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Piers Morgan Live
Interview with Rachel Jeantel
Aired July 15, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I also want to welcome our studio audience. And of course all of you at home.
Tonight a PIERS MORGAN LIVE special, "Not Guilty, The Zimmerman Verdict." It's the case that America is talking about. And I want to hear from you, tweet us @piersmorganlive or @piersmorgan.
Tonight my exclusive interview with the star witness in the case, Rachel Jeantel, speaking out for the first time since she took the stand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL JEANTEL, FRIEND OF TRAYVON MARTIN: I saw a man look like -- he looked like a creepy ass cracker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: She's here live in my studio.
Plus the interview you've got to see. What George Zimmerman's brother told me just after the verdict was announced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN JR., GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S BROTHER: They have seen what Trayvon Martin did to my brother, and it's time -- it's high time that they accept that the jury system that we have in this country is a system that we should respect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Also, my exclusive with the man who defended Casey Anthony. Why he says this is not a case about racial profiling.
Plus, my legal eagles, Judge Glenda Hatchett, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, Jeffrey Toobin and Jayne Weintraub. I'll ask all of them, was this case more about the law than the color of anybody's skin? And was the prosecution simply outfoxed by the defense?
This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE.
I want to begin with the young woman who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin moments before he died. This is Rachel Jeantel's first interview since she testified in the trial and she joins me now exclusively along with her attorney, Rod Vereen.
Rachel, welcome to you.
JEANTEL: Hi, how are you?
MORGAN: You're very famous now. Everybody watched your testimony. Everybody saw somebody who looked like you didn't really want to be there, but also suffering from the fact that you lost your great friend Trayvon.
MORGAN: Tell me, first of all, your reaction to the fact that George Zimmerman was acquitted.
JEANTEL: Disappointed, upset, angry, question and mad.
MORGAN: The jury decided after a long deliberation that the prosecution hadn't proved its case. They believed that it was Trayvon on top of George Zimmerman, that it was George Zimmerman's voice on the tape crying out for help. And that therefore they concluded he acted in self-defense. What do you say to that?
JEANTEL: Yes. Just yes.
MORGAN: In your heart, what do you believe happened?
JEANTEL: He was trying to get home, and he was, and that's a fact.
MORGAN: And you know that because you were talking to him?
JEANTEL: Yes, sir.
MORGAN: One thing we didn't get in this trial, Rachel, was a real sense of what Trayvon Martin was really like. Nobody knew him better than you. How often would you talk to Trayvon?
JEANTEL: All day.
MORGAN: All day long?
JEANTEL: Yes, all day.
MORGAN: You were telling me earlier, you had phone records that were produced where that it was literally all day.
JEANTEL: They showed me phone records. I had to say wow.
MORGAN: All day long.
MORGAN: You want your Bluetooth. Just talking to Trayvon.
JEANTEL: Bluetooth. I have (INAUDIBLE). MORGAN: What kind of guy was he?
JEANTEL: He was a calm, chill, loving person. Loved his family, definitely his mother. And a good friend.
MORGAN: What would you talk about?
JEANTEL: Really, what we were going to be in life. How life's going to happen, what's going on currently around that time. And mind you around that time, it was both of our birthdays had passed. So we were talking about what happened, and that --
MORGAN: He was a good friend to you?
MORGAN: A kind friend?
MORGAN: Was he ever aggressive?
MORGAN: Did you ever see him aggressive?
MORGAN: Did he ever lose his temper?
MORGAN: He really was a calm guy.
MORGAN: So when people have tried to paint a picture of a young thug because he was in a hoodie and was walking home.
JEANTEL: First of all, Trayvon is not a thug. They need to know a definition of a thug, to be judging a person -- well, a teenager, mind you a teenager, could post anything, even I post anything to just brag. Just to brag.
MORGAN: You mean the stuff on social media?
MORGAN: The Facebook and so on.
JEANTEL: That's just brag, it's not true.
MORGAN: Again, they tried to paint a picture of somebody interested in guns, took a lot of drugs. Let's get to the truth about that. Did he ever talk to you about guns?
MORGAN: Did you ever see him with a gun?
MORGAN: What about drugs?
JEANTEL: Drugs. OK, weed, marijuana. In my area, we say weed. My area, we -- for Trayvon, I can explain one thing, we don't do make him go crazy, it just make him go hungry.
MORGAN: But he did --
JEANTEL: Like it's the best thing I can say. It made him hungry.
MORGAN: Did he take a lot of weed?
MORGAN: How much would you say?
JEANTEL: Like twice a week.
MORGAN: Twice a week?
MORGAN: Is that normal for teenagers in your community?
JEANTEL: Yes. Real normal.
MORGAN: You would do the same?
JEANTEL: No, because I --
MORGAN: You don't take it.
JEANTEL: No, no.
MORGAN: You knew Trayvon did, he would tell you that. We know that there was some evidence of that in his blood.
MORGAN: What the defense again tried to paint a picture of is somebody who -- because of the drug use, that would make him more violent.
JEANTEL: No. Like I said, that's B.S., that's just their opinions. That's the problem in this case, that was their opinion.
MORGAN: Do you think they understood the world that you and Trayvon come from?
MORGAN: Don West gave you a very hard time, the defense attorney?
JEANTEL: Don West.
MORGAN: What is your --
What is your view of him?
JEANTEL: I'm going to have to say, he -- like I'm a Christian.
MORGAN: I want to clear up one thing before we come up to Don West. A lot of people have mocked you or they called you all sorts of things, you know that, on Twitter. I came to your defense at one stage. I found it so disgusting. They called you stupid. They were very racist to you, the people I saw on Twitter. A lot of people were very racist to you. But they also mocked you for the way that you spoke.
MORGAN: Now explain to me the background to that.
JEANTEL: The way I speak? People -- a lot of people have the same issue I have right now. OK, how I can say this? I have this situation since kindergarten to figure out how to speak. I have an underbite. For me --
MORGAN: Which is a dental condition for your teeth?
JEANTEL: No, a bone.
MORGAN: A bone.
JEANTEL: They got to push back. And --
MORGAN: You had to have surgery for it?
JEANTEL: Yes, I had to have surgery to push it back, and right now I don't want to do it, because it will take a year to heal. And a lot of people have that situation. Words I can say, it can't come out right. But --
MORGAN: Have you been bullied for that before?
JEANTEL: Look at me, no. No. (LAUGHTER)
MORGAN: So you seem to me a very different character tonight to the one we saw in court. You looked like you didn't want to be there. Is that how you felt?
JEANTEL: It's not that I didn't want to be there, it's a lot of stress. I was dealing with a lot of stress for 16 months, I think?
MORGAN: And you were grieving a friend.
JEANTEL: I was grieving. And I had to deal with around February, my birthday, his birthday. My mother's birthday. There's a lot of birthdays up in there. So death creep me out. I don't -- I don't do death at all. I have been told my parents, I'm not going to their funeral. I'm not doing none of that, I don't like funerals.
MORGAN: For those who just don't know, what effect did it have on you, Trayvon's death? Particularly the shocking fact that you were the last person he was talking to?
JEANTEL: Shock. Just shock. Just like wow. You can't believe -- like you can't believe what just happened. You were just on the phone with the person. And he sounded normal. And then a situation happened, and then I'm finding out two days later he's dead. And then I had to be -- by a friend telling me, oh, do you know he died at 7:17? And I had to look at my phone. My phone says 7:16.
And people got the nerve to tell me, oh, why didn't you come to the funeral? I didn't put Trayvon at the funeral. I didn't put Trayvon in the casket. That's what people need to understand. I did not plan for that week to be at a funeral. That day I was so shaken, like wow, it's really happening, he's really dead?
MORGAN: Do you miss him?
JEANTEL: Well, yes. He was a funny person. And the area that I raised was no. The area I currently stay at, no. That's where he hang out. That's his friends, all that, we -- you know, they have their grief.
MORGAN: The juror who was interviewed tonight by Anderson Cooper for CNN said that she felt sorry for you. But she also -- but she also said this, let's watch the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, CNN'S AC 360: I want to ask you about some of the different witnesses. Rachel Jeantel, the woman who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin at the start of the incident. 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, she didn't ask -- she wanted to go. She wanted to leave, she didn't want to be any part of this jury. I think she felt inadequate toward everyone because of her education and her communication skills. I just felt sadness for her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You're uneducated. You have no communication skills. What do you feel about what that juror said about you?
JEANTEL: Angry. Upset. And then the closing -- when the state closed they're trying to explain what kind of person I am. You can see the kind of person I am. Out of the whole stand I never cussed out Don. Even during -- since march I've been dealing with don west --
You actually saw him here? In the CNN show -- he was here to do Anderson's show.
JEANTEL: Yes, yes, yes.
MORGAN: What did that make you feel just seeing him?
JEANTEL: I'm holding back. The only reason I have not said nothing to Don West, because my parents taught me better. That's as an adult, you don't have the right to disrespect an adult. Don't curse. OK. I did give attitude, but you know, that's --
MORGAN: I like your attitude. When we come back, I want to talk to you about, there's a particular moment, and it was discussed again with Anderson with the jury tonight, that the moment when we had this reference to creepy ass cracker, because that became a very famous phrase. And I want to get from you exactly what it means.
MORGAN: Back now with more of my exclusive with the star witness in the George Zimmerman trial, Trayvon Martin's friend, Rachel Jeantel. Lots of tweets pouring in here, you can tweet me @piersmorgan if you want to.
One here from (INAUDIBLE), "Feeling proud of Rachel Jeantel right now. Dignity and grace."
A lot of people saying the same thing. They're seeing a very different Rachel tonight than the person that they saw in the courtroom under all that stress and tension. I want to talk to you a bit more about Trayvon, but first of all, I want to play another clip from Anderson Cooper's interview with the juror, the first juror to speak out. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of times she was using phrases I have never heard before, and what they meant.
COOPER: When she used the phrase creepy ass cracker, what did you think of that? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was probably the truth. I think Trayvon probably said that.
COOPER: And did you see that as a negative statement or a racial statement as the defense suggested?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think it's really racial. I think it's just everyday life. The type of life that they live, and how they're living, in the environment that they're living in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What's your reaction to that?
JEANTEL: Well, the juries, they see their fact. No offense to the jury, they old, that's old school people. We in a new school, our generation, my generation. So --
MORGAN: Let's talk about creepy ass cracker. People have said that that is a phrase used by black people, cracker, to describe a white person. Is that true?
JEANTEL: No. Like I said --
MORGAN: How do you spell it, first of all?
JEANTEL: Cracker. Well --
MORGAN: There's no E-R, right? It's --
JEANTEL: No. It's A at the end.
JEANTEL: Yes, and that's a person who act like they are police, who like (INAUDIBLE), who acting like, that's what I said to them. Trayvon said creepy ass cracka.
MORGAN: It means he thought it was a policeman or a security guy.
JEANTEL: Yes. Who's acting like a policeman and then he keeps telling me that the man still watch him. So if it was a security guard or a policeman, they would come up to Trayvon and say, do you have -- do you need -- do you have a problem, do you need help? You know, like normal people.
MORGAN: And if George Zimmerman had done that, if he'd introduced himself as a neighborhood watch patrolman, even though he was off duty, if he'd done that, what would Trayvon have said to him, do you think?
JEANTEL: No, I'm just trying to get home. I'm waiting for the rain to slow down so I can go catch the game, the all-star game. MORGAN: That was all he wanted to do?
MORGAN: They've implied that he was looking suspicious, George Zimmerman thought that Trayvon was walking around, looking at houses in a suspicious way. He was walking around, looking at houses looking suspicious.
JEANTEL: Trust me, no. No. Trayvon lazy. That's first of all, he's lazy. Sorry. But no.
MORGAN: Did he ever show any interest in burglaring houses or --
JEANTEL: What was he going to burglar for? He (INAUDIBLE) that night, that day anyway. So why he want to burglar for? He don't even live there, he don't know nobody there. He only know his brother or his stepbrother and his father and his father's girlfriend.
MORGAN: When you heard the tape of George Zimmerman saying that these A-holes, these f-ing punks they're always getting away with it, before he has the confrontation with Trayvon, what did you think was going through George Zimmerman's mind when he said that?
JEANTEL: I'm finally going to get one, that night.
MORGAN: And be honest with me, Rachel, do you think that that was racially motivated or more a case of somebody he thought was a young thug, black or white?
JEANTEL: It was racial. Let's be honest. Racial. If he -- if Trayvon was white and he had a hoodie on, would that happen? Because I ask you, that was around 7:00 or something. That's around the time people walk their dogs, people stand outside, all that.
MORGAN: The jury -- the juror tonight made it clear that the jury never really discussed race as being a motivating factor.
JEANTEL: I imagine, they're white. Well, one Hispanic lady. She's stuck in the middle.
MORGAN: Five white women on the jury and one Hispanic lady.
JEANTEL: Yes. I had a feeling it was going to be not guilty so.
MORGAN: Because of the make-up of the jury? Do you think it was just wrong that you had no black people on the jury at all?
JEANTEL: No, not that. They don't understand, they understand -- he was just bashed or he was killed. When somebody bashes like blood people, trust me, the area I live, that's not bashing. That's just called whoop ass. You do that (INAUDIBLE). That's what it is.
MORGAN: Would Trayvon, if he had been attacked or had been confronted, and he was scared, would he have whooped ass, as you put it? JEANTEL: Whoop ass.
MORGAN: Could he -- would he have done that. Could he have done that?
MORGAN: Would he have defended himself if he'd been in that position?
JEANTEL: Yes, in my mind -- well, in reality, Trayvon, before his death, he thought I was still on the phone. I could have called out for help or something. But I wasn't on the phone. The struggle (INAUDIBLE) because Trayvon have an Android. If you click on the Android, that can end the call. And there was a struggle, so somebody had to be on top of Trayvon.
MORGAN: But you -- but you felt that there was no doubt in your mind from what Trayvon was telling you on the phone about the creepy ass cracka and so on, that he absolutely believed that George Zimmerman, this man, you didn't know who he was at the time, but this man, was pursuing him?
MORGAN: And he was freaked out by it?
JEANTEL: Yes. Definitely after I say may be a rapist, for every boy, for every man, every -- who's not that kind of way, seeing a grown man following them, would they be creep out? So you have to take it -- as a parent, when you tell your child, when you see a grown person following you, run away, and all that.
Would you go stand there? You going to tell your child stand there? If you tell your child stand there, we're going to see your child on the news for missing person.
MORGAN: Let's take another break. I want to come back and I want to talk to you about this photograph. This is of Don West, the defense attorney's daughter that she posted after your testimony which contained a very derogatory remark. And they later apologized. But we'll be right back to discuss this after the break.
MORGAN: Time now, more on my exclusive interview with the star witness from the George Zimmerman trial, Trayvon Martin's friend, Rachel Jeantel.
So, Rachel, there was this moment after that you finished giving your evidence, Molly West, who's the daughter of your friend, Don West, who've been giving you such a hard time. She posted a picture of herself eating an ice cream with some friends. And have the following caption that she put with it. "We beat stupidity, celebration cones." And three hash tags, Zimmerman, defense, and dadkilledit.
What was your reaction when you realized what she'd done?
JEANTEL: Look at the picture. There is blonde females. Imagine. Where we live, where everybody live, blondes are dumb. They say dumb things. So that's some dumb blond. And I really don't care. To me, I won. He could have won by law trying to act like a -- no offense, a jackass. But that's him, that's him doing his job. He got to get that check. It's all about that check.
MORGAN: I've got a question from a member of the audience. Tasha (INAUDIBLE) who has this question for you.
TASHA, AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi, Rachel. First, I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing your courage and your spirit with everybody in the world after such a controversial testimony. Do you feel that your testimony strongly impacted the case at all?
MORGAN: In a negative way?
JEANTEL: No. It might have said, what is her education, or why she kept it so honest? But people -- too honest -- you can't be too honest. You can't say cracker, nigga, all this, and the jury's so shocked what I said. And they're acting like the generation we've got now don't say that.
MORGAN: People -- a lot of people just -- like that juror, didn't believe you for whatever reason. Are you an honest person by nature?
JEANTEL: Yes, well, now I'd be lying by saying that. But by law, yes.
MORGAN: When it came to giving your evidence...
MORGAN: ...in a serious trial?
MORGAN: You took that seriously?
JEANTEL: Yes, because mind you, who want to be in a murder case? And who want to start a murder case? And you think I will make all that up to be in a murder case?
Never knew it was going to be nationwide. So why make that up, deal with the B.S. to get to the trial? How do you make it up? Like tell me, because I ain't get no money out of this.
Mind you, my mommy and daddy paying my bills, ain't nobody else. MORGAN: Well, what is your view of George Zimmerman?
JEANTEL: Weak, scary, hiding from his father.
MORGAN: Why do you say that?
JEANTEL: If you were a real man, you would have stand on that stage and tell what happened.
MORGAN: Give evidence, you mean?
JEANTEL: Yes, I understand what Don's (ph) trying to say, oh, I switched it around. Mind you, you keep going at me every once in a while, I have an interview.
I quit after the state interviewed me, that's it. But mind you, I'm a teenager.
MORGAN: Was there anything you wished you had said, right, when you finished and you went home and you saw the reaction, and everyone giving you a hard time.
So was there anything you wished you have said when you were in there?
JEANTEL: People -- the whole world say it's a racist word. Mind you -- mind you, around 2000, that was not. They changed it around, I think. It started spelling it n-i-g-g-a. Nigga.
MORGAN: What does that mean to you, that -- that way of spelling it? What does that word mean to you?
JEANTEL: That means a male.
MORGAN: A black male?
JEANTEL: No, any kind of male.
MORGAN: Black or white?
JEANTEL: Any kind -- Chinese could say nigga. That's my Chino nigga. They could say that.
MORGAN: And rappers and everything use it in the music? And that's what they mean?
JEANTEL: They all say it. Yes, but nigger -- I advise you not to be by black people, because they're not going to have it like that.
JEANTEL: Because that's the racist word. MORGAN: They're two different words.
MORGAN: And they have just different meanings in -- in your community?
JEANTEL: No, in a generation...
MORGAN: To young people, you mean?
JEANTEL: ...not young people. Old people use that, too.
MORGAN: How would -- how would you like Trayvon to be remembered? Because the picture of the theme built now, because of the acquittal of George Zimmerman, is that Trayvon Martin was a young thug who had it coming to him, because he jumped George Zimmerman, punched him in the face, got his head, smashed it into the concrete repeatedly, and tried -- was going to kill him.
That is why George Zimmerman pulled out a gun and shot him.
JEANTEL: That's called dramatic. That's really acting like a punk, like a real punk -- be honest.
MORGAN: Did Trayvon have that in him?
JEANTEL: No, no. Trayvon was too quiet. And why -- why Trayvon going to run if he wanted to confront him, beat him? Why would he run?
And people need to understand, he didn't want that creepy ass cracker going to his father or girlfriend's house to go get -- mind you, his little brother was there. You know -- now, mind you, I told you -- I told Trayvon it might have been a rapist.
Parents need to stop acting dumb. If you're going to tell your child, oh, a stranger, oh, you tell your child one thing -- run away, trying to find somebody, that's not what Trayvon was doing?
So why -- so why the jury -- they're all parents -- well, some of them are parents. And they've been telling their -- their child that. Now, you're going to tell me you're going to tell your child to stand there (ph)? No.
MORGAN: Let me ask Rod briefly, your attorney. I -- I haven't come to you, Rod, because it's been so compelling talking to Rachel and to hear what she's really like, a very different person to the one saw in -- in court in many ways.
Do you think that she got an unfairly hard time in terms of the reaction to the evidence that she gave?
VEREEN: I believe she did. I thought Don West was very aggressive towards her in the courtroom to one point where the judge had to back him up off of her by telling him, you know, to lower his voice and not yell at her. She received the backlash in the community.
I was very disappointed that she had received such a backlash in the black community. I had read some things that, you know, some of the adults had written about her, some of the adults had said about her, which I found very disturbing. And that is one of the reasons why I've -- I've taken her under my arm and -- and really protected her from what has been happening in the media.
And let me just say this, Piers, that for every negative thing that was said about her, I have received letters, e-mails, text messages, phone calls from a number of individuals from all races -- black, white, Hispanic. They have written me letters saying, we support her.
We -- we appreciate the courage and the dignity that she had to be able to walk into that courtroom as a teenager and subject herself to the cross-examination of -- of an attorney who's been practicing longer than she's been living.
And -- and that was admirable on her part.
MORGAN: It was.
And Rachel, it's been admirable of you to come in here and go through another ordeal, appearing on live television. I know you haven't done this before.
And you know, I've learned a lot more about you, a lot more about Trayvon than I knew before. And it's been fascinating talking to you.
Thank you very much indeed for coming here.
MORGAN: Coming up next, (inaudible), a man who defended another high-profile (inaudible), Casey Anthony. So this case is not about race, one (inaudible) George Zimmerman was overcharged.
MORGAN: Was this case more about race than law? Anderson Cooper talked with one juror who said that she and her fellow jurors never discussed race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So you don't think race played a role in this case?
JUROR: I don't think it -- it did. I think if -- if -- if there was another person -- Spanish, white, Asian -- if they came in the same situation that (ph) where Trayvon was, I think George would have reacted the exact same way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Joining me now is Cheney Mason. He defended another very controversial client, Casey Anthony.
Just want to ask you quickly of your reactions to the Rachel Jeantel interview there? What did you make of it, Cheney?
MASON: I -- I couldn't hear your question so (ph)...
MORGAN: Did -- did you hear the interview I did with Rachel Jeantel, Trayvon Martin's friend just then?
MASON: Yes, I -- I saw a part of it. We were (ph) late (ph) hearing (ph) her...
MORGAN: I mean, she -- she -- she portrayed a very different kind of Trayvon Martin to the one that we had been led to believe by the defense. I mean, do you think that justice has been done here?
MASON: Well, I -- I think that -- that she clearly had -- could have done a better job testifying if she had been properly prepared by the lawyers, given an opportunity to. You know, she clearly was a controversial witness.
But that didn't mean she wasn't telling the truth. And I'm sure it's a foreign environment for her. She didn't want to be there, as I understand it.
And she was attacked, you know, in the lawyer manner. But I'll repeat, it doesn't mean she wasn't telling the truth many. One thing I did hear her saying, Piers, the people worrying about this comment about being a cracker.
Well, let me tell you something, I'm a cracker, been one for 70 years. In Florida, a cracker means a -- a cracker to us means a person that was born here, were native to Florida.
There's very few of us Florida crackers, less than 30 percent of the population. Thank you very much. It has nothing to do with race.
MORGAN: Let -- let me ask you -- let me ask you, Cheney, about the verdict itself, because we talked a lot about it before. And -- and I think you were edging at one stage in your mind, manslaughter may be the outcome.
In the end, it wasn't. But we saw a fascinating insight into the jury's minds through Anderson Cooper's interview, that three of them believed that he was not guilty at the start; two thought he was guilty of manslaughter, one of second-degree murder.
And they -- they all came around to an acquittal. What -- what do you make of that?
MASON: Normal SOP. I mean, that's where jury deliberations go. As you know, I've been trying criminal cases for 40 years. And they never start off exactly one way.
They're an -- an intelligent, independent, individual people. They review the evidence. And they think what they think. And then they listen to each other.
That's what's the beauty of our jury system. I mean, it's remarkable how a group of strangers can be put together and -- and come to an answer.
And I can tell you, even all those cases that I have lost, I've always believed that juries get the right result, though they may get there from some of the most convoluted routes that we would never expect. But they do.
So I would expect that people are going to say, OK, I feel this. I feel that. And then they talk about it. That's why these -- these jurors spent what, almost 16 hours?
That's a long time to talk about a case as simple as this one.
MORGAN: They insisted race -- they insisted that race played no part really in their deliberations at all. They ruled it out very quickly as being a factor here.
Rachel Jeantel felt very strongly that was not the case, that Trayvon Martin was profiled because he was a young black teenager in a hoodie. Do you think that race was a subliminal presence here?
And as racial suggested, how much was the jury's decision affected by the fact that they were effectively an all-white jury?
MASON: What -- what I know, Piers, is we don't know what somebody else thinks. We don't know what's in the mind of a young black man or a white person, unless you are one.
All we can go on is the evidence. I did not see or hear any evidence in this case that was racial. What I did sees was the outside atmosphere and the media stirring of the issue has been racial from day one, from altering a 911 tape to making it look like Mr. Zimmerman said he was black, when that's not what he said.
And then they continued talking heads, people polarizing based on race and what we've seen around the country. To me, that's nothing short of a damn shame.
That's not a black community or a white community. It's our community. It's 2013. It's time we get over this. Let's start dealing with the facts.
You know, you go to a courtroom, we have facts and evidence. There are no facts in this case to suggest racial anything.
MORGAN: Cheney Mason, stay with me. We're going to take a short break. When we come back, we're going to bring in some people with strong opinions about this case, Jeffrey Toobin and Charles Blow, also Judge Glenda Hatchett, Jayne Weintraub and Jo-Ellan Dimitrius. We have many more questions for them and from our studio audience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): We have 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?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Anderson Cooper's interview tonight, one of the jurors in this case and verdict, say (ph) -- but there's still a lot of unanswered questions. Joining me now, Jeffrey Toobin and Charles Blow. Also joining us Glenda Hatchett, resident Judge Hatchett, a former chief presiding judge in the Fulton County juvenile court in Atlanta.
Also defense attorney, Jayne Weintraub and jury consultant, Jo- Ellan Dimitrius (ph).
Got to ask you, I'll start at the top, Jeffrey. Your reaction to Rachel Jeantel's interview because you and Charles were at the back gossiping, watching her.
TOOBIN: If -- if that went on for five more minutes, she would have her own show. I -- I mean, I just thought it was so fascinating. You know, she's -- she's such a big personality.
And -- and I thought she gave us a picture of Trayvon Martin of that night. It was just a good example of how courtrooms don't give you the full picture. It's -- I'm not sure what she said was legally all that relevant.
But it just -- you know, I guess as a journalist, I thought it was fascinating.
MORGAN: I thought it was -- I thought it was compelling, too.
MORGAN: I thought -- Charles, what was interesting to me was the way she just completely took on the drugs issue, for example, said look, Trayvon took weed a couple of times a week. I never saw -- it made (ph) him aggressive.
He used to get the munchies in a very sort of classic, you know, teenage behavior in many ways to many Americans. What did you think of what she was? If she'd be more like that Rachel on the stand, could it have made a difference? BLOW: Yes, I think it could have made a difference. But I think that she made some really interesting points. first, a point that she didn't make, but made in her presentation here by just being latently honest, like painfully honest in some cases, talking about the use of racial slurs, talking about very -- being very open about his use of drugs.
To me, as somebody watching, you -- you constantly -- I'm a journalist. I'm constantly looking at people to see if maybe I can pick up on some where -- where they may be holding back, they may be lying...
BLOW: ...because that makes me start to doubt. I didn't get that sense. She (ph) -- her attorney sat right here with her. She didn't interject.
See just said whatever was on her mind. And that to me leads me to believe a person is credible.
BLOW: The second thing. though, is that, you know, what it points to about credibility and what the -- the juror said earlier this evening is about how homogeny in a jury pool can be problematic for justice because...
MORGAN: Well, because, you know -- you know, I have Rachel say that five white women, one of the ladies who's either Hispanic, or we're not entirely sure of the ethnicity, but certainly no African- American was on that panel.
And that has to come into play.
BLOW: That matters particularly if you -- if you don't...
MORGAN: Let me -- let...
BLOW: ...if you -- if you don't even register that you have a racial issue in front of you, then it's a racial problem.
MORGAN: Right. Let's go to Judge Hatchett.
Judge Hatchett, we saw the -- the make-up there of the jury deliberation from start to finish. Did that surprise you? And you know, my -- my feeling about this is I respect the jury's decision completely.
That is the justice system. And I believe they operated to what they thought was the interpretation of the law of self-defense. Is it the law that's the problem?
HATCHETT: The law is the problem because the aggressor can then claim self-defense if the situation changes. And obviously, Piers, that's exactly what this jury ended up believing.
But the diversity issue is a whole different question because we're talking about county that's 80 percent white, you know, maybe 11 percent African-American. And so it did not surprise me that we didn't have the level of diversity on this jury, that -- that I would have liked to have seen.
And I do think that that voice and that culture and that perspective of a diverse panel of all kind of diversity is very important in any jury deliberation. And it's even minimized when you have a six-member jury.
MORGAN: Let me go to Jo-Ellan Dimitrius because you're a jury expert. What -- what has struck me from Anderson Cooper's interview with a juror was there was a complete disconnect really between her world and Rachel Jeantel and therefore Trayvon Martin's world.
And that is where I think the make-up of the jury became really significant. They're just different worlds, different languages, don't really understand each other.
DIMITRIUS: Well, absolutely. And I think it remarkable that B- 37 actually mentioned that she said she says she felt sorry for her but she felt that she was telling the truth in her own way. And I think very clearly, these women looked very carefully through each one of these witnesses and evaluated them based upon, again, their own life experiences.
MORGAN: Let me just get a quick question here from Arianna Debelli (ph). This is about the -- the possible repercussions of this case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think Florida or any other states will be making changes or modifications to the current stand-your- ground law?
MORGAN: Jayne Weintraub, are we going to have a change to -- although stand-your-ground wasn't used in this case, it is prevalent in many states in America. Many people think it's -- it is -- got to go.
Yes, I'm sure that it will be ripe for the discussion on the legislative floor. And if nothing else, Piers, this case has sparked a conversation of legitimate grievances that have to be dealt with, not just in the legislature.
They need to be dealt with in our homes. We need to be talking to our kids about them early on so that we don't have these tensions, so that we understanding and tolerance. And I have one other thing to say, you know, we keep focusing on the jury...
MORGAN: Final words...
TOOOBIN: The Republicans who took over so many states in 2010, they support stand-your-ground. They support gun rights.
WEINTRAUB: OK (ph).
TOOOBIN: So as long as they are in charge of these state, those laws are not going to change.
MORGAN: OK, we're going to leave it there. And we'll be back straight after the break.
MORGAN: We'll leave with a final thought from Jayne Weintraub about the jury.
WEINTRAUB: Our Constitution guarantees the defendant a jury of his peers -- not a victim, a jury of his peers.
MORGAN: That is an interesting point to make, with the conclusion of a fascinating evening. That's all for us tonight. Thank you, my studio audience.