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Interview With George Zimmerman`s Defense Attorney Mark O`Mara
Aired July 16, 2013 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL JEANTEL, FRIEND OF TRAYVON MARTIN: Shock, just shock. You just -- like, wow, you can`t believe what just happened. You were just on (INAUDIBLE) the phone with a person. I`m finding out two days later, he dead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was George Zimmerman.
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER: I heard my son scream.
GLADYS ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S MOTHER: My son George.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I knew that it was Trayvon`s voice.
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, SR., GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S FATHER: My son George.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to believe that they`re innocent. They said anything a mother and father would say. I had no doubt George feared for his life.
JEANTEL: BS, just BS. Trayvon said "creepy-ass cracka." He keep telling me that the man was still watching him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place.
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH: Hey, we`ve had some break-ins in our neighborhood.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN "AC360": Do you think Trayvon Martin threw the first punch?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he did.
JEANTEL: If you were a real man, you would have stand on that stage and tell what happened.
ANGELA COREY, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Murderer.
MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They denigrate the whole process of having a jury trial. How dare they not accept a jury verdict! They should accept it like adults and with some sense of grace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had this person been white, would you feel the same way?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
COREY: I think all of us thought race did not play a role.
JEANTEL: It was racial. Let`s be honest, racial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SUNNY HOSTIN, GUEST HOST: Good evening. I`m Sunny Hostin, in for Nancy Grace tonight. Thank you so much for joining us.
George Zimmerman acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, shocking the nation, protests across the country, social media explodes and a federal investigation under way. We finally hear from the all-female jury who acquitted George Zimmerman. Juror B-37 takes us inside the jury deliberation room and why they found George Zimmerman not guilty.
But right now, with us live is George Zimmerman`s defense attorney, Mark O`Mara. I want to go straight out to him. Thank you, Mark, so much for joining me.
O`MARA: Good evening, Sunny. Great seeing you again.
HOSTIN: Good seeing you. I guess, you know, what many people want to know is what is the first thing that went through your mind when you heard not guilty?
O`MARA: Well, you know, you always want to hear those words as a criminal defense attorney. I`ve got to say that my -- the way I looked at this case in the beginning was that it was full of self-defense. It truly was, with all the evidence we had of the injuries and whatnot.
So while we`re always worried what a jury is thinking, it really felt to me as though we had presented a good case, that the state had presented a very weak case for second degree or any crime. So I`m always worried right before the words are spoken, but I truly expected not guilty in this one.
HOSTIN: Well, you know, talking about expectations, many people are talking about George Zimmerman not really showing much emotion throughout the entire trial, not showing much remorse.
I think we have a clip of part of the George Zimmerman interview with Sean Hannity in which he says that it was God`s plan. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS "HANNITY": Is there anything you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow Trayvon that night?
ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.
HANNITY: Do you regret that you had a gun that night?
ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.
HANNITY: Do you feel you wouldn`t be here for this interview if you didn`t have that gun?
ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.
HANNITY: You feel you would not be here?
ZIMMERMAN: I feel that it was all God`s plan, and for me to second guess it or judge it...
HANNITY: Is there anything you might do differently, in retrospect, now that time has passed a little bit?
ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: So let`s talk about that. I mean, does he still feel that way, that he would not have done anything differently?
O`MARA: Well, I`ve spoken to George about this several times because I know that a camera (ph) can come across to people and say that that`s just insensitive, that most people would say, I would do anything different to avoid tragic consequence like happened here.
But I think what George was saying was that under the context of what he was going through, that he didn`t make any decisions that were improper that he would change. And I really think that`s what he was trying to get across.
I have said several time in my life, if not more, when dealing with the loss of a loved one -- from my mom passing, my dad passing, a niece passed with cancer -- that you sort of accept things by saying it`s God`s plan. It may well have come across somewhat insensitive, but I really think George being a religious kind of guy, just looked at it and said, I have to accept this as God`s plan.
HOSTIN: Well, what about his reaction to the verdict? Because I was watching him, and you almost saw no reaction. Is that something that you counseled him to do? Why didn`t we see more of a reaction?
O`MARA: Well, he really was counseled by Don and I, and he was also not admonished but instructed by the judge, as was the rest of the audience, that there was to be no emotion whatsoever shown. And we told George, Whatever the verdict, just sit as you have during the trial, be respectful of the process, be respectful of the judge and be respectful of the Martin family and just listen to the words, and we`ll talk about it afterwards. And that`s what he did.
HOSTIN: Now, I have to ask you -- I mean, you know, I was a federal prosecutor. I`ve been on the other side of the table from great defense attorneys, and sometimes we have really good relationships with, you know, the other side, and sometimes not so good. It seemed to me that the relationship that you had with the prosecution`s team here was really contentious. Can you speak to that?
O`MARA: Well, I`ve done this for 30 years, and I`ve done death penalty cases and a bunch of other contentious murder cases, but this was the first time in my career I filed one motion for sanctions against a prosecutor, and I think I filed six. So it was very contentious.
I think that they took a weak case for bad reasons. I think they were politically motivated in the way they took the case on. I`m very frustrated that they decided not to put it in front a Seminole Country grand jury that was waiting to hear the evidence, made the decision six days before Ms. Corey was up for reelection, and then hide the evidence the way they did with us.
It took us hundreds of hours to get discovery that, Sunny, if I was against you as a federal prosecutor, you would have laid on my desk the first week we were involved with each other, and it took six months to get a picture of my client`s injuries. That`s just not fair.
HOSTIN: You know, and I wonder about that. We heard you argue in court that, really, the prosecution was playing a game of hide the ball from the very beginning. And in particular, what was fascinating to me was your argument about Trayvon Martin`s cell phone, the fact that you allege that the prosecution didn`t give you the text messages, didn`t give you the pictures, and really hid the information from you.
Can you tell us a bit about that?
O`MARA: Sure. We found out that in January, January 23rd, 2013, that they had reports generated by their IT expert that was given to Bernie De La Rionda in the presence of a couple of the other prosecutors. And they had that and we know that now without question because the Mr. Kruidbos, the IT person who was fired last Friday, told us under oath that he had given those reports to them.
We did not get those until June, and only after we filed motions and then only after we had Bernie De La Rionda say to the judge in response to her question that he had gotten no other reports and no other information. And that was just untruthful.
When we finally got to the point of the hearing, where I wanted Bernie De La Rionda to take the stand, the judge sort of punted it and didn`t put him on the stand I think because had she actually had him testify and he say what he said, it would have been immediate contempt proceedings and it would have interfered with the trial.
HOSTIN: You know, Angela Corey`s office, of course, has responded, and they claim they have done nothing wrong. I want to let you listen to an interview that they did with HLN`s Vinnie Politan. And they were asked, basically, what their reaction was to -- or how would they describe George Zimmerman in one word. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VINNIE POLITAN, HLN: One word to describe George Zimmerman.
POLITAN: George Zimmerman.
BERNIE DE LA RIONDA, PROSECUTOR: Lucky.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: Mark, I have to get your reaction to that because Angela Corey, even though your client has been acquitted of second degree murder, described him as a murderer. Bernie De La Rionda described him as lucky. What is your response to that?
O`MARA: That it`s disgusting that they would denigrate a jury verdict the way that they did. Our whole process is based upon the fact that we will trust citizens to decide our criminal cases. And for them to come in after the fact and denigrate the jury, thereby denigrating the whole process and not accepting this verdict the way they would, only emphasizes the way they`ve treated this whole case, which is disrespect for everything that most lawyers hold near and dear.
HOSTIN: Well, many people are saying that perhaps that was defamatory. Would you sue them?
O`MARA: Well, I think -- I don`t do 1st Amendment work, but when somebody has been determined by their peers to be innocent of a case, not guilty, for a prosecutor who is sworn to uphold the law and a jury`s verdict, to come in and counter that with slander or libel, yes, if it`s there, she should be responsible for it.
I would like to say that this was unusual for her behavior or for the behavior of the prosecution team. I almost could have written the script, if I had just thought of the worst, non -- or inappropriate thing someone could have said, I might have come up with those words for them.
HOSTIN: Well, let me ask you this, then. When you think about Angela Corey, what`s your one word?
O`MARA: See, I can`t run into the -- you know, into the garbage pile or the sandbox with her, the way she did. Not the time, not the place for it. Very difficult prosecutor to work with with discovery. I think she had motivations in the beginning of this case that had nothing to do with justice. They went in front of that jury, and the first thing they said in their voir dire was that they`re seeking justice, and then they treat George Zimmerman the way they did during the discovery process.
During the trial, they scream at the jury words that were never -- in a way that were never spoken by George Zimmerman just to inflame passions. John Guy ends his closing argument by say, Look into his heart, which is a blatant request for sympathy, which you cannot do, and they do it. So at least they`re consistent.
HOSTIN: Well, what about sanctions? I mean, we have this pending sanctions motion against the prosecution team. And you mentioned that in all your 30 years, you`ve maybe done it one time, and in this case, you had to do it six times. Will you follow up with that?
O`MARA: Absolutely. I`m actually going to amend the motion because I think that there is -- now that we don`t have the deadline of the trial in front of us, then I think there needs to be a more well-founded motion, which is going to include the history of everything else we had to go through to get us to the point because we shouldn`t look at the sixth event in and of itself. We should really look at the history of the efforts that they`ve done to try and keep information from us, particularly Brady information, which they know what it is and they know they`re supposed to be giving it.
HOSTIN: Well, when we come back -- and please stay with us...
HOSTIN: ... I want to talk to you a bit about George Zimmerman, where he is now and what the prosecution says was his lack of courage to take the stand.
O`MARA: Be glad to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Don West gave you a very hard time.
JEANTEL: I had told you -- are you listening?
MORGAN: What is your...
JEANTEL: I had told you what happened to (INAUDIBLE) interview. I had rush (ph) on me. Are you listening?
COOPER: Did you find it hard at times to understand what she was saying?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of the time.
JEANTEL: They have any -- if the officer want to talk to me, they could talk to me to know (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she was using phrases I have never heard before.
MORGAN: What is your view of him?
JEANTEL: I`m (INAUDIBLE) today. I`m leaving (ph) today.
DON WEST, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Are you refusing to come back tomorrow?
JEANTEL: To you?
The only reason I have not said nothing to Don West is because my parents taught me better.
COOPER: What did you make of her testimony?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn`t think it was very credible, but I felt very sorry for her. She didn`t ask to be in this place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: Welcome back. I`m Sunny Hostin, in for Nancy Grace tonight. And joining me is George Zimmerman`s defense attorney, Mark O`Mara.
And Mark, I want to take up where we just left off and let you take a listen to what the prosecutor said about George Zimmerman recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DE LA RIONDA: I pray that he would have the courage to take the stand, but as we all well know, he`s got the right not to, and he made that decision.
POLITAN: He was afraid to take the stand?
DE LA RIONDA: The proof is in the pudding. Did he take the stand?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: Now -- now, Mark, he also said at one time that he prayed that George Zimmerman had the courage to get on the witness stand. What`s your reaction to that?
O`MARA: You know, I guess it`s OK to say it after the fact. We all know that the client`s decision not to take the stand is one of the most revered rights that you have in a criminal trial. And George exercised it not because he was afraid to speak. If he was afraid to speak, he would have, you know, lawyered up the first time that an officer talked to him.
George did what he thought was right in talking to the officers every time they asked him a question, every reenactment they wanted to do. He passed a CVSA (ph), so we know he was telling the truth in that context.
But it was a decision at the trial level that was a strategy decision. And I`ve told -- I`ve said so before I would only counsel my client in this case to consider taking the stand if I thought the state had proven their case and that George, by his testimony, had to counter something.
The state never proved their case because they never had a case, and there was no reason to expose him to the vitriol that is now apparent coming from Ms. Corey afterwards. Why take that risk when there was no purpose in it?
HOSTIN: Now, it`s interesting that you say that, that you counseled him, because I was in the courtroom, and it seemed to me, Mark, that he wanted to take the witness stand. Is that accurate? Was my read accurate of that?
O`MARA: You`re right on. He wanted to tell that jury what he did, why he did it and what position that he was put in, why he had to react that way that he reacted. He really did want to talk and want to give his side of the story.
But you know, you and I know, Sunny, as trial attorneys that the consideration of putting your client on the stand is one you have to be very careful about because you can do more or harm than good. And in a case where it was so weak to begin with, it was just a strategy decision of not taking the chance of a risk. Had he not ever given statements, he would have testified without question. But with six statements already before the jury, courtesy of the state, there was just no reason to do anything else.
HOSTIN: Interesting you just mentioned that, courtesy of the state, because many people are now, of course, Monday night quarterbacking, but saying, Why did the state do that? Had the state not put those statements in, would George Zimmerman have testified?
O`MARA: I think if they had not put the statements in that we would have had George testify. I haven`t said that before, but I think that without his statements, then he did need to tell the jury his story as to why he did what he did. I mean, you know, with self-defense, you have to look at it and it has to be an affirmative belief that you were in reasonable fear of great bodily injury. That`s got to come from George`s mouth, maybe from the circumstances. But since it came from his mouth in six different statements and it was out there, the state decided to put them in for whatever reason, but it certainly made our decision a lot easier.
HOSTIN: And very quickly, where is George Zimmerman now? Have you spoken to him? What is his reaction to the reaction of the verdict?
O`MARA: Well, you know, he`s still in hiding. He`s still very worried. He is surprised that people didn`t listen to the trial and understand that he did act in self-defense. I was a bit concerned or surprised because I would have thought that people would have listened more. But unfortunately, people who have made up their minds about this case one way or the other are not going to change their mind because of the facts of the case. They already have their opinions set. And unfortunately, it leads to more divide, rather than less, between us.
HOSTIN: Well, stay right with us because I want to talk about the nation`s reaction to this verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a couple of them in there that wanted to find him guilty of something. And after hours and hours and hours of deliberating over the law and reading it other and over and over again, we decided there`s just no way, other place to go. We had three not guilties, one second degree murder and two manslaughters.
COOPER: So half the jury felt he was not guilty, two manslaughters and one second degree?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
COOPER: Can you say where -- do you want to say where you were on that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was not guilty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: I`m Sunny Hostin, in for Nancy Grace tonight. Thank you so much for joining me. And with me is Mark O`Mara, George Zimmerman`s defense attorney. And Mark, thank you so much for being here again.
O`MARA: Sure. It`s good to be here.
HOSTIN: Let me ask you -- you know, we just saw juror B-37 talk about the verdict. And what was so striking I think to many people is she voted not guilty the minute she got into the jury room. But there were others, one second degree murder, two for manslaughter, the other one also not guilty. Many people, my good friend Mark Geragos among them, said that you won this case at jury selection.
What do you think about that?
O`MARA: You know, people say that a lot. I will tell you that I enjoyed the jury selection. I thought that I connected with the jury a lot, and that is important so that they get a feel for where we`re going to and where we`re going with the case. So I felt good about that.
I think you get a good read in jury selection. I`ve never believed it`s won there. I think you have to have people who will listen, who are intelligent, and I think that`s the type of jury that we got through jury selection and the rest of the case.
HOSTIN: Well, let me ask you about the elephant in the room. Everyone`s talking about race. You had five white female jurors, one black Hispanic juror. And people are saying they brought racial bias into that jury room. They didn`t connect with Rachel Jeantel. They connected with George Zimmerman.
What`s your reaction to that?
O`MARA: Oh! It`s so difficult to really tell. And being a white guy, I`m not the guy to ask because I`d rather that be answered by an African-American or somebody who actually has a feel for what it`s like to deal with on a daily basis.
But from this white guy`s perspective, I think that they were intelligent and listening. There was definitely a disconnect with Ms. Jeantel, with the language concerns and with her attitude concerns. I don`t know that that was because she was black. I think if she was white and acted that way or spoke that way, there would have been a disconnect.
But it was so difficult dealing with the racial issues because we wanted to keep race out of it because I don`t think it was appropriately put on it. Yet you can`t look at this case and say that it`s not a lot about race, or at least the reaction to it was a lot about race.
HOSTIN: Do you think this case was about race?
O`MARA: On the outside of the courtroom, absolutely. On the inside of the courtroom, it wasn`t.
HOSTIN: Please stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY: Prey -- P-R-E-Y.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very, very, very saddened, but we accept the jury`s verdict.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what we`re asking the Justice Department now to do is to look at the race issue.
O`MARA: Race was put on top of this case by certain people who wanted it to be a racial event. * (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pray, p-r-a-y.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re very saddened, but we accept the jury`s verdict.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we`re asking the Justice Department now to do is to look at the race issue.
O`MARA: Race was put on top of this case by certain people who wanted it to be a racial event.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every sentence that Mr. Zimmerman said to the police said that he acted the way he did because of race.
ZIMMERMAN: And he`s a black male.
JEANTEL: Trayvon is not a thug. They need to know a definition of a thug.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: Welcome back. I`m Sunny Hostin, in for Nancy Grace this evening. And joining me is Mark O`Mara, George Zimmerman`s defense attorney. And, Mark, I want to ask you, I mean, what is your reaction to this nationwide response to the verdict? People are protesting in the streets all over the country. The attorney general has weighed in on this. And I think what was interesting to me, being a native New Yorker, I picked up the newspaper, and the New York Daily News has a cover -- had a cover yesterday, I hope you can see it, which was fascinating to me. I mean, it sort of talks about Emmett Hill, James Bird, Jr., and then Trayvon Martin. Lumping this incident into the civil rights frame. What is your response to all of this?
O`MARA: Well, initially I was very surprised, because I thought the world, the universe, the nation looked at every moment of the trial, listened to it, understood that this was a true case of self-defense, understood that at the very least it was a tragic intersection of two people`s lives that ended up in a death, but it was not a racial event by everything that came out in that courtroom.
So when I woke up the next day to all of the protests, I was really surprised, but then I realized the people who have opinions in this case are not going to change them no matter what, and they just weren`t going to change them based upon the facts of the case. It is unfortunate, but I think that`s what happened.
I was also quite surprised that the Justice Department came out and said that they were going to look into this. They started their investigation over a year ago when the FBI interviewed 40 people or so, and every one of them said that George Zimmerman was meek, mild, and absolute nonracist, sort of a provable nonracist. And I think that may have been a situation where they are placating some of the anger and trying to address it in a nice way, but I don`t see a DOJ investigation moving forward with any speed whatsoever.
HOSTIN: And if perhaps there are charges filed by the Justice Department, would you be defending George Zimmerman in a case like that?
HOSTIN: And what about future lawsuits? People are discussing whether or not George Zimmerman may file a civil suit of his own. Is he going to do something like that?
O`MARA: We really haven`t talked it through very much. And of course I`ve not had an in-depth conversation with George about the prosecution`s reactions and the inappropriateness of their reactions. That`s probably closer to the top of my mind where I see some type of redress than anything else. I know that George would rather just move on with his life. Unfortunately that will never happen. We`ll see how the litigation goes and what we react to if anyone else files anything.
HOSTIN: I have to ask you this, because watching you day in and day out in the courtroom and getting this verdict, you have now landed in the land of famous attorneys, along with Johnny Cochran, Jose Baez, of defense attorneys who have gotten acquittals and really have gotten this reaction from the public. Where do you go from here, Mark O`Mara?
O`MARA: It`s been very surprising. I don`t know. Part of me wants to go back to my nice little practice. Part of me wants to -- would love to be involved in some high-profile cases that are out there. Maybe I have some talents to offer. If I have one talent I`d like to use is maybe to keep some of the cases calm that otherwise would get outrageous, because I do not want our nation to lose faith and trust in the criminal justice system, and I`m worried about that.
HOSTIN: Final thought, give me your final thoughts about this case, about this verdict and about the reaction.
O`MARA: I`m very worried that somebody who said this last year, that no matter how this ends, it`s not going to end well for America, that that may come true. I`m very, very worried that we`re not going to take an opportunity to have a realistic conversation about the criminal justice system, gun laws, the way young black males are treated in the system, because there`s so much anger, that we`re moving to opposite corners of the sandbox, and that`s a dangerous place for us to be at this time in our history.
HOSTIN: Mark, thank you so much for joining me tonight.
O`MARA: Great talking to you.
O`MARA: Thank you.
HOSTIN: Joining me also is Charles Rangel, who certainly is calling for some sort of civil rights investigation. He`s a congressman from New York. Thank you so much for joining me.
REP. CHARLES RANGEL, D-NEW YORK: Thank you for having me.
HOSTIN: Well, what is your reaction to the Zimmerman verdict?
RANGEL: Well, most everybody was just anxious that Zimmerman stand trial. And it`s really surprising how people just try to ignore and not talk about the question of race. Because without the trial, it was just a black kid that was shot dead, and a white perpetrator that wasn`t arrested and wasn`t investigated. This would allow an outsider like me to believe that it was a very friendly attitude between this vigilante and a black guy that lived in the neighborhood. And when they, under public pressure, was forced to investigate, it was consistent, their beliefs were consistent with ignoring the crime in the first place. And you can tell by the investigating detective in saying that he believes the statements that were given to him by George Zimmerman.
Well, you don`t have to be a lawyer to know that if there are two stories and one of -- and only two stories, and one of them was shot dead as the victim, that it`s not as balanced as one might think. And so, what some of us truly believe is that there should be an independent investigation surrounding the entire incident, and the investigation should not be by local people that have formed their own opinion before they indicted and took Zimmerman to trial. Because we have to appreciate that there were statements that at least were reported by George Zimmerman first. The only reason that he stopped this guy, I think we all agree, because he was black and looked suspicious, which is subjective in terms of suspicion. He was saying that these blankety blank always get off. He referred to him as a punk. Now, he never met this guy, but he had formed an opinion about him.
HOSTIN: Well, but --
RANGEL: And I`ll just close by saying that opinion was based on the fella`s color and the fact that he had on a hood.
HOSTIN: Well, Congressman, that was my next question. I mean, you know, I was a federal prosecutor, and the standard is very high for a federal hate crime case to be brought. Do you think -- what do you think are the chances of that happening in this case?
RANGEL: Well, I was a federal prosecutor myself.
HOSTIN: Yes, I know.
RANGEL: But agree with you 100 percent. When you start talking about the criminal code and the fact that you are going to take some citizen`s liberty away from them, the bar is high and it should be high. And not as a lawyer, but as one who watched these gangster movies, they make it clear that if you`re shooting someone, make certain you kill them. You know, dead men tell no tales, leave no witnesses.
And when you`re talking about murder, it`s very, very difficult to say what was on Zimmerman`s mind when he stopped that car. And because the only evidence that was before the jury was the evidence that was gathered by the law enforcement, who, in my opinion, were more friendly to Zimmerman than they were to Trayvon, that they did not believe that this fellow was motivated by prejudice.
But you know, if two people who think alike are talking with each other, it`s hard to find any fault if you know them, and you`re part of their family or community. And so all a bunch of us are saying is that -- the same way in the South, even though it`s the facts are much stronger in the Southern cases, but the theory is the same, that juries down there would think alike and not think in the interests of the victim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think Trayvon Martin threw the first punch?
JUROR: I think he did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the race issue.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: What is you view of George Zimmerman?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One word to describe George Zimmerman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Murderer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Zimmerman?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lucky.
COOPER: Do you feel sorry for Trayvon Martin?
JUROR: I feel sorry for both of them.
HOSTIN: I`m Sunny Hostin in for Nancy Grace tonight. Thank you so much for joining me and staying with us.
I want to talk a bit with Michael Skolnik, who is part of Globalgrind.com and a board member of the Trayvon Martin Foundation and also Daryl Parks, Trayvon Martin family attorney.
Thank you both for joining me today. And I want to talk a bit about the reaction that we`ve seen. I think many were stunned by the verdict and many are reacting in different ways. And social media, Michael, has really played a part in this. I want you both to take a look at a couple of the images that are coming out of this trial. This is something that I just saw that was fascinating to me. George Zimmerman depicted as someone African-American, Trayvon Martin depicted as white. And then there`s another picture, an image coming around this of Dr. Martin Luther King in a as hoodie. Really, really fascinating images. And Michael, let me go to you first. What is your thought about those images and the part that social media is playing?
MICHAEL SKOLNIK, GLOBALGRIND.COM: Well, certainly I think that, you know, if George Zimmerman was black, we wouldn`t be here this evening and talking about this case, because he would have been arrested that night in February 26 in Sanford, Florida. When you look at that picture, certainly your own stereotypes are coming into play. Wait a second, here`s a sweet innocent young white kid and a menacing black guy. But George Zimmerman, to the Stanford police department that night, was certainly nothing but menacing. They believed every single word he said. They believed him so much, Sunny, this is the part that pains so much, they believed him so much that Trayvon Martin was a John Doe at the morgue. They didn`t have the audacity to walk down six houses and knock on doors, and say does Trayvon Martin live here?
So social media reaction since this verdict has been nothing less than the social reaction the entire trial. Folks are upset. Folks are angry, folks are disappointed, folks are stunned. And they`re using every tool they possibly can to express themselves.
HOSTIN: And, Daryl, to you, what are your thoughts on it? Having seen these images and so many other images that are coming up across social media. We`re talking about the NAACP, I believe, has about a million signatures now asking the Justice Department to bring some sort of civil rights action.
DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR MARTIN FAMILY: I`m very encouraged, Sunny. You know, people believe that it`s fundamentally wrong that Trayvon Martin was killed in the manner that he was killed. And so, it`s just people are flabbergasted, and they`re outraged. And I`m so glad that our federal government is responding to look into it further. I mean, who know what they`ll do in the end, but we are very encouraged by the fact that our Justice Department is responding. And you know, you`ve heard them say that it`s political. No, it`s not political. It`s fundamental. And that jury verdict, although we accept it, is socially illogical for our day and time. So we are very happy that people are standing up.
HOSTIN: And let me ask you, I mean, you represent the Martin family, Sybrina and Tracy. What is their reaction? Are they keyed in, are they seeing these images? Are they hearing the message, the outpouring?
PARKS: They`re hearing the message. They are hearing the message from the supporters. Last night when I was on my way back to Tallahassee, I happened to listen to that one juror who said a lot of different things. I was so outraged, I called Sybrina, I said, you know, I really, really can`t believe the disconnect that happened between this jury and Trayvon and George Zimmerman. Obviously, it was very clear that they really aligned with George Zimmerman in the whole really platform that they planted of George Zimmerman being the great guy and trying to make Trayvon appear to be some thug. And it showed in the verdict. When you sit and listen to all of the things that she said, how she describes Rachel Jeantel is very disturbing. I`m a lawyer who really likes to respect the jury`s verdict, respect the jury`s province of making their decision and standing where they are, but we got a pretty good window into their thinking through her last night.
HOSTIN: Michael, any thoughts about juror B-37? Did you see the interview?
SKOLNIK: I did see the interview and I also saw her questionnaire when she was being interviewed for the jury question on day one. I was troubled the minute she started opening her mouth inside the courtroom. She called Trayvon a boy of color. That to me is one step away from a colored boy. And then she said that there were riots in Sanford. I was in Sanford. I marched with the family. There was nothing about riots. Reverend Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and Benjamin Crump and Daryl Parks, these are heroes, these are folks who came to Sanford when there was no ambulance to chase. There was no one (inaudible) this case, and they marched and protested in Sanford as a constitutional right, under the Frist Amendment, peacefully. And there was not a single riot in Sanford, so when she was speaking in the questionnaire, I was worried about her from day one. It is no surprise to me.
HOSTIN: Well, thank you so much. I hope you`ll stay with me. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What did you think of George Zimmerman?
JUROR: I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhoods. And wanting to catch these people so badly that he went above and beyond what he really should have done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: Welcome back. I`m Sunny Hostin in for Nancy Grace. And you just listened to juror B-37, the first juror on the George Zimmerman trial to come out and speak. And let me bring back my guests, Michael Skolnik and Daryl Parks. Daryl, to you, what is your reaction to what she just said? That George Zimmerman`s heart was probably in the right place, but maybe he went a little too far.
PARKS: Well, Sunny, what we see in every critical point in this case of the evidence, she always gave the inference, the benefit of the doubt to George Zimmerman and never to Trayvon. And that clearly shows that there was a real disconnect of her really seeing more eye to eye to George. Obviously, you were there. You saw this problem was bolstered by the fact that the last witness the defense put on, who clearly swayed this jury to, hey, look, my house was broken into, the black men were doing it, they always came in through the other end of the complex. You know, just really -- and actually when you think about that witness, she added nothing to the night in question that Trayvon was killed. It was just to build character for Zimmerman.
HOSTIN: Perhaps to make this case a bit about race. Thank you so much, both of you, for joining me. We`ll be right back.
HOSTIN: Tonight we remember American hero Marine Lance Corporal Randy Braggs. 21 years old, from Sierra Vista, Arizona. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Combat Action Ribbon. From a military family, he leaves behind his father Randy, his grandmother, Retha (ph), and a younger brother who is also serving in the Air Force. Randy Braggs, a true American hero.
And I`m Sunny Hostin in for Nancy Grace this evening. I want to talk a bit more about juror B-37. That is what everyone is talking about. Let me bring in Susan Constantine. She is a jury consultant and a body language expert. And I -- Susan, we were there in Sanford together for quite some time. We both saw this juror on the panel. Tell me what your initial impressions of her were.
SUSAN CONSTANTINE, JURY CONSULTANT: My first initial impressions of her she was a wild card. I was (inaudible), she was on my strike list. You know, she was very expressive. I found her to be a bit eccentric. I thought she was a little bit of an attention seeker. So this is not a juror that I would have selected for either the state or the defense. She is a wild card.
HOSTIN: Wow, well, let me bring in our attorneys, Jason Oshins and Kirby Clements. I`ve got to ask you, this question, first to you, Jason, many people say that a case is won or loss at jury selection. What do you think?
OSHINS: Many times, it can be done right there in voir dire, as Mark said, where you have someone who is paying attention to you throughout. So you know, in this case, at least for juror B-37, clearly it worked very fine for the defense.
HOSTIN: How about you, Kirby?
CLEMENTS: I agree. The cases are won in voir dire, and I think there were some jurors I would have preferred to have, but you`re absolutely correct.
HOSTIN: Thank you so much for weighing in on our jury and juror B-37 in particular. "Dr. Drew" is coming up next.