she said they never asked her that.

WEST: All right, now I'm asking about this witness's thinking. So when you decided what part of the information that you had about the events on the evening of February 26th, you decided in what to tell Miss Fulton, not to tell her that you'd heard a little get off get off from Trayvon Martin?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Compound question, argumentative and mischaracterizing what this witness has previously said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As far as compound, do you understand the question?

JEANTEL: No, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pardon?

JEANTEL: No, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. You need to break it down then. She says she doesn't understand.

WEST: OK. On March 19th.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: You had a meeting with Miss Fulton.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: Out in front of her home.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: You had already written the letter with Miss Sur to give to her?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: When you wrote the letter about what happened on the evening of February 26th, and decided what to put in it, you made the decision not to include that you heard Trayvon Martin say a little get off, get off?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And then when you went to Miss Fulton's house to talk with her and she was so anxious to know what happened --

JEANTEL: I did not go inside her house, sir.

WEST: I know that. You were out front.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: When you went to Miss Fulton's house with the letter in hand, to talk with her and she so desperately wanted to know what had happened, you, among the things that you chose to tell her, decided not to tell her that you heard her son say a little get off, get off, on the phone?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And you're saying that's because she didn't specifically ask you?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: Could you explain your thinking?

JEANTEL: I didn't want to be there, sir.

WEST: Of all the things that you decided were important to tell her to write in the letter --

JEANTEL: She did not ask me for examples.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She did not ask me for?

JEANTEL: Examples.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She did not ask me for examples?

JEANTEL: Examples, reason, none of that. The state asked me that. Crump did not ask me that either. No, sir.

WEST: Well, how would they know to ask you if you didn't tell them what you knew?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. He's wanting the witness to get into my mind why he would ask something or not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To the extent explaining something why or why not the state did something, I'm going to sustain.

WEST: Whether or not someone specifically asked you, you made the decision not to volunteer that information?

JEANTEL: I didn't think it was important. Without being asked about the situation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't think it was --

JEANTEL: I did not think it was important, I was not being asked for that -- that part. It didn't matter. He had asked me that. The state had asked me that.

WEST: All right, we'll talk about that in a little more detail in a minute, but let's -- let's progress now to the interview that you gave to Mr. Crump on the phone on March 19th, later the same day. You acknowledge that nowhere in that -- what was it, about 30 minutes altogether?

JEANTEL: You are asking me?

WEST: The interview?

JEANTEL: I don't remember.

WEST: But nowhere during that interview did you say in response to any question, specific or general, that you'd heard Trayvon Martin say a little "get off, get off."

JEANTEL: He did ask me when the fight happened. I had told him the phone shut off. He asked me did you hear when they was fighting going on, did you hear something was going on between the fight. No, he did not ask me that. The state asked me that, sir.

WEST: Well, what you told Mr. Crump was, that you heard Trayvon Martin say, why are you following me? And then you heard Mr. Zimmerman say either what are you talking about or what are you doing around here? And then you heard something that you described as sort of a bump. And that the phone cut off?

JEANTEL: I had told him the bump got to be his headset. His headset is always on his left ear and the speaker. WEST: Yes. And what you said to Mr. Crump was, at that point, the phone cut off?

JEANTEL: Yes, simple and quick.

WEST: Once the phone cuts off.

JEANTEL: I had called back.

WEST: There's nothing else that you have to say, correct? Because once the phone cuts off you certainly can't hear anything else that might have been said because the phone had been disconnected?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: So you told Mr. Crump that the phone cut off.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: So if you say at the point where there this exchange, the conversation, the exchange and the bump, and the phone cut off, doesn't that leave the impression that there was nothing else you could hear after that?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And you didn't at that point say, by the way, no, I heard more after that actually?

JEANTEL: He didn't ask me more, sir. The state had asked me more, sir.

WEST: Well, are you saying then that when you told Mr. Crump that after you heard the bump and the phone cut off, that you decided not to tell him that after the bump, but before the phone cut off, you heard Trayvon Martin say a little "get off, get off".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, compound question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you understand the question?

JEANTEL: Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You may answer.

JEANTEL: Like I told you from the beginning, that interview, I think it last like 13 minutes, I don't know, it didn't last for that long. So I had to rush because I really did not want to be on the phone, sir. So I did not take my time and just like I -- I took my time, I had more time when I was talking to the state. With Crump, no, so the question is no.

WEST: So of all the things you thought might be important for them to know about what you knew --

JEANTEL: I told you -- WEST: You decided not to say that before the phone shut off, you heard Trayvon Martin say a little "get off, get off."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, asked and answered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's have it answered one more time and then move on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May we approach the bench, please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. She can answer the question. Go ahead and answer.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: So you made the decision then not to tell Mr. Crump that you'd actually heard Trayvon Martin say, "get off, get off," because you were in a hurry?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Asked and answered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The word in a hurry is an additional part to that question, so I will allow it. You may answer.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir, because Crump is not law enforcement.

WEST: So you weren't worried about telling him first of all the truth or the whole story?

JEANTEL: First of all, Crump is not law enforcement. He's not an officer. I knew that he was not an officer. So like I told the mother, from the beginning, if an officer wants to talk to me, know the exact story, everything about what happened that night, they will reach me at my number. You got it?

WEST: If I got it, what I heard you to say is, that you told Miss Fulton that if they wanted to hear everything that an officer that you would tell everything to an officer?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: But they didn't put an officer in contact with you?

JEANTEL: I don't know about that, sir.

WEST: You know you didn't get any messages or get any calls from an officer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Asked and answered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Overruled.

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: So when you were then talking with Mr. Crump, in this recorded interview, for the first time ever being asked to tell the story about what you knew, you were in a hurry and among the things that you chose not to say was that before the phone cut off, but after the bump, you heard Trayvon Martin say, a little get off, get off?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Asked and answered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This will be the last time the question will be asked and answered. You may answer.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: So let's move then to the April 2nd interview where you did have a chance to tell Mr. De La Rionda everything.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And that was your purpose?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: This was the interview by law enforcement that you had been waiting for?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: That you knew was coming?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And that you were ready to tell everything just like it was?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: Even if that was different than what you had said before?

JEANTEL: I never thought the mother -- the interview at the mother's house with the mother --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you read that back?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never thought the mother the interview at the mother's house with the mother -- is that what you said?

JEANTEL: Yes.

WEST: Have you had a chance to read the transcript of your interview with Mr. De La Rionda on April 2nd, 2012?

JEANTEL: Not all of it.

WEST: When is the last time you had a chance to look at it?

COSTELLO: All right, before she gets into what she told police during that interrogation on April 2nd, we want to get into break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSTELLO: Let's head back into the courtroom, Rachel Jeantel, the woman who last talked to Trayvon Martin on the phone before he died, answering questions about her police interrogation and how she prepared for it. Let's listen.

WEST: You and martin would be talking and for no apparent reason the call would be lost?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: Not because you hung up? Correct?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: Or because that you know of --

JEANTEL: Bad signal.

WEST: Pardon me?

JEANTEL: Bad signal.

WEST: So you were plagued with a bad signal all day?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And you really never knew when the phone was going to disconnect?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: Usually what would happen is that when the phone disconnected, one or the other of you would call each other back?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: So throughout the course of the day, you wound up actually speaking with each other several hours?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: What you remember about this case, though, and the phone disconnecting was, that there were points in time within the conversation after George Zimmerman saw Trayvon Martin and began watching him, that the phone hung up and that you dialed Mr. Martin back or that he dialed you back?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And then there were points in time where you would remember what was happening after the call was reconnected?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: It's your recollection that while at the mailbox, that's when the phone hung up at least once? JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And before that, after Mr. Zimmerman was keeping his eye on Trayvon Martin, do you remember the phone hanging up and having to reconnect?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir. After he began -- begun walking back home to try to lose the George Zimmerman, whatever. George.

WEST: First before you get to that, we were using this point where Trayvon Martin says to you that Mr. Zimmerman is watching him. So from that point, you said the phone did cut off a couple times after that. But think this first. Before that point, do you remember talking to Trayvon Martin after he entered the complex and having the phone disconnect?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: Where was he and when in the conversation did that take place?

JEANTEL: The mailing area, the mailing area.

WEST: The only time you remember the phone disconnecting prior to learning from Mr. Martin that George Zimmerman was keeping his eye on him was while -- well, what you believed to be the when Mr. Martin was at the mail area?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And after that, so after Mr. Martin left the mail area as best as you know and began walking towards where his -- where Trayvon was staying.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: Did the phone cut off again?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And then did you call him back?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And then after you called him back, that was, in fact, the last call of the evening between you and Mr. Martin?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: That's the call that cut off?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: The call that you lost or that was disconnected, before the last call, was when Mr. Martin was --

JEANTEL: Started walking back. WEST: Walking toward where he was staying?

JEANTEL: Yes sir.

WEST: And he was -- he had told you at that point that the man was in the car.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: The man was on the phone.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And that he was -- had decided to go ahead and go on home?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And you told him to do that, right?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: In fact, you told him to run?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And as far as you know, he did?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And at the point he ran, Mr. Zimmerman was still in the car?

JEANTEL: I don't know about that sir because he told me the man started following him, sir.

WEST: Let's break it down, step by step. At the point that you told Trayvon Martin to run, your understanding from piecing it all together was that Trayvon Martin was headed towards the back of where his father was staying?

JEANTEL: He was going to run --

WEST: From the back?

JEANTEL: Yes.

WEST: Which means to go in the back of the house as opposed to the front?

JEANTEL: Yes, to try to lose the man who was following him.

WEST: Got you. So at that point, when he was walking and decided to go on home.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: That Mr. Zimmerman was still in the car? JEANTEL: Still following him, sir.

WEST: In the car?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And that Mr. Zimmerman was on the phone?

JEANTEL: I didn't know about the phone, sir.

WEST: I thought you said that Trayvon Martin told you --

JEANTEL: That's when he was watching him. He was watching him. Trayvon had told me the man was just on the phone watching him.

WEST: So Trayvon Martin had told you that when he noticed the man watching him, that the man was in a car and that the man was on the phone?

JEANTEL: He was watching him, yes, sir.

WEST: Exactly.

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And that he started walking in the direction of his home?

JEANTEL: Yes sir.

WEST: And that the man followed him?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir, kept following him.

WEST: Yes, in the car?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And that you had a conversation with Mr. Martin where you told him -- well, just run on him?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And as far as you know, he did? Correct?

JEANTEL: No, sir. He had -- I told him run home and then he said no. No. Na is no. Second later he told me he's going to make a run for the back area where his father's fiancee lives.

WEST: Let's break that down just a little bit. So at the point -- at the point that he says the man's following me.

JEANTEL: Yes. He was trying to lose the man.

WEST: Let's break it down this way. Mr. Martin leaves what you think is the mail area and --

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And walks in the direction of where he stayed?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: Yes?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And at that point Mr. Zimmerman was still in his vehicle?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And Mr. Martin continued to walk?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And he observed and told you that the man is following him in the car?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And then you said, well run?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And he did run?

JEANTEL: To the back area to try to --

WEST: Well, he wasn't in -- he was on the street or on the sidewalk in front of Mr. Zimmerman's car at the point that he decided to run?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And he ran?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir, to the back area to try to lose him.

WEST: You don't know whether he ran in the direction where you could only travel by foot or whether you could drive?

JEANTEL: No, sir. I don't live in that area.

WEST: Agreed. No. What you knew at that point, though, was that Mr. Zimmerman was still in his vehicle. Probably still on the phone because Trayvon Martin never said he wasn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, speculating as to what Mr. Zimmerman was doing or not regarding the phone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sustained. Rephrase your question, please.

WEST: Mr. Martin never said he wasn't on the phone?

JEANTEL: The only time that Trayvon told me the man was on the phone when he was at the mail area. That's the only time. I never knew about the other -- he was still on the phone. He never told me about that.

WEST: Right.

JEANTEL: He just told me the man started following him.

WEST: And that was he on the phone and he never told you that he wasn't on the phone?

JEANTEL: No.

WEST: But he was still in the car?

JEANTEL: Yes. Yes, sir.

WEST: And then that -- you said well run and he ran? Correct?

JEANTEL: Yes from the back area.

WEST: That's what's confusing. When you say ran from the back, are you saying that at the point that he decided to run --

JEANTEL: Yes.

WEST: That he decided to run from where he was to the back of where he was staying?

JEANTEL: Yes.

WEST: And you don't know what direction he took to head that way?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: Because you don't know where was at the point he decided to run?

JEANTEL: No, sir.

WEST: But you do know that he ran?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And you could tell because you could hear the wind?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir.

WEST: And then the phone cut off?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir. I think. Yes. Yes, sir.

WEST: So at that point, you knew that he was running?

JEANTEL: Yes, sir (inaudible) when I called back.

WEST: Well, let me take it a little slow. (END LIVE FEED)

COSTELLO: All right, I apologize. We have to break away and take a break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)