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George Zimmerman Trial Underway; Analysis of Testimony
Aired June 28, 2013 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You didn't hear your voice on that tape, though, did you?
JOHN GOOD, RESIDENT OF TWIN LAKES: No.
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You, obviously, did say what you said to them, correct?
O'MARA: And the mere fact that it doesn't show up on the tape doesn't suggest that you didn't say it, does it?
GOOD: I know what I said.
This wasn't recorded on the tape?
GOOD: They're also talking about someone that's probably inside their house and I'm -- around the corner.
O'MARA: Sure I'm not challenging you. I'm not challenging you -- Miss Louder (ph) said she heard you as well. We're not challenging what you said or not, just that it wasn't on the tape. Using that gunshot as a reference point, I want to sort of take you back in time just a little bit. Just before the call, a few seconds before the call is when you turned around and went back inside your condo or your town home, is that accurate?
GOOD: You said a few seconds before I made the call?
O'MARA: Before the gunshot. So using the gunshot as a point of reference, because you remember hearing the gunshot when you were dialing 911, correct?
GOOD: I was inside, correct.
O'MARA: Yes so I'm trying to go backwards in time if you -- if you don't mind me trying it this way. So you know the gunshot that you've heard here was the gunshot that you heard, correct? Let's just go back and when that gunshot happens, you were on the phone to 911.
GOOD: I was there waiting for someone to pick me up, correct. O'MARA: OK and then, of course, we heard your 911 call that says, just heard a gunshot.
O'MARA: So your 911 call starts after the gunshot, correct?
O'MARA: And it was only a few seconds before that gun shot that you were outside looking at that time two individuals in the ground and pound positioning?
O'MARA: You are certain, are you not, that it was a person on the bottom who was yelling to you?
GOOD: Not 100 percent certain.
O'MARA: I'm sorry?
GOOD: Not 100 percent certain. But it did sound like it was coming from the person on the bottom.
O'MARA: So when -- when you say not 100 percent, I just want to go into that a little bit. And again, knowing that you want to be literal and very cautious with what you testify to, but using your common sense, when you were listening to the sound of the yelling, where was it coming from?
GOOD: It sounded like the person on the bottom.
O'MARA: And was it coming as though it was coming straight towards you unobstructed?
GOOD: I would say yes.
O'MARA: Could you relate any of those two "helps" or how many "helps" did you hear?
GOOD: It could have been one, two, possibly three. I think it was only a few.
O'MARA: OK. Just a few.
Could you relate those now that you have listened to this tape where that you may have heard those yelps or "helps" on this tape?
O'MARA: The yells that you heard, however, or the "helps" that you heard how many there were, it was always the same voice, Correct?
(END LIVE FEED)
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we're going to take another break. We'll be back with more from Florida.
COSTELLO: All right let's head back to Florida, the neighbor John Good out on his back patio, his back porch he sees two man fighting, he seems -- he's intimating that Trayvon Martin was the man on top, George Zimmerman was the man on the bottom and now Mark O'Mara, who is George Zimmerman's defense attorney is asking him about who was crying for help and when he heard the gunshot, let's listen.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
O'MARA: When was the first time that you noticed Mr. Zimmerman's clothing?
GOOD: Just as I just stated.
O'MARA: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you.
GOOD: Just as I just stated right before in that very initial.
O'MARA: OK. And then you could see that he was wearing red?
GOOD: It was a different color than the person on top was wearing, yes, red or white.
O'MARA: So going through now for a moment your statements and who you first spoke with and when. You first had an opportunity to speak to -- do you recall the first person that you did?
GOOD: What do you mean by speak to?
O'MARA: Write out a statement or do anything?
GOOD: That would have been the police.
O'MARA: I'm sorry.
GOOD: That would have been the police.
O'MARA: OK. And do you recall filling out a handwritten statement, yourself?
O'MARA: And any, do you perceive any inconsistencies in your testimony today and -- and what you wrote out on the statement?
GOOD: I would say the only thing I did was clarify.
GOOD: Or in any other statements that I had from that first one.
O'MARA: OK. GOOD: You were consistent back then that the, there was a straddle position where the person on top was straddling the person on the bottom in the red and the person on the bottom was getting hit was yelling help, correct?
GOOD: I didn't mean to say they were yelling "help" while they were getting hit.
GOOD: That was clarifying and also what was being done was clarified.
O'MARA: I got you. And then, you also talked to Investigator Serino?
O'MARA: And that was that same day?
GOOD: Later that night.
O'MARA: OK. And you gave him a -- an oral or a recorded statement, correct?
O'MARA: And it was in that statement the same day that you described the straddle position as being an MMA style, correct?
O'MARA: And it was that very night when the words "ground and pound" first were talked about, correct?
O'MARA: And then you also talked to the media, actually, found you out, didn't they, I think the next day or two?
GOOD: They came to my house every day and pretty much harassed us for the next six months.
O'MARA: And until you realized I guess that you could close the door and not answer it, you actually answered one door knock and they sort of had a reporter there talking to you behind the door, do you remember that?
GOOD: That was the next morning, correct.
O'MARA: And similarly, you told them the same thing that we've talked to them today right the guy in the bottom in the red was getting beat up, correct?
O'MARA: And also as well, saying that at that point that he was yelling for help? GOOD: Correct.
O'MARA: Then about a month later FDLE John Bachelor spoke with you at an extended interview, where he went over that same information?
GOOD: I had another interview in between that with Serino again.
O'MARA: You are right. Again, except for clarifying what was happening, no inconsistencies with the story that you gave the first night, correct?
GOOD: Just clarifying.
O'MARA: And then we get to John Bachelor's conversation?
O'MARA: He went into greater detail, correct, about what happened?
GOOD: Excuse me?
O'MARA: He went into pretty good detail with you about what happened?
GOOD: In detail of what happened from my point of view?
O'MARA: Exactly yes.
O'MARA: He had you explain a lot about it.
O'MARA: And again, everything in there you still stand by was consistent with what you've told us here today and every other statement you have given, correct?
O'MARA: Tell me why you initially thought that this just -- tell me why you initially thought that this may have just been in a dog fight of some sort --
(END LIVE FEED)
COSTELLO: All right, we have to take another break. We'll be back with more after this.
COSTELLO: All right, welcome back.
Testimony is continuing from the neighbor John Good, who was on his back patio when he witnessed two men fighting that night. The defense attorney Mark O'Mara is now asking him if he can describe the clothing the two men wore. I can't hear exactly right now if the questioning is ongoing. But I wanted to dip in and ask Sunny about this because this witness seems especially damaging to the prosecution, but he's a prosecution witness.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's right. And I think we all knew from discovery what this witness was going to say. This is a classic prosecution-type strategy. You can't not call this witness because if you don't and the defense calls him, you will appear as if you are hiding something. What you do, do is what the state did, you call him in your case in chief and you frame the narrative the way you need to frame the narrative and then you book end that witness with other witnesses.
We know that yesterday, one of the other witness, I believe her name was Selma Mora testified to the exact opposite. She testified that Trayvon Martin was on the bottom and George Zimmerman was on the top. I suspect after this person's testimony, John Good, we will hear another witness that will claim also that Trayvon Martin was actually on the bottom.
And again, this is just a technique. But this is a very, very good witness for the defense. The defense knows it. The state knows it. And everyone knew that going into trial.
COSTELLO: He seems to be a rock steady witness, though. He's not changing his story. Although, as the questioning continues from the defense, he's adding more and more damaging details.
HOSTIN: And he never has really changed as far as I can tell from reading the discovery. He's never changed his account. This is a witness that everyone knew about and this is the only witness, however, that does say that it was George Zimmerman that was on the bottom screaming for help rather than Trayvon Martin.
COSTELLO: So Page, you're a defense attorney, is the defense celebrating this moment?
PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Sunny is exactly right though. It's a difficult choice but most prosecutors are going to go ahead and call this witness in their case in chief because they know that the jury is going to hear from this witness. Do they present him or do they let the defense lawyers present him and then suggest that the state was hiding something.
But you did notice that the prosecution did at least get from this witness that he was unable to perceive anyone slamming anyone's head into the concrete. So they got one piece of good evidence from him.
COSTELLO: One piece. And Jason Johnson, I'm just looking at comments on my Facebook page and comments on my Twitter account. Most of the people who are on obviously on Trayvon Martin's family side during this proceeding are really upset with this witness.
JASON JOHNSON, POLITIC365: Yes. But I think it's because most people's understanding of law and courtrooms comes from "Law and Order" or "The First 48". This is what happens when you have a trial, you are going to have people that sound like they help the prosecution. You're going to have people that sound like they help the defense. But it's a long trial process. No one person, no one witness is going to spin this one way or another and certainly not for a jury of six women.
COSTELLO: All right. Let's listen to the testimony again.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
DEBRA NELSON, PRESIDING JUDGE: No objections? .
O'MARA: No objection, your honor.
NELSON: OK. It will come in as defense exhibit number 19.
O'MARA: Again, may I approach, your honor?
NELSON: Yes, you may.
O'MARA: Can you identify this as a blow-up of a sketch that you prepared?
GOOD: Yes, it's my horrible stick figures.
O'MARA: OK. Well, in addition to not knowing how long you've been married, now we know your artistic abilities. Let's do this, if you would, explain to the jury what you intended to do with this sketch and then tell us what it depicts.
GOOD: What I tried to do is say where the door and the house that I came out of was, where they first were, who was on top, who was on bottom and then where it moved to.
O'MARA: OK. So to clarify, this is your patio area?
O'MARA: This is what -- your perspective, you were looking out at this scene here first?
GOOD: First, correct.
O'MARA: This scene really belongs here, just later in time, is that?
GOOD: Yes, I mean, it's a progressive, supposedly supposed to be a progressive picture.
O'MARA: Right. So this is what you are looking at from here to here first?
O'MARA: And from here to here second. Although this path is actually the same path, correct?
The third one is where, away from where I saw him on the second part the body ended up.
O'MARA: So tell me the legend, if you would, tell me, explain what you were indicating with this?
GOOD: This is depicting them laying how I was stating earlier. The one on the blacktop on top the one on the red and white on bottom.
GOOD: Then it moves to the sidewalk, laying this way was still the person with the black shirt on top and the red shirt on bottom.
O'MARA: OK. Is this now where they're in the straddle position.
O'MARA: With Trayvon Martin on top?
GOOD: Yes, I could not draw that.
O'MARA: That's fine. But that is what I'll orient the jury to that's what we're talking about, right?
O'MARA: And then, tell me what this number three is right here.
GOOD: Three is when I went upstairs while I was still on the phone with 911 and looked down and the body was, I don't know, it's not in the same position I let him in.
O'MARA: Right. You let them in, they more were closer and actually had part of their bodies on the cement pathway, correct?
GOOD: They were on the sidewalk, yes, the body was closer to where I was at.
O'MARA: So when you looked out, did you look out from upstairs?
O'MARA: Then you saw Trayvon Martin's body, correct? Between the pathway and your complex, I'm sorry, your townhome?
O'MARA: And I see you have again a stick figure. Have you seen the photographs taken of Trayvon Martin as he lay just after the shot?
GOOD: I do not believe so.
O'MARA: Would you defer, did you know it, did you see anyone move the body at all on the path you saw?
GOOD: I think I believe I saw him flip him because se was laying face down, flipped him over and try to give him CPR. O'MARA: So when you first saw him from upstairs, he was laying face down?
O'MARA: Did you see the other person?
GOOD: He was on the sidewalk.
GOOD: Standing up.
O'MARA: OK. Did you see anybody else, the man with the flashlight?
GOOD: That's when the guys with the flashlights came around the corner.
O'MARA: OK. So, from the time of the gunshot when you were just on the phone calling 911 to the time you looked out to see Trayvon Martin's body in the position you just described it and George Zimmerman walking about, about how long was that delay?
GOOD: I don't know. I'm sure if you splice the phone call, you could figure it out to the t.
O'MARA: OK. So if we're to look at your phone call, you sort of acknowledge, having just heard the gunshot, correct?
You acknowledge, I see someone outside, correct?
O'MARA: That's about the time line that you would say was accurate?
GOOD: That's when I'm walking upstairs, yes.
O'MARA: Having heard the gunshot, walk upstairs. Tell me, if you would, I'm sorry. Tell us if you would, you hear a gunshot when you are dialing 911, then tell me your movement until you get to an area where you can see Trayvon Martin's body.
It was a walk-in movement upstairs as I was trying to spell out twin trees three times and when I finally made it to the bathroom area is when I looked down, we have a window. That's when I saw the body.
O'MARA: OK I'm just going to ask you a little slower. Were you actually still on the a staircase, were you dialing 911?
GOOD: I was possibly heading up at the time when I finally got ahold of them.
O'MARA: You continued walking, got out. Did you go into one of the back bedrooms?
GOOD: The master bedroom. O'MARA: Is there a balcony, some window out there?
GOOD: There is a window in the bathroom and a window in the actual room.
O'MARA: Which window did you look out?
GOOD: I believe it was the bathroom window.
O'MARA: OK. Again, it is what it is, but could it have been one of the two windows?
GOOD: I believe it was the bathroom window.
O'MARA: We will defer the exact timing, do you remember when you were on the phone with the 911 operator that you said something acknowledging that you had just seen the body at the time you saw it?
GOOD: I don't understand the question.
O'MARA: Yes, I kept rolling on, I apologize. If we're going to listen to the 911 tape, on that tape, there is a time when you say, there's somebody outside and I think he's dead.
Was that the precise moment or very close in time to when you saw the body you described?
GOOD: That's when I looked down.
O'MARA: You saw him.
O'MARA: So we can defer to the tape then for pretty much exact time to lay between the shot and when you saw the body?
GOOD: Not the exact time the shot was fired. From when I stated, I just heard a shot when I was on the phone with them, yes.
O'MARA: If I might have a moment, your honor.
NELSON: You may.
(END LIVE FEED)
COSTELLO: All right. While the attorneys are discussing things, let's bring in Sunny Hostin. So this witness has been on the stand for quite a considerable amount of time, nearly two hours now, which is stunning because you'd think they'd gotten all the information out of him they could possibly get.
HOSTIN: Well the defense is going to keep this witness on the stand as long as possible because, again, this is a defense witness. This is a witness that is very, very good for the defense. He is accurate or rather I should say he's speaking in a very, a very good tone. He seems to be very credible. They want him to stay there and that's what we are seeing. They are going to try to flesh out his testimony as much as possible. Remember, he's on cross examination. Not even on direct examination. So the defense can really frame the narrative by asking him these leading questions. This is a very good position for the defense to be in. I would say even though the defense hasn't even put its case on, this is the star witness for the defense at this point.
COSTELLO: All right. I was just going to ask Jason Johnson that very question. When you compare this witness to Rachel Jeantel, how do you think the jury will perceive the two?
JOHNSON: Well, it's obvious that John Good will be perceived as much reliable and much credible. He's much more well-spoken. But as I said before there where people who are going to will judge Rachel Jeantel the moment she got on stage because of her age and race and how she spoke.
I think again, the strongest thing that John Good brings to the table is he's not letting anybody put words in his mouth, neither the prosecution or the defense. So is consistency is the biggest thing that the jury happen to be looking for, he is probably one of the best.
But I have to point out, there was another witness yesterday who said she thought it was Trayvon Martin, she's one of the people who played called. This trial is not over. I don't think any side should be cheering yet.
COSTELLO: Last time I go to you, Page Pate, what will the prosecution do or will they just let this witness have his Day and Move On that's what they should do have this witness have his say and move onto the next?
Again, that's what they should do. Again, this is a gift to the defense attorney and he's taking great advantage of it. Walk through that direct testimony again, draw it out. Let the jury hear those words come back, ground and pound, use words like that to stick in the jury's mind. The prosecutor now needs to go back to his case in chief, start calling other witnesses and hopefully build his case back up for his side.
COSTELLO: Thanks to all of you, that will do it for me. But we will continue to cover live. So we're going to take a break. We will be back with much more in the newsroom.