At the end of Update 6, I promised to address these—and more—issues in this update:
PRIMARY THEMES OF THE EVER-EVOLVING NARRATIVE:
(1) A Sanford Police Investigator wanted, at some point, to see Zimmerman charged with manslaughter, therefore he must be guilty and must be convicted of second degree murder.
(2) If Zimmerman remained in his vehicle, everything would have been just fine, therefore, Zimmerman must be guilty and must be convicted of second degree murder.
VERY INCONVENIENT FACTS (for the prosecution):
(1) When observed by George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin was breaking the law.
(2) The investigators and assistant prosecutor that prepared the charging affidavit lied on that document and had to have known they were lying.
I shall indeed address these issues, but first, it’s important to understand just how far from fact and professional practice the special prosecutor, Angela Corey, and even the vaunted FBI, have allowed themselves to be led by those supporting and profiting from what I’ve come to call “the narrative.” “The Narrative” is simply the media/Martin Family/Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson/Progressive/President and Mrs. Obama/special prosecutor/Federal Department of Justice version of the story that requires that Trayvon Martin be a helpless, candy-eating, angelic child murdered in cold blood and for no reason by the racist, racially profiling George Zimmerman. Adherence to the narrative allows no modification of that near-religious belief in the face of evidence, for the narrative reveals truth beyond truth and fact; it speaks to a higher truth, that of social, racial justice.
DOESN’T THE FBI HAVE ROXIO?
One of the stranger parts of a very strange prosecution case is the recent revelation of the inclusion of two FBI audio examiners (Kenneth W. Marr and Dr. Hirotaka Nakasone) on the prosecution’s current witness list:
Also on the list are two FBI audio experts who have said publicly that they believe the screams heard on the 911 call are Trayvon’s.
The narrative has, for some time, claimed that it was Martin’s voice—not Zimmerman’s—crying out for help on a 911 call. The media have claimed that Martin’s parents have confirmed it. Despite the fact that civilian audio experts have not been able to verify this—though the media has tried to make it appear that they have—the media and supporters of the narrative have continued to claim that the FBI has determined that the voice is Martin’s. Since the FBI experts are on the witness list, one might be tempted to think they will testify that the voice is, in fact, Martin’s. One would think wrongly.
Among the documents recently released by the prosecution are copies of the FBI examiner’s report. Following are screen shots of the three- page document.
The text circled in red reads:
‘Analysis of the word following ‘fucking’ at approximately 2 minutes and 20 seconds of file . . . was requested to be identified.’
‘The audio on all eight files of specimen Q1 was enhanced and three FBI CD-R discs were made each containing direct and enhanced copies from specimen Q1.
The specific request to identify the word following ‘fucking’ a approximately 2 minutes and 20 seconds of file . . . could not be done [emphasis mine] due to weak signal level and poor recording quality.
Voice comparison is not possible [emphasis mine] for the designated voices due to extreme stress and unsuitable audio quality.’
‘Critical listening and digital signal analyses further revealed that the screaming voice of the 911 call is of insufficient voice quality and duration to conduct a meaningful voice comparison with any other voice samples [emphasis mine] primarily due to the screaming voice being: (1) produced under an extreme emotional state, (2) limited in the number of words and phrases uttered, (3) superimposed by other voices most of the time, and (4) distant, reverberant and very low signal level.’
To put it as simply as possible, the FBI struck out. They cannot say whose voice is crying out for help. The sample provided them is of poor quality and while they don’t specifically say this, I suspect that they, just like the civilian examiners, don’t have the proper number and kind of voice samples of Zimmerman and Martin with which to make a competent comparison even if the 911 call was of sufficient quality. The FBI will be able to testify only that they don’t know who is screaming for help.
One particularly odd aside to the FBI’s analysis is their inability to determine that the word following “fucking,” was in fact, “cold.” Regular readers will recall that I addressed this issue in detail in Update 5 where I wrote of Neil J. Schulman who singled handedly cleared up the controversy by means of off-the-shelf Roxio software.
Raging early in the case, the controversy was whether George Zimmerman said “fucking coon”–obviously proving beyond doubt that he was a racist and therefore must have murdered Martin with premeditation and in cold blood–or something else when speaking with a Sanford police dispatcher while reporting Martin’s actions. Schulman proved conclusively that the word was “cold,” and about nine days later, CNN, which initially claimed that its professional and irrefutable analysis proved the word was “coon,” was forced to retract that finding. However, the reporter, Gary Tuchman, did so only with much drama and the greatest reluctance. Take the link to see the CNN segment and to hear Schulman’s work.
That the FBI could not discover what a private citizen, using off the shelf software not maximized for such analysis, did with no difficulty might tend not to reflect well on the ability of those involved and would surely become embarrassing in court.
Also on the witness list are civilian audio analysts, Ed Primeau and Tom Owen. The Orlando Sentinel, like much of the media, also got their findings wrong:
Also listed are two employees with the Volusia County medical examiner’s office and a pair of Federal Bureau of Investigation audio experts. The list also includes Tom Owen and Ed Primeau, two audio analysts who told the Sentinel they believe the screams heard in one 911 call were those of Trayvon, not Zimmerman.
As I noted in Update 5 (related links are in that article), even CNN reluctantly admitted (but only after much obfuscation):
The experts, both of whom said they have testified in cases involving audio analysis, stressed that they cannot say who was screaming.
And on top of this, Investigator Gilbreath, one of special prosecutor Corey’s two primary investigators, admitted under oath in the bond hearing that the efforts of Primeau, Owen, Marr and Nakasone came to nothing; they cannot reveal who was screaming for help.
Why then would Ms. Corey list these four men as witnesses? The ultimate testimony of each will come down to “I have no idea who was screaming.” There are several primary possibilities:
(1) It’s a psychological ploy to try to intimidate the defense and to try to trick the public into thinking she has more, and more damning, evidence than she actually has. In other words, it’s a bluff, and a particularly poor one.
(2) Corey is now actively trying the case in the court of public and political opinion and will do whatever is necessary to keep that opinion enraged, engaged and on her side for as long as possible.
(3) Corey hopes to try to get enough SWAGs (Scientific Wild-Ass Guesses) on the trial record in the hope that a jury will give those greater weight than the ultimate admissions that the four analysts really don’t know anything about the issue at hand: who was screaming on the 911 tape?
Each of these possibilities is either idiotic, unethical or both. The defense—and an increasing portion of the public—knows these men have no evidence to add. Corey also has to know that the defense will object to SWAGs and that the judge is almost certain to agree and not let them make such inherently prejudicial guesses. Which leaves essentially rabble-rousing, fanning the flames of race. Professional, ethical prosecutors don’t do that.
What about Martin’s family? His mother has claimed that the screaming voice is Trayvon’s, but his father has said—and one must admire his honesty—that it was not, which was confirmed by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz in a May 18 article.
Corey might try to invoke sympathy by using the mother, but any competent defense attorney–and Mr. O’Mara is certainly competent–would use not only the father’s countering testimony, but could easily and kindly help a jury to understand that a grieving mother who wants to believe the best of her child, true or not, could easily talk herself into believing it.
There is now no doubt, none whatsoever, that the injuries George Zimmerman received precisely match what he must have received if attacked as he said Martin attacked him. CNN has a series of photos taken shortly after the incident that reveal Zimmerman’s injuries quite clearly, but what is most interesting is what the fourth photo in their series does not reveal: the slightest injury to his hands. It is obvious that he did not strike Martin. The autopsy report supports this as well with its recitation of Martin’s damaged knuckles and no facial injuries or other injuries attributable to blows from Zimmerman. All of the known testimonial evidence, all of the physical evidence, all of the medical evidence clearly indicates that it happened just as Zimmerman said it did. This makes his self-defense claim extraordinarily strong, so strong that Ms. Corey must dismiss the charge against Zimmerman.
If this evidence turns out to be valid, the prosecutor will have no choice but to drop the second-degree murder charge against Zimmerman — if she wants to act ethically, lawfully and professionally.
Note: The 8th photo in that CNN series also makes it quite clear that it had been raining, and heavily, that night. The grass and sidewalk depicted are clearly soaking wet. Multiple fresh raindrops are also visible on the lens of the camera.
The narrative has shifted to give Sanford police investigator Christopher Serino absolute moral authority to determine charges in this case. There is substantial irony in this of which narrative supporters are apparently unaware. The narrative has painted the entire Sanford Police Department as incompetent racists whose findings must be ignored in favor of the special prosecutor, yet now at least one member of the department has been—likely temporarily—rehabilitated.
This is a tempest in a teapot. Here’s what I had to say in the first article of this series on April 4, 1012 (available in the SMM Trayvon Martin Case archive):
Another important factor to consider is that there is often disagreement among police officers in cases. One detective might be convinced that suspect Billy Bob is as guilty as sin and should have the book thrown at him, while another detective simply doesn’t see it that way. One detective might think there is plentiful probable cause while another isn’t quite comfortable with what they’ve developed. It can be useful–on many levels–to have an uninterested third party make such decisions. Much has been made by the media, for example, of the assertion of a lack of complete agreement in the Martin case within the Sanford PD. I have no idea of the accuracy of this assertion or of the degree of any disagreement, if any existed. However, it is not at all uncommon for disagreement to be present within the ranks of investigators or between investigators and police or civilian administrators.
The point is quite simply that such disagreements are a daily matter in law enforcement agencies, who must have the discretion to work such things out themselves. Absent direct evidence that the decision not to charge Zimmerman was the result of incompetence, political pressure, racial bias, or some other unprofessional, unethical, potentially even illegal concern, this is not a relevant matter. Officers make decisions not to arrest and/or charge people with crimes every day, sometimes many times a day. I am unaware of any such indicators in this case. It might also be worthwhile to remember that Serino reportedly wanted a charge of manslaughter, which is a lesser charge than that lodged by Ms. Corey. This would tend to take a bit of air of the argument as well.
The facts and the law have bourn out the wisdom of Serino’s superiors and of the local prosecutor’s office in overruling Serino and declining to prosecute Zimmerman. Ms. Corey and the other purveyors of the narrative would be wise to drop this theme as quickly as possible.
The law does not deal in what ifs, and for good reason. What ifs are supposition, fiction, unrealized possibilities and potentials that may or may not ever take place. They are, at best, guesses at a future that never occurred considered in past tense. They have limited utility in weighing various scenarios to see which is supported by actual evidence, but they are not absolute cause and effect. While one can argue that the “scuffle” referred to in the affidavit would have never taken place if Zimmerman had not left his vehicle when he did to try to keep Martin in sight for the police he knew were on the way, and therefore, Martin might still be alive, and while reasonable people might even think that likely, no rational judge will allow such supposition to be spoken in court. If he did, it would “open the door”—as is the common legal term to any line of questioning that allows follow up questioning by opposing counsel—to unlimited and equally invalid supposition. For example:
* If Zimmerman remained in his vehicle, Martin would have merely doubled back and confronted and assaulted him there.
* If Trayvon Martin had gone straight to and straight back from the 7-11 that night, he would have never seen George Zimmerman.
* If Trayvon Martin has not been under the influence of marijuana that night, he might not have put into action the chain of events that led to his death.
* If Trayvon Martin had simply run straight home, Zimmerman would have never seen him or known where he went.
* If Trayvon Martin was not repeatedly calling his girlfriend that night, he might not have been distracted and would have run straight home, therefore his girlfriend is responsible for his death.
And on and on such arguments go, into infinity. Despite the fact that each is theoretically plausible, if the judge in this case is a professional, this sort of testimony will never be allowed in court, though I suspect Ms. Corey will try to raise it, which would be quite unethical. The alternative is that she is, again, trying the case in public, which is equally unethical.
However, some commentators, even in the blogosphere, are adamant that Zimmerman should not have left his vehicle. On a recent edition of The O’Reilly Factor, the Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump, latched onto this supposition and rather smugly observed that if Zimmerman believed he was in deadly danger he should not have left his truck.
It is one thing to argue tactical matters, which is essentially what most in the blogosphere are arguing. However, in leaving his vehicle Zimmerman was not breaking the law, and considering the circumstances, was doing what he, as the head of the local neighborhood watch, should have done. He was on the phone with the police dispatcher who was encouraging him to provide up to the second information on Martin and his actions. He left the vehicle only when Martin took off running, leaving him behind, and obviously, only to keep Martin in sight. Clearly, he had no reason to believe that Martin was actively dangerous at that point. When the dispatcher suggested he need not follow Martin, Zimmerman, who had already lost sight of him, agreed and clearly stopped, but continued walking a short distance to see if he could spot Martin. He did this willingly because he was not actively pursuing Martin, who he had lost track of minutes earlier, but because he was merely trying to keep him in sight. When he believed he had lost Martin once and for all, he told the dispatcher that he would meet the responding officers near the entrance to the neighborhood and was returning to his vehicle.
Zimmerman had no reason to believe he was in any danger during that time, because Martin was running away and Zimmerman actually lost sight of him. He had no reason to believe he was in danger of serious bodily injury or death until he was on his back on the ground, Martin was astride him and beating him, a “scuffle” which all known evidence indicates was initiated and caused by Martin. Mr. Crump clearly knows this, but like Ms. Corey, is absolutely trying the case in public.
It should be remembered that as the local neighborhood watch captain, Zimmerman had no special police powers. He was not operating under a rigid set of policies and procedures, the violation of which might result in discipline or firing. He was doing nothing at all improper or illegal. One may second guess Zimmerman’s actions ad nauseum, but the fact remains that given the circumstances of that place and time, he acted reasonably–and entirely within the law–in trying to keep Martin in sight for the responding police.
LIES AND THE LAW:
If this evidence [the evidence of Zimmerman's injuries] turns out to be valid, the prosecutor will have no choice but to drop the second-degree murder charge against Zimmerman — if she wants to act ethically, lawfully and professionally.
There is, of course, no assurance that the special prosecutor handling the case, State Attorney Angela Corey, will do the right thing. Because until now, her actions have been anything but ethical, lawful and professional.
She was aware when she submitted an affidavit that it did not contain the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. She deliberately withheld evidence that supported Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. The New York Times has reported that the police had ‘a full face picture’ of Zimmerman, before paramedics treated him, that showed ‘a bloodied nose.’ The prosecutor also had photographic evidence of bruises to the back of his head.
But none of this was included in any affidavit.
Mr. Dershowitz is quite right, in fact, far more right than he knew when he wrote his article. The recent document dump clearly indicates that Corey knew all about Zimmerman’s injuries. She had the reports of the many police officers that saw and recorded Zimmerman’s injuries. She had the reports of the fire department paramedics. She had the photographs taken of Zimmerman, not only minutes after the police arrived, but at the police station, after his injuries had been cleaned up and still showed substantial evidence of bleeding. She had the statements of witnesses who saw Zimmerman in the days that followed and observed his bandages, swollen face, black eyes, etc. She had all of the reports, recordings, videotapes, all of the evidence given to the police by Zimmerman himself. She had the autopsy report, and all of that evidence—all of it—supported Zimmerman’s story with a clarity and precision that is not often seen in police work. Yet she mentioned nothing of it in the affidavit.
There is yet a greater lie, perhaps series of lies, revealed in the document dump. In the affidavit (a PDF copy of the two page document is available in Update 2) the affiants (Investigators O’Steen and Gilbreath) wrote:
Your affiants. . .have taken sworn statements from witnesses, spoken with law enforcement officer who have provided sworn testimony in reports, reviewed other reports, recorded statements, phone records, recorded calls to police, photographs, videos and other documents. . .
Martin. . . was on his way back to the townhouse where he was living when he was profiled by George Zimmerman. Martin was unarmed and was not committing a crime.
They continued in this vein, suggesting once again that Zimmerman was wrong in believing Martin might be about to commit a crime, and continued the essential elements of the narrative. They lied, and they had to have known they lied.
How do I know? They admitted they reviewed the evidence. During the bond hearing Gilbreath admitted under oath that his supervisor “Bernie (Assistant special prosecutor Bernardo DeLaRionda) was the editor and co-author of the affidavit. They had the autopsy report. They knew Trayvon Martin was in possession of marijuana. They knew this was a material factor in this case, and they said nothing at all about it. Florida law states (I have excluded some references to other statutes and a long list of drugs. Those interested need only take the link and look up the statue numbers provided to see what I omitted):
893.13 Prohibited acts; penalties.—
(6)(a) It is unlawful for any person to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance unless such controlled substance was lawfully obtained from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice or to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance except as otherwise authorized by this chapter. Any person who violates this provision commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(b) If the offense is the possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis, as defined in this chapter, or 3 grams or less of a controlled substance described in s. 893.03(1)(c)46.-50., the person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
893.03 Standards and schedules.—The substances enumerated in this section are controlled by this chapter. The controlled substances listed or to be listed in Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V are included by whatever official, common, usual, chemical, or trade name designated.
(1) SCHEDULE I.—A substance in Schedule I has a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and in its use under medical supervision does not meet accepted safety standards. The following substances are controlled in Schedule I:
(b) 37. Tetrahydrocannabinols.
The acronym for “Tetrahydrocannabinols” is THC, or the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. In other words, marijuana is illegal in Florida, and having it in the body is every bit as much possession as carrying it in one’s pockets. What more revealing evidence than the psychoactive ingredients and residue of marijuana mixing with your bodily fluids could there be that you had been smoking—possessing—marijuana? As Update 6 revealed, Martin had considerable evidence of marijuana in his blood and urine, sufficient in his blood alone to be considered impaired or under the influence in some states. I was not able to find a specific presumptive legal standard for marijuana intoxication in the Florida statutes. The statute that appears to control this issue reads:
“316.193 Driving under the influence; penalties.—
(1) A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state and:
(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired. . .[emphasis mine]
Chapter 877-111 lists controlled substances, and marijuana is, of course, included. The impairment threshold might be relatively easy to prove in many cases.
What is interesting indeed is that the document dump specifically excluded the levels of marijuana (its chemical indicators) in Martin’s urine. Let us suppose, just for the sake of argument, that this was not an innocent oversight (irony, anyone?) and that the prosecution was seeking to conceal this information. But from who? The defense, if they don’t already have it, will have it eventually. The law and the judge will see to that.
Being cynical, as this case has caused me to be, one might suspect that the information was being withheld to help the public case, because it likely reveals not only a level sufficient to indicate that not only was Martin under the influence of marijuana—he was impaired–but that must have been smoking it shortly before he was spotted by George Zimmerman who told the police dispatcher (transcript available here):
We’re had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy. . .This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something.
There is now compelling reason to believe that he was.
Continuing, for a moment, in our cynicism, we now understand why Martin ran away from Zimmerman and why he did not run straight home: he was carrying marijuana and had no idea who Zimmerman was. He might have been an off-duty cop, but in any case, Martin, who was living in the neighborhood because he was serving a ten-day suspension from school, and who told his parents he was going to the 7-11 for Skittles and tea, didn’t want it to be known that he had been smoking pot, and certainly didn’t want to be caught with it. So he ran, and quickly found a place to ditch his stash. He couldn’t go straight home and rush in the house, soaking wet and breathing heavily; he had more important, more immediate business. Wouldn’t this scenario also explain why Martin did not go straight to the 7-11 and straight home? Any juvenile pot smoker is practiced in the art of concealing the smell and effects of their smoking from adults. Martin knew he had to spend time outdoors, allowing the wind and rain to minimize the smell.
Of course, the other major issue of lying by omission in the affidavit has to do with Zimmerman’s statements, his injuries, all of the physical and other evidence that directly supports Zimmerman’s self-defense claim, and the autopsy results that also directly support Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. None of this powerful exculpatory evidence was mentioned in the affidavit.
According to records obtained by the Miami Herald, Martin had been suspended from school three times: once for writing graffiti on a door, another time for school truancy and the last time due to drug residue being found in his backpack.
Speaking of her son’s suspension to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sybrina Fulton said, ‘Whatever he had dealings with the school, it was not criminal, it was not violent, he’s never been arrested.’
‘Toxicology tests found elements of the drug in the teenager’s chest blood — 1.5 nanograms per milliliter of one type (THC), as well as 7.3 nanograms of another type (THC-COOH) — according to the medical examiner’s report. There also was a presumed positive test of cannabinoids in Martin’s urine, according to the medical examiner’s report. It was not immediately clear how significant these amounts were.
No precise levels on the urine were released.
CNN did provide this information:
While some states have zero-tolerance policies for any drug traces for driving while impaired, others set certain benchmarks, the website of California’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs notes. In Nevada, that equates to 2 ng/ml for THC and 5 ng/ml for THC-COOH — also known as marijuana metabolite.
In other words, while Florida apparently does not have this sort of specific standard—rather, a zero-tolerance standard–the level of THC and THC-COOH in Martin’s blood would have rendered him under the influence for driving in Nevada, and certainly in other states as well.
Being a good purveyor of the narrative, CNN did try to minimize the effect of this finding:
Dr. Michael Policastro, a toxicologist, cautioned against reading too much into the blood THC levels, adding that one cannot make a direct correlation between those findings and a level of intoxication.
He also noted levels of THC, which can linger in a person’s system for days, can spike after death in certain areas of the body because of redistribution.
And Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction specialist who hosts a show on CNN’s sister network HLN, added that marijuana typically does not make users more aggressive.
Doctors Policastro and Pinsky are partially correct. A given level of intoxication that might leave one person grossly and obviously impaired might appear to have no effect on another. And marijuana does tend to make many people silly or docile, but not by any means all. Marijuana use does heighten aggression in some people. Given this, why not make Martin’s urine levels public, unless of course they were so high as to render the opinions of the good doctors and narrative defenders irrelevant, even laughable?
At the risk of being accused—again—of being an evil racist picking on a grieving mother, it must also be observed that Sybrina Fulton’s assertions are not entirely accurate. What we do know, however, of Trayvon Martin’s background does lend credence to the suggestion that he was a drug user. The autopsy results make that plain, but that’s not the only evidence.
As I reported in Update 5, and as the information the information documented in Update 6 revealed, we now know that Martin:
(1) Was caught by school officials destroying property (graffiti);
(2) Was caught by school officials with a baggie with marijuana traces and a pot pipe.
(3) Was caught by school officials with twelve pieces of women’s jewelry and a screwdriver in his backpack.
(4) Was suspended from school for truancy.
(5) Was serving a ten-day suspension, likely for trying to assault a bus driver (this was suggested by comments of friends on his twitter account). This would have been his fourth suspension.
(6) Was carrying a cigarette lighter when he was killed, but not cigarettes.
There is some suggestion that Martin’s entire school disciplinary record has not been released, and whether he had a juvenile arrest record is currently not known. An attempt to attack a bus driver would certainly be worthy of a ten-day suspension, which would likely have been a final step before expulsion. These documents will likely eventually turn up in the course of discovery and other pre-trial maneuvers, but for now, the principals of Martin’s school apparently choose not to prosecute him, but to handle his infractions in-house. This is not unusual and was fortunate for Martin and his parents.
We now know that Ms. Fulton was not completely forthcoming. His destruction of property and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia were clearly crimes. It is true that he was not charged with or convicted of those crimes, but he Martin did break the law. Martin appears to have been fortunate that he was not turned over to the police for those crimes. His possession of marijuana at the time of his death is likewise a clear violation of Florida law. And if it is confirmed that he attempted to assault a bus driver—or did—that would certainly be an act of violence and a crime as well. Notice that I’m not mentioning what might well be possession of stolen property and/or involvement in burglary or theft relating to the jewelry.
In addition, Martin’s Twitter account depicts a young man caught up in thug life, with all of its posturing, misogyny, threats, drug use, criminal inclinations and yes, violence. As I noted in Update 5, The Daily Caller has a compilation of 152 of those tweets, apparently long since sanitized and removed from circulation. For those who have not seen this side of Trayvon Martin, a visit will be revealing indeed.
It would stretch the boundaries of credibility to believe that the Martin family, particularly following Trayvon’s death, were not made aware of all of these issues, including the autopsy result, and were not aware of their criminal nature. While any person of good will feels for the Martin family, while it’s not hard to understand that any parent of a deceased child would want to remember their child, and have them portrayed in the best possible light, it must be recognized that they have a strong vested interest in the narrative. A great many people are actively hustling to ensure that they stay on the narrow narrative path.
In Update 6 I also wrote about Martin’s girlfriend, identified only as “DeeDee” to date. The Sanford Police did not interview her as she was initially unknown to them. Apparently they did ask the Martin family for the PIN code to his phone so that they could identify any potentially pertinent calls, but the Martin family, acting on the advice of their attorney, did not provide that information.
I do not know from whom the Orlando Sentinel received its information on this girl’s statement, whether it was from the Martin family lawyers, their agents, or the investigators of the special prosecutor. However it is known that transcripts of the 911 recording were released to the public before she made any statement. It is therefore possible that her “recollection” of events may have been influenced by that, and/or persons unknown. Here’s what I wrote:
An unnamed girl, the one identified by the Martin family attorney as Trayvon’s girlfriend [to date, referred to as "DeeDee"], may be one of the case’s most important witnesses. She told prosecutors that she and Trayvon talked by cellphone on and off as he went to the store that evening.
She said Trayvon told her a white man in a vehicle was watching him. Trayvon started walking, and the call cut off, she said. When she called back,’he said this man is still following him.’
The girl said Trayvon started running, ‘and then he said he lost him [Zimmerman],’ she said, adding that the teen’s ‘voice kind of changed … I could tell he was scared. And in a couple minutes, he said a man’s following him again.’
She said Trayvon asked, ‘Why are you following me for?’ and a man’s voice said, ‘What are you doing around here?’ Then she heard a noise, and the call cut off.
Ms. Corey apparently believes that this girl’s statement has great significance. If so, that significance will be confined to the court of public and political opinion, for it too supports Zimmerman’s account.
The call confirms that Martin knew he was being watched and that he ran from Zimmerman. However, the time frame is unknown, and the number of calls made, their duration, and who made them and when is also unknown.
Most interesting, and most damaging to the prosecution, is Martin’s demand of Zimmerman and Zimmerman’s question in reply. Zimmerman was clearly trying to identify Martin and determine what he was doing in the neighborhood. The “noise” DeeDee heard was most likely Martin’s fist breaking Zimmerman’s nose, and the call went dead as Martin dropped his phone to jump on top of the prostrate and stunned Zimmerman, the better to beat him with both fists as the witness to the attack reported.
I suspect that if it is possible to establish a reliable time frame, it will parallel that of the 911 call, and make clear that Zimmerman wasn’t “following” Martin. Zimmerman believed he lost Martin. Seeing Zimmerman walking back toward his vehicle, Martin might have interpreted that as being followed and approached and confronted Zimmerman. Readers might want to refresh their memories of the scene with the maps provided in Update 4.
DeeDee will be a very dangerous witness for the prosecution. Her recitation of what she was told by Martin is not hearsay; she will almost certainly be allowed to testify to what he told her and to what she heard, but as Martin’s girlfriend, she would be likely to have direct knowledge of his drug use and any potentially criminal escapades. If she appears to be covering for Martin in the slightest way, she will do far more harm than good to the prosecution, and Mr. O’Mara will almost certainly be able to elicit testimony damaging to the prosecution from her. Her testimony will open that door to O’Mara. Did Martin talk about having to hide his stash? Did he tell DeeDee he was high? Did he tell her he intended to attack Zimmerman? Her tweets to Martin and his replies to her will almost certainly be used to impeach her as well.
If Ms. Corey truly does see DeeDee as a case-making witness, her professional judgment and competence are very much in question.
Two acquaintances paint an unflattering picture of Zimmerman in police interviews.
A distraught woman tells an investigator that she stays away from Zimmerman because he’s racist and because of things he’s done to her in the past, but she didn’t elaborate on what happened between them.
‘I don’t at all know who this kid was or anything else. But I know George, and I know that he does not like black people. He would start something. He’s very confrontational. It’s in his blood. We’ll just say that,’ the unidentified woman says in an audio recording.
A man whose name was deleted from the audio told investigators said he worked with Zimmerman in 2008 for a few months. It wasn’t clear which company it was.
The man, who described his heritage as ‘Middle Eastern,’ said that when he first started many employees didn’t like him. Zimmerman seized on this, the employee said, and bullied him.
As this is the first I’ve heard of this unidentified “Middle Eastern” man who felt that Zimmerman made fun of him some four years before the Martin shooting, it’s difficult to comment. Whether the special prosecutor’s investigators have been out beating the bushes for any potentially negative information about Zimmerman, or whether this unknown person called them and volunteered this information is also unknown, but certainly important information. Considering the distance in time involved and the lack of specific relevance to the case, it is unlikely this, or any similar, witness would be allowed to testify.
However, enough is known about the “distraught woman,” identified by the AP to comment. Mr. Dershowitz makes the point:
Speaking of doing their job, the New York Times’ ‘reporting’ on the case has been generally biased against Zimmerman. It has suggested that if the police had done their job properly the evidence would point to Zimmerman’s guilt. Moreover, it included in its reporting an inflammatory item of uncorroborated gossip. This is what it said:
‘The reports may give rise to other mysteries as well, including the identity of a woman who called another investigator, less than two full days after the shooting.
The woman refused to identify herself or give any callback numbers, but told the investigator that Mr. Zimmerman ‘has racist ideologies and that he is fully capable of instigating a confrontation that could have escalated to the point of Zimmerman having to use deadly force.’
This information comes from the heavily redacted police report filed by Investigator Christopher Serino:
The circled text reads:
On 02/28/2012, Investigator Terkell Perkins received a telephone call from an unidentified female. This female, who refused to provide her name, call back number, or any other thye of contact information, disclosed to Inv. Perkins that George Zimmerman has racial ideologies, and that he is fully capable of instigating a confrontation that could have escalated to the point of Zimmerman having to use deadly force. Inv. Perkins was able to record a portion of this conversation with this anonymous female and said recording was placed on a compact disc and submitted as evidence. No other information has been obtained to corroborate this anonymous female’s information and her identity has not been established.
Notice the heavily redacted text–this is common in all of the materials released for public consumption–and the most important sentence, completely ignored by the New York Times and other media:
No other information has been obtained to corroborate this anonymous female’s information. . .
Indeed. In fact, all other information regarding Zimmerman’s racial inclinations has been quite the opposite. He is, after all, part black.
It will likely surprise no one that The New York Times is presenting utterly unsubstantiated gossip, and what could easily be a plant—a lie—as fact. After all, it supports the narrative. But such “evidence,” simply isn’t. If the prosecution is planning to use statements of this kind against Zimmerman, they’re in for quite a shock. It is highly unlikely they’d be allowed. They simply aren’t related to the issues of the case, there is no foundation for their inclusion, and I can’t imagine any competent judge allowing them. However, this might be an indication of the quality of “evidence” the special prosecutor possesses. As Mr. Dershowitz put it in an April 25th article by Greg Wilson on Fox News:
Legal legend Alan Dershowitz blasted the special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case, accusing her of hiding evidence favorable to defendant George Zimmerman and committing perjury.
‘If I were this prosecutor, I’d be hiring a lawyer at this point.’
Time will tell if Ms. Corey replays the mistakes of Mike Nifong and the Duke Lacrosse case. The Trayvon Martin case is beginning to look, more and more, like that sorry chapter in American jurisprudence. There is never a lack of room in the annals of disgraced, overzealous, politicized prosecutors.
As Alan Dershowitz and others have observed, there appears to be no case against Zimmerman that will meet the requirements of Florida law and that can overcome an unusually well supported and powerful self-defense claim. The rational, ethical thing to do would be to drop the case.
Perhaps, however, Corey actually believes that there is evidence somewhere out there that will overturn or at least, overshadow, all of the currently known evidence and that will allow her to prevail. Perhaps she means to draw out the proceedings as long as possible in the hope of finding that elusive evidence. Or perhaps she simply intends to push for as long and hard as possible in the hope that she can somehow sell the narrative to a jury. Considering the political and social climate, it is possible she’ll have that opportunity.
However, even if Corey should win a conviction, it is highly likely–a virtual certainty–the case will be overturned on appeal. Of course, by that time, if George Zimmerman is jailed, he may not survive to see his eventual vindication.
No matter how it is considered, this case is a tragedy for all involved. Angela Corey would be wise–and just–to end it now and prevent even greater tragedy for more families in the future. The law and the facts are against her, and she has essentially turned the Sanford Police against her as well.