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Self-Defense or Murder?: The George Zimmerman Trial

Aired July 4, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The prosecution getting ready to call its final witness. The defense prepares to begin calling theirs.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome once again to this A.C. 360 special report, "Self-Defense or Murder?: The George Zimmerman trial."

Tonight: The trial is heading into its final stretch, the prosecution calling what could be its next-to-last witness today, a DNA expert, with Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother, expected to take the stand on Friday, right before the prosecution rests, another big day in a trial that's had nothing but big days so far.

Martin Savidge, as always, was in the courtroom and starts us off.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Though the symbol to many, the hooded sweatshirt Trayvon Martin wore the night he was killed is also a key piece of evidence. The state expert said he found no trace of George Zimmerman's DNA on that sweatshirt, not even on the sleeves or cuffs nearest to the fists the defendant says Trayvon Martin was hitting him with.

And no Zimmerman DNA was found under Martin's fingernails. And what about Martin's DNA? Was it found on the gun which by one Zimmerman account the teen actually reached for and touched.

BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: A swab or the DNA that you developed from the pistol grip of the defendant's gun, it was positive for blood, correct?


DE LA RIONDA: And then there was a mixture. The major was matched to the defendant, George Zimmerman?


DE LA RIONDA: And you were able to exclude Trayvon Martin as having DNA on the pistol grip, is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Trayvon Martin was excluded as being a possible contributor to this mixture on the grip.

SAVIDGE: The hoodie was also tested by a firearms expert who said Zimmerman's gun was actually touching the fabric when he fired the fatal shot.

JOHN GUY, FLORIDA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: What did you find distance- wise when you conducted the test with this particular sweatshirt?

AMY SIEWERT, FIREARMS ANALYST: This as well was consistent with residues and physical efforts of a contact shot.

GUY: So again, evidencing that the end of the gun was against the material when it was fired?


SAVIDGE: The prosecution also pointed out the night he killed Martin, Zimmerman carried a fully loaded weapon with an additional round chambered, ready to fire. But on cross-examination, the defense got the witness to admit that was not out of the ordinary.

MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: You did not consider that to be an unusual occurrence, certainly, would you?


SAVIDGE: Earlier, the state was out to show that Zimmerman did not just want to be a cop; he was trying to learn how to become one, studying criminal justice at a local college.

On the stand, a former professor described Zimmerman as one of his best students and said he gave him an A. Zimmerman has said he knew nothing of Florida's stand your ground law the night he killed Martin. But the professor said the topic was a frequent source of discussion in class.

CAPT. ALEXIS CARTER, FORMER ZIMMERMAN INSTRUCTOR: I wanted to teach the class where these students can really relate and take something from it and apply it to their own lives. You know, with Florida and other states, they have what's called the stand your ground law, which evolved from the Castle doctrine through case law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did you cover that specifically?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you discuss specifically self-defense and stand your ground laws in connection of violent crimes such as murder?


SAVIDGE: It was the testimony of another professor that provided one of the trial's few lighter moments. Unable to testify in person, Gordon Pleasants in court via Skype.


SAVIDGE: First, there was sound problems. But then came the digital demons. As Pleasants' face and name were carried on national TV, people appeared to begin calling it, disrupting the testimony. A frustrated judge ordered the video call stopped, with the defense finally catching on to what was happening.

O'MARA: There's now a really good chance that we're being toyed with.

SAVIDGE: In court, the judge announced the state had planned to rest. That won't happen and now won't happen until at least Friday, after the Fourth of July holiday.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Sanford, Florida.


COOPER: As always, we have put together the best legal team and forensic experts out there. Forensic scientists Lawrence Kobilinsky of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice joins us, along with legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin and former Los Angeles County Deputy DA Marcia Clark, her latest Rachel Knight legal thriller titled "Killer Ambition." On the defense side, courtroom veterans Mark NeJame, who practices in Florida, and Mark Geragos, co- author of "Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works, and Sometimes Doesn't."

Dr. Kobilinsky, I want to start off with you. The firearms expert testified that the gun was touching Trayvon Martin's sweatshirt when George Zimmerman fired. That's not what the autopsy showed.


She did all of the right things. She test-fired with the same ammunition. She used the same garments to do her test-fire and she concluded that it was a contact shot. Remember that there are two garments, the hoodie sweatshirt and an underlying sweatshirt and then the body.

She's looking at gunshot residue, burned and unburned particles, and the tearing and singeing of the fibers around the hole. The conclusion is clear and makes sense to me that it was a contact shot. What's mysterious is that the autopsy report indicates not that it was close shot or a contact shot, but rather it was an intermediate distance shot, which tells me that it was probably between six and 18 inches.

COOPER: So who is likely to be more accurate?

KOBILINSKY: I think the -- I would tend to think that the ballistics expert is more accurate, because that bullet had to penetrate both garments before it hit the body. You wouldn't necessarily see the stippling, which is the burning, the abrasions in the skin around the hole, the bullet hole, and, therefore, I mean, if you see those stippling marks, sometimes called tattooing, then you can conclude the distance.

COOPER: Does it really matter the distance in this?

KOBILINSKY: Honestly, it doesn't, because both would indicate a close-in shot, a struggle.

COOPER: And that's not a surprise?


KOBILINSKY: No surprise. It supports George Zimmerman's story.

COOPER: Sunny, the prosecution had this DNA expert testify about DNA found on the gun. I just want to play that for the viewers.


DE LA RIONDA: The swab or the DNA that you developed from the pistol grip of the defendant's gun, it was positive for blood, correct?


DE LA RIONDA: And then there was a mixture. The major was matched to the defendant, George Zimmerman.


DE LA RIONDA: And you were able to exclude Trayvon Martin as having DNA on the pistol grip, is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Trayvon Martin was excluded as being a possible contributor to this mixture on the grip.


COOPER: Sunny, yesterday, Zimmerman's best friend testified that Zimmerman had told him that Trayvon Martin grabbed for the gun or grabbed the gun. Is this a significant inconsistency at all?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I do think it's a significant inconsistency for a couple reasons.

One, I was in the courtroom, Anderson. I cannot begin to tell you how into this witness the jury was. They were leaning forward. They were taking notes. They even laughed with him. He was very engaging with some pretty dull information. DNA information is not that captivating. But they loved him. I think it's a result of the CSI effect that we talk about all the time. People like DNA. They feel like it's definitive evidence.

And because of that, I think that it may not show us what happened that night, but certainly it may tell the jury, well, what Zimmerman said happened couldn't have happened. Trayvon Martin couldn't have touched the gun because his DNA was not on the holster, not on the gun as George Zimmerman described it. So I think given that, my observations in the courtroom, I think it's going to be important to this jury.

COOPER: But, Dr. Kobilinsky, just because DNA wasn't on the gun doesn't mean, A., that it wasn't there originally and got washed away in the rain or something or that he didn't touch the gun.

KOBILINSKY: It's not just that.

The kind of testing that they do for DNA in this laboratory is not high-sensitivity testing. It's not low-copy number testing. It's the ordinary DNA testing. So if you have got 15, 14, 13 cells, you wouldn't ever see it. In other words, the limits of detection make it such that you couldn't pick up small amounts of DNA. Also, the rain could have washed away the DNA.

I'm not surprised by any of the findings by this expert.

COOPER: The DNA expert also talked about swabs taken from under Trayvon Martin's fingernails. I want to play that part of the testimony.


DE LA RIONDA: So, the right fingernail scrapings of Trayvon Martin, you did not find any of George Zimmerman's DNA there, is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, there was nothing foreign to Trayvon Martin.

DE LA RIONDA: If we could move to the second part, which I believe would be the fingernail scrapings from the left hand. If you could tell us your findings as to that, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. The left hand stick was not tested for the possible presence of blood. It did not have any staining on it whatsoever. I swabbed that for the resting and I did not get any DNA results from that swab.


COOPER: So, Marcia, why was that important for the prosecution?

MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: It's important. I can't say it's critical.

What it proves is that if George Zimmerman, if people understand George Zimmerman to have been saying that Trayvon Martin grabbed him by the head in a manner that would cause some kind of DNA from George Zimmerman to get under his fingernails and slammed his head, as he has claimed, into the sidewalk, you might expect some amount of DNA from George Zimmerman to be under his fingernails.

But it also might not. So I have to say it's helpful to the prosecution. It's not a slam dunk. It's not a big ticket item, but it is something to add to the evidence that the prosecution has presented to show that the contact between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman may not be as Zimmerman described.

COOPER: Mark Geragos, do you think that some of this testimony was ultimately a wash? Because the defense was able to get the DNA expert to basically say just the fact that he couldn't find DNA didn't mean that there wasn't Trayvon Martin's DNA on the holster, on the gun.

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I do think it's a wash. I can't tell you -- and Lawrence will tell you -- how many times you will see, and especially with guns and depending on what the kind of surface is of it, it's very difficult, even when you know that somebody has handled that gun, to pick up a lot of times the DNA off of it or the fingerprints off of it, or any of the telltale signs.

You would be surprised at how often these tests come back negative. So I don't think it's of any great shakes one way or another.

COOPER: And, Mark NeJame, the prosecution established that Zimmerman's gun wasn't made with an external safety button and that it had been loaded in the bullet in the chamber ready to fire. The defense tried to counter this. Let's play that.


O'MARA: And you stated that a person, Mr. Zimmerman, since we know it to be his gun, right?


O'MARA: Would have then racked it to make sure it was in fact ready to fire and then put another bullet in the magazine and reloaded it, correct?


O'MARA: Is that a usual occurrence in your experience dealing with firearms?

SIEWERT: I typically see a wide variety.




O'MARA: You did not consider that to be an unusual occurrence, certainly, did you?



As a matter of fact, the two law enforcement officers here, and probably every law enforcement officer gun you have had a chance to see, that is normal that it is one racked in the chamber and a full magazine, correct?

SIEWERT: Yes. O'MARA: Military do that, correct?

SIEWERT: I'm not sure.


COOPER: Mark, if the prosecution was trying to paint George Zimmerman as a trigger-happy wannabe cop with a bullet in the chamber and another in the magazine ready to go, do you think the defense did a good job countering that?

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I think it was very effective. It showed that it was not out of the ordinary. When you heard the state's opening and you heard the way they tried to portray George Zimmerman, that this is a depraved mind and he has got this evil motive, well, this just shows it was just one way of many that you would in fact have this gun and it was not out of the ordinary and there was nothing -- it was really much to do about nothing.

I think it was a good job of neutralizing. Remember, neutralizing always goes to the side of the defense, because it's the state's burden. So when you level something out, that always hurts the state.

COOPER: Dr. Kobilinsky, from a forensics stand point, was there anything else important you felt today?

KOBILINSKY: There were really no bombshells, none at all.

And I'll tell you, Anderson, I have a carry license, and I don't carry my gun, because I think it's too dangerous. But the fact that the gun is fully loaded, again, is not a surprise. If you're going to carry a gun, you have got to be prepared to fire it. I think the most safe way to handle a way is don't carry it. But I think law enforcement will keep a fully loaded gun. I'm not shocked by anything here. No bombshells here.

COOPER: All right, Lawrence Kobilinsky, appreciate it.

Everyone else, stay with us, plenty more to talk about, including laughter from George Zimmerman. We haven't seen that before. We will tell you what led to it and talk about what the jury might think.

Meantime, let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I'm tweeting tonight, and this special coverage continues when we come back.


COOPER: Rare show of emotion today from George Zimmerman. It came during cross-examination of a key witness to what was inside Zimmerman's head. Central to the state's case is to refute the notion that he reasonably feared for his life or serious injury and establishing that he wrongfully saw Trayvon Martin as another one of those, in his words, "F-ing punks who always get away" who wouldn't on that night. Prosecutors have also sought to show that Zimmerman was well aware of Florida's statutes on self-defense before he shot Martin, not after, as he claimed. Today, they called the military lawyer who taught Zimmerman's criminal litigation course, who says Florida's stand your ground was indeed a topic of discussion in the class, something the defense tried to blunt in cross-examination by turning the focus to the fear that they say Zimmerman felt that night.


DON WEST, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: On the issue of injuries, though, when you talk about that with the class, and your understanding of the law is that the focus is what's going on in the person's mind, not whether they have actually been injured; it's the fear of the injury, is it not?

CARTER: It's imminent injury -- or excuse me -- imminent fear.

So the fact alone that there isn't an injury doesn't necessarily mean that the person did not have a reasonable apprehension of fear. The fact that there were injuries have a tendency to show or support that that person had a reasonable apprehension of fear. But the fact that there wasn't an injury at all doesn't necessarily mean there wasn't reasonable apprehension of fear.

WEST: You don't have to wait until you're almost dead before you can defend yourself?

CARTER: No, I would advise you probably don't do that.



COOPER: Well, back with the panel, Sunny Hostin, Marcia Clark, Mark NeJame and Mark Geragos.

Mark, this is essentially what we were talking about yesterday when you guys were arguing over the extent of his injuries. As long as George Zimmerman was scared by the extent of his injuries, whether or not those injuries really were something that were as serious as maybe he thought they were, that doesn't matter. What matters is what he felt about them, correct?

GERAGOS: That's exactly why I don't understand this witness either.

If you're the prosecution, why do you put this witness on? He, in that little exchange, gave precisely what we discussed last night is going to be the defense's argument. My guess, you're going to see the jury talk about this, precisely this, when they go back there first thing in their deliberations. This is one of the key issues for them to understand that.

And the prosecution, their own witness kind of cuts them off at the knees. COOPER: Marcia Clark, do you agree with that?

CLARK: A little bit.

But I understand why they put him on. They wanted to show the jury that George Zimmerman knew the kind of story he had to tell in order to concoct a story that showed justifiable homicide, to show that he understood the law and what he would have to say.

Now, the professor is, of course, correct. The actual extent of the injuries is not definitive answer as to whether or not the person reasonably believed he was in danger of imminent death. But the problem here is that the nature of the injuries conflicts with George Zimmerman's account.

That's what is significant about these injuries, not whether or not they were actually death-defying. That in itself is actually a red herring. The issue is whether George Zimmerman was truthful when he said he bashed my head into the pavement repeatedly and smacked me and rained blows down on -- that kind of thing, whether or not that was true or whether he was exaggerating it.

GERAGOS: But couldn't they have accomplished the same thing by just introducing the syllabus itself? Why did they bring this guy in and allow the defense to get all this what I consider to be defense- oriented testimony out?

CLARK: I know, Mark. I can't



CLARK: I have no answer for that.


HOSTIN: I have an answer for that, though.

COOPER: All right, Sunny, go ahead.


HOSTIN: I actually thought that it was helpful to the prosecution because we have to remember the jury saw the interview that he gave to Sean Hannity.

And when Sean Hannity asked him, what about stand your ground law, did you know about it, he said I didn't know anything about it. You know, I found out about it after the shooting. Well, this witness just contradicted that. Not only did he say he taught it. He also explained that he taught it practically and he said that George Zimmerman was one of his best students, that he gave him an A. in the class.

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: Sunny, let's play that.


GERAGOS: Why not introduce his report card and the syllabus?

COOPER: Let me just play that interview that the jurors saw for our viewers.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: A lot of this case legally has to do with stand your ground. You have heard a lot about it.

I was just curious, prior to this night, this incident had you even heard of stand your ground?


CARTER: I wanted to teach the class from a practical standpoint where these students can really relate and take something from it and apply it to their own lives. You know, with Florida and other states, they have what's called the stand your ground law, which evolved from the Castle doctrine through case law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you cover that specifically?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you discuss specifically self-defense and stand your ground laws in connection of violent crime such as murder?



COOPER: So what does that -- I mean, Mark, to Sunny's point, that would seem to indicate either he was just incorrect or not telling the truth during that Hannity interview.

GERAGOS: Or he wasn't paying attention in class.

COOPER: That's the other option.

HOSTIN: He's an A-student. He got an A.


GERAGOS: He wouldn't be the first A-student who passed who got it without paying attention.

HOSTIN: Got an A.


NEJAME: If I could come in here... COOPER: Yes, go ahead, Mark.

NEJAME: The state's whole case is going to be to attack the credibility of George Zimmerman. They have opined that he's not taking the stand.

So they're trying to get in every single statement and show every single discrepancy and contradiction that they can to go ahead, lay one atop the other, because that's going to be their argument. They have no other argument, other than George Zimmerman has been lying. And he created this and he overreacted. They have to prove the overreaction to try to get a lesser included on manslaughter.

And that's why you're also hearing other things about a depraved mind, knowing that they have got a very, very small chance, if any at all, on a second-degree homicide. So they have to go ahead and attack his credibility and they're going to do that by taking every statement they can and showing every discrepancy and that's their plan.

COOPER: The defense was fighting even allowing the witness that we heard at the beginning of the segment, Zimmerman's criminal justice professor, to testify, because they say it broadened Zimmerman's past.

Now, Mark O'Mara said in our interview yesterday on this program that if this evidence was allowed in, which it was, it could open up the door for evidence related to Trayvon Martin's past into the courtroom. I just want to play what Mark O'Mara said to me yesterday.


O'MARA: I think that if they start bringing what was in Georgia's background, his past to the table, then it really brings what Trayvon Martin brings to the table, all of his violent acts that we know about and some of the fighting that he was involved in. If that's not going to get on the table, then I think whatever George may have done in the background shouldn't be on the table as well.


COOPER: Mark Geragos, what parts of Trayvon Martin's past could come in as evidence?

GERAGOS: This is the kind of variation of the goosey gander rule. If you're going to let in something for Zimmerman, then you should let in something for Martin.

Obviously, the only way I can see, and maybe NeJame can correct me under Florida law, but the only way I can see that they will get in the Trayvon Martin stuff is if Zimmerman comes up and testifies and kind of pushes this story a little bit further, because I don't think based on the current tape that they have introduced to this jury that they're going to -- that this judge is going to let them go down that path.


COOPER: Mark NeJame, do you agree with that under Florida law?

NEJAME: Yes. Yes. Mark is exactly right. Look, they didn't open the door. The judge was very astute the way she ruled.

She said this was the theory of prosecution, and that they were attempting to establish -- and also it's valid in my opinion as far as cross-examination and impeachment. So, no, they came in through another angle. They didn't open the door as to character. They had a theory of prosecution and they used it under that and it did not open up the door.

I agree that if Zimmerman takes the stand and he opens it up in another area, then it's going to be a back and forth. Not going to happen, not with this judge and not with the defense even thinking, in my opinion, about putting him on the stand.

COOPER: All right.

GERAGOS: They're never going to -- he's never going to take the stand.

COOPER: Yes. And, Marcia and Sunny, you all agree with that as well?

CLARK: No way.

HOSTIN: Yes, no way.

CLARK: Oh, God, yes. There's no reason, absolutely no reason for him to do it. I can't see him doing any better on the witness stand than he's done through the statements that have already been introduced. There's no reason for it.

COOPER: All right, everyone, stick around.

A reminder: For more on the story, you can go to

And just ahead tonight, Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother, is expected to be one of the final witnesses on Friday. Many believe it could be obviously emotional testimony. I will talk to Daryl Parks ahead. He's an attorney for the Martin family -- and more from our panel ahead.


COOPER: As we said, Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother, is expected to take the stand on Friday, right before the prosecution rests.

Today, prosecutors brought George Zimmerman's past into the courtroom. The judge has yet to rule whether the defense will be able to bring up anything from Trayvon Martin's past, as they would like to.

Daryl Parks is an attorney for Trayvon Martin's family. He joins us now. Mr. Parks, thanks very much for being on the show.

Earlier today, there were thoughts that the prosecution would call Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, to testify. Do you expect she will take the stand when the court resumes on Friday?

DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY: Anderson, there's a strong possibility she will take the stand.

COOPER: What about Trayvon Martin's brother? There's also some who expect maybe he would be asked to testify as well.

PARKS: There's a very strong possibility that he will testify.

COOPER: How important to the prosecution's case do you think their testimony is in terms of identifying whose voice it is on that 911 call?

PARKS: Well, if they call them to the stand, I would assume that it's very important to their case.

However, I'm not the lawyer trying the case, so I have to defer whatever their strategy is. But if they call them, I would suspect that they -- they expect to get very strong testimony from them in this case.

COOPER: The state today presented evidence about Zimmerman's past, about his education course work.

When I spoke with Mark O'Mara yesterday, he told me that he believes that opens the door for more discussion of Trayvon Martin's history. Do you think that should be admissible, that one opens up the door to the other?

PARKS: Well, not at all. And I think we have to remember here, in this particular case, we know clearly that Trayvon Martin was trying to get away from George Zimmerman. And when he approached George Zimmerman, he asked him, "Why are you following me?" And so Trayvon's past has nothing to do with that interaction, which was the initial interaction.

We really know that, from what happened in this case, that George Zimmerman was following Trayvon and almost three different times came close to him and had an opportunity to say who he was and failed to do so. And as you heard from the detectives, quite possibly had he done that, this situation would have never happened.

So we think that his background and also you have to take into perspective that his interaction with the detectives, where Mark O'Mara has come forward with the theory that Trayvon Martin -- excuse me, that George Zimmerman was participating with the officers, he was acting in good faith, all the things he's done to bolster George Zimmerman's testimony goes into the knowledge that he had and his experience in dealing with these type of self-defense situations and knowing that if he showed the if he showed the appearance of cooperating with law enforcement, that would go to his benefit. He learned all these things at his college that he attended.

COOPER: How concerned are you about the prosecution's case at this point? I mean, they're basically one day away from resting their case. There's a lot of analysts, former prosecutors, defense attorneys who are looking at this case and saying they don't see that the state has done a successful job of proving second-degree murder; perhaps -- perhaps the jury will come back with a manslaughter charge.

Are you confident in the way the prosecution's case has unfolded in the testimony given by a lot of the prosecution's witnesses, which a lot of analysts say really has worked toward the benefit of the defense?

PARKS: Well, I have to tell you, Anderson, I'm sitting in that courtroom every day, so unlike these other analysts who do not have an opportunity to witness the jury, do not have an opportunity to see all the evidence, to see the interaction, to see the jurors and how they are responding to the evidence, I don't think -- I don't think they get the full body of it.

COOPER: So you think you're seeing something that the TV isn't showing?

PARKS: Right. They can't see the jurors. I can see the jurors. I mean, I see when, for example, today when the expert was showing the contact of the gun, I saw every one of them except for one was engaged in writing. It was very powerful. Now, someone sitting in L.A., he would never get that. But I saw it.

COOPER: Were you surprised by the testimony of, for instance, the lead investigator on the case? Because a number of people who are observing it, again watching it on television, said that they had never heard a police officer called by the prosecution give testimony that was so favorable to a defense.

PARKS: Well, I think also we have to remember how this case unfolded in terms of the investigation and interacting with the police department, the case being taken over by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, somewhat involvement from the FBI. No one likes for someone to come in and take over their case.

But I think at the end of the day, though, we have to remember one thing, for example, that came out of this testimony is that he thought that George Zimmerman was exaggerating his injuries. And so I mean, you have to take -- it's an up and down thing.

COOPER: So you think there may be some ill will on the part of the lead investigator to the way he was taken off the case, the way this case was handled?

PARKS: No, I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say there was ill will. I think that because he had mixed emotions, at the end of the day, he wanted him to be charged, at least with manslaughter. So I would rest my opinion on that.

COOPER: All right. Daryl Parks, appreciate you being with us. Thanks.

PARKS: Thank you.

COOPER: Back to our panel. Former prosecutor Sunny Hostin and Marcia Clark, and veteran defense attorneys Mark Nejame and Mark Geragos.

Marcia Clark, you know, it's a difficult position to be interviewing the attorney for the family. There's only so much I guess he would say. I'm not sure, you know, how much he really wants to be forthcoming. But he did seem to kind of indicate that there -- there may be, or he perceived perhaps some dissatisfaction on the part of lead investigator toward the way the case was handled.

MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: He did seem to hint at that. He didn't want to come right out and say it. And I'm not sure what the truth of that is. The jury's not going to know, I'm sure.

I think that he made very important points. No. 1, that he felt, even at the time, that George Zimmerman exaggerated Trayvon Martin's aggression, conduct, and his injuries. And he also -- Serino also made it clear that he would not have stopped, and -- and stopped Trayvon Martin or saw anything suspicious in his behavior, as described by Zimmerman. So he made some very strong points for the prosecution. And he made some other points that the defense has been able to correlate.

But let me point out one more thing that he said that I thought was extremely important to remember. He said, you know, we can't see the jury's reaction to what's going on in court. And that is a very important point. We can't. And Sunny can, and I think that's a good thing.

COOPER: Sunny...

CLARK: No. The problem is interpreting...

COOPER: Right.

CLARK: The problem is interpreting what they're doing. Taking notes. But what are they writing? But still, that's an important thing to remember. And I remember feeling that way myself. You can't see what I can see. I see when they sit forward. I see when they sit back, and that matters.

COOPER: And Sunny, you're sitting in the courtroom and you see that, as well?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. And perhaps that's why my perspective has been so different from everyone else. I'm in the courtroom every single day, and I'm looking at the jury. I can feel what's going on in the courtroom. And they've been very engaged. A lot of times, actually, when they're at -- when the prosecution is asking question, they are looking at the prosecutor. When the defense attorneys are asking questions, they're not really looking at the defense attorneys. A lot of times they're just looking at the witness.

And so I feel that I have a different perspective because I'm in the jury room.

And this state -- the state has put on a pretty compelling case for those jurors.

COOPER: Mark Geragos, you're the one sitting there in L.A. I'm not sure he was referencing you in particular, but he did say L.A.

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I was going to say, I'm in -- I'm in Berkeley.

COOPER: OK. But do you think that's a valid point, that the TV doesn't show the jurors, and therefore, we're not in the room and the perception may be different?

GERAGOS: I absolutely think that the perception of what the jurors are doing is better if you're looking at the jurors. I absolutely disagree that you can read the jurors with any kind of specificity. I can't tell you how many times I've thought somebody was with me who wasn't or somebody it was against me who wasn't.

So it really, in fact we often joke in the office, it's like reading tealeaves to try to figure out what it means when the juror's writing or what they're not writing or anything else. They can be totally engaged, and then they can be totally against you. So I -- you know, I just don't buy that.

I think it is important to be able to watch the testimony as it comes in, but anybody who claims that they can figure out what the jurors are thinking as the evidence comes in, they've got better powers -- psychic powers than I do.

COOPER: And Mark Nejame...

HOSTIN: I think I do, Mark. I think I do.

COOPER: Mark Nejame.

MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I've been in -- I've been in the courtroom, and what I observed is very simply you've got one of the jurors who takes notes for every single thing that comes out. You've got one juror who outwardly appears to be disinterested. And you've got the other three or four who take notes at certain times intermittently.

With that said, to me, it's like Geragos is just saying. You know, it's like -- it's like unless you're a master poker player, somebody starts twitching their eyes, do they have a good hand or a bad hand? You really can't necessarily read those things.

COOPER: Right.

NEJAME: You just know that there's a tell, but you don't know how to interpret it. And I will tell you, though, that this is an engaged jury. By and large, at least the five of them that I've seen, they really are paying attention, and they do seem to be following it. So if that's, in fact true, then both sides will play to that.

COOPER: All right. Everyone, stay where you are. Up next, George Zimmerman's family has stood firmly behind him throughout his case -- throughout this case, maintaining all along he acted in self- defense, that he's not in any way a racist. In a moment, we'll take a look at the Zimmerman clan and ask our panel about the chances that any of them may be called to the witness stand.


COOPER: It's a strong possibility that we'll never know whose scream for help was captured during a neighbor's phone call to 911 on the night George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin encountered each other. Trayvon Martin's mother insists it's her son's voice and any mother knows her child's cry for help. But listen to what Zimmerman's father testified at the pre-trial hearing last year.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you able to identify whose voice it was, screaming for help?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And whose was it?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN SR.: It was absolutely George's.


COOPER: Zimmerman's family has obviously stood by him from day one, maintaining he acted in self-defense, insisting he's not the man prosecutors have made him out to be. Randi Kaye looks into it.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George Zimmerman may have killed Trayvon Martin. But make no mistake: his family says he's no monster. His older brother has said that George Zimmerman would never chase anyone down.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN JR., GEORGE'S BROTHER: He's the neighbor that everybody would want to have. He's the kind of guy that sees somebody struggling with changing a tire and stops to help them, or helps older people with their groceries. He goes out of his way to help people. He always has.

KAYE: At this bail hearing last year, George Zimmerman's mother, testifying over the phone, talked of him helping the homeless and mentoring African-American students.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's very protective of people. Very protective of homeless people, and very protective also of children. No matter their race.

KAYE: His father has tried to dispel rumors that George Zimmerman is a racist, who racially profiled Trayvon Martin the night he shot him. In a book he wrote about the case, Robert Zimmerman Sr. wrote, "Many of George's closest and most trusted friends are African- American," adding "There is a tremendous amount of evidence that George is absolutely not a racist in any sense of the word."

In an effort to prove that Zimmerman himself has African-American roots, the family released this photo exclusively to a CNN legal analyst, showing Zimmerman's grandmother, who is half black, and his grandfather. That little girl on his lap is George Zimmerman's mother.

Still, none of that squares with what Zimmerman's cousin told police in this audio recording.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was afraid that he may have done something because the kid was black. Because growing up, they've always made -- him and his family have always made statements that they don't like black people if they don't act like white people.

KAYE: But his immediate family has always stayed on message.

(on camera): When this is all over, they hope people will conclude that George Zimmerman is a nice guy. His father likes to point out George grew up in a close family, with one brother and one sister, raised in a religious Catholic home. He was an altar boy for seven or eight years.

The priests thought so much of him, his father says, he gave him his first job: in the rectory.

That's the George Zimmerman his family wants the world to know.

(voice-over): In terms of his son's injuries, George Zimmerman's father described them for the court, by phone.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN SR.: His face was swollen quite a bit. He had a protective cover over his nose. His lip was swollen and cut, and there were two vertical gashes on the back of his head.

KAYE: Robert Zimmerman Sr. spoke to WOFL, in shadow for his safety early on, and painted a picture that supported his son's claim of self-defense.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN SR.: Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of "you're going to die now" or "you're going to die tonight," something to that effect. He continued to beat George, and at some point, George pulled his pistol.

KAYE: If any of the Zimmermans are called to testify, a letter written by his mother might provide a preview of what they might say on the witness stand. Written earlier this year on the anniversary of her son's arrest, Zimmerman's mother wrote, "April 11, 2012 will be forever remembered by the Zimmerman family as the day the justice system failed us as Americans and, as a consequence, an innocent man was arrested for a crime he did not commit, solely to placate the masses."

Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: Joining us again, Sunny Hostin, Marcia Clark, Mark Nejame and Mark Geragos.

The prosecution might call Sybrina Fulton, as we talked about, Trayvon Martin's mom, on Friday before they rest their case. And Mark, I mean, you think it's likely that it would be wise for the defense to call members of George Zimmerman's family, specifically to talk about their claims that it's George Zimmerman's voice calling for help on the 911.

GERAGOS: I think they absolutely will do that. I couldn't understand why they wouldn't. I mean, and I might even bookend it. If they put her on, on Friday, and I know they, as Mark says, they don't want to start for Monday. They may go into the four corners small, the old Dean Smith stall. If they do that, then I would put him on, on Monday. But I don't think there's any downside into putting him on right after the prosecution rests with her.

COOPER: Sunny, do you think having, you know, Trayvon Martin's mother and then maybe the father of George Zimmerman, I mean, does that negate each other? Or because Trayvon Martin's parents have been in that courtroom every day, and the jury has come to see them -- at times they've gotten up when the testimony is too emotional, is too difficult or too graphic -- do you think one is a more powerful witness than another?

HOSTIN: You know, I do. I think that we have to remember that there are six women on the jury, and we have to remember that five of them are mothers. They are going to relate to a another mother telling them a mother knows her child's voice, especially in distress. It's something that, as a mother myself, I understand.

I also want to say that I wouldn't be surprised if they called Trayvon Martin's brother, Javaris Fulton. I interviewed him, and he is very elegant. He looks a lot like Trayvon Martin. He's very well- spoken. I think he would actually be a wonderful witness for the state. And so I wouldn't be surprised if he would be called...

COOPER: And you think what...

HOSTIN: ... to identify his brother's voice.

COOPER: Because that's what I was going to ask. You think that's why he would be called, to identify his brother's voice?

HOSTIN: Absolutely. Because when I interviewed him, he talked about how close they were and how they grew up together. They even shared a room. So if anyone understands or recalls his voice, it would be his brother. So if you have both his mother and his brother saying the same thing, you get the benefit of having the mother and the brother who looks like Trayvon Martin, who goes to college, looks like your everyday guy, I think that would carry a lot of weight with this jury.

COOPER: All right. We're going to take another quick break. We're going to have more on the trial ahead. I want to get the panel's take on what the prosecution needs to do before resting its case.

Also, the breaking news in Egypt. The country a powder keg tonight after a coup to depose the president. The U.S. embassy has ordered all non-essential personnel to evacuate. The situation is extremely fluid. An update ahead.


COOPER: Joining us again, Sunny Hostin, Marcia Clark, Mark Nejame and Mark Geragos.

Let's talk about what you're all anticipating in terms of what kind of a defense that the defense is actually going to put on. How long do you see this going? Who do you see them calling, Mark?

GERAGOS: I think -- my guess is it's going to be very short. I would think they'll put on the father to testify exactly to what you just played and have been playing, basically identifying his voice on the scream.

I think they may put on their own pathologist, although I don't really know at this point why they would do that. And some other back fill.

But I don't think it would be a very long defense case. I would imagine less than two days would be my guess.

COOPER: Really? So they don't need to put on a robust defense, you don't think?

GERAGOS: I don't think so. I think -- I think this is a case they have tried within the prosecution's case through cross- examination, and basically turning the prosecution witnesses into their own, and I just don't think that Mark is going to go there in terms of putting on a robust or lengthy case or defense.

COOPER: Mark Nejame, do you agree with that?

NEJAME: Yes, that's exactly what's going to happen. They're going to close up a few holes. They're going to address some of the inconsistencies. But the overall statements that we've heard from Zimmerman are pretty much correct.

I think you will see a filibuster. You already saw one today. Filibusters just don't happen in the legislature. They really want to start this case on Monday. They want to take the deposition of Daryl parks before they go ahead and proceed. So I think you're going to see some things dragged out a bit tomorrow. Then you're going to go into judgment of acquittal arguments. And I think that, even though the judge wanted them to end today and start tomorrow, I think that, in great likelihood, they're going to drag out the day. They'll have judgment of acquittal arguments and more than -- more than likely, you're going to have them really commence their case on Monday.

COOPER: And Sunny, it's entirely possible for the jury, if they don't believe that the state has proved second-degree murder, that the jury themselves could convict on manslaughter, correct?

HOSTIN: Well, if they're charged, yes. If they're instructed that they can consider lesser includeds like manslaughter, I think that that's very possible.

COOPER: Marcia, is that likely that they will be instructed?

CLARK: Oh, yes. I mean, I can't imagine they wouldn't be. The defense may object. There are times when the defense wants to play an all or nothing game with the jury and say no, second-degree, no manslaughter instruction. It's second-degree or nothing.

I think it's a very dicey, very questionable move on their part, and I don't think that they'll do it. And even if they do, Anderson, the judge can overrule them and say, "No, I'm giving the instruction. There is evidence, substantial evidence to support it." And give the lesser included instruction. I fully expect to see it here.

COOPER: All right. Marcia Clark, everyone, thank you very much.

Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks joins us with a "360 Bulletin."

SUSAN HENDRICKS, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, breaking news in Egypt where the situation tonight is still very fluid. Hours after the military deposed the country's first democratically-elected president, the Muslim Brotherhood says Mohamed Morsy is under house arrest, along with some of his inner circle.

According to Egypt's state-run media, at least eight people were killed and more than 300 wounded in violent clashes today. Pro- and anti-Morsy demonstrators have filled the streets.

Outrage tonight in South America over what happened to the jet carrying Bolivia's president home from Moscow. The plane was forced to land in Vienna to refuel after several other countries refused to allow the plane to enter their airspace. There were suspicions that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was on board. A search in Vienna revealed no sign of him.

Back home, our first look at the damage from the fire that took the lives of 19 elite Hot Shots. The fire is partially contained, but officials are concerned it could flare up again at any time.

A "360 Follow." CNN has obtained an exclusive video of American Kenneth Bae, who was sentenced in April to 15 years hard labor in North Korea. In the tape, he appeals for authorities to forgive them and asks the U.S. government to help secure his release. And the Justice Department says Tiffany's V.P. of product development was dabbling in product acquisition, you could say. She is charged with stealing 165 pieces of Tiffany jewels, totaling $1.3 million in value, and then selling them to an international jewelry company.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Susan, thanks.

That does it for our coverage of the George Zimmerman trial in this special hour reporter. Coming up, another edition of AC 360 with all the latest on the crisis in Egypt. We'll be right back.