This update explores several interesting developments, most notably, the suit filed on George’s Zimmerman’s behalf against NBC and the continued unraveling of the special prosecutor’s case against Zimmerman. First, the NBC suit.
The GZvNBC website, established by the Philadelphia Beasely Law firm and the O’Mara Law Group, for information regarding the suit, has this 12-06-12 beginning:
On Thursday, December 6, 2012, George Zimmerman filed a legal complaint against NBCUniversal Media, LLC and three individuals who were employed by NBCUniversal Media, LLC, Inc. during the time relevant to the complaint: Ron Allen, Lilia Rodriguez Luciano, and Jeff Burnside. The 24-page complaint alleges ‘NBC News saw the death of Trayvon Martin not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to increase ratings, and so set about to create the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain.’ The complaint, filed in Seminole County, demands a trial by jury, and demands damages sufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court.
The Complaint is damning, containing multiple examples of NBC’s falsified audiotapes and false reports. For example:
The maliciously edited audio recordings identified above included multiple deletions, each intentionally removing almost one minute of intervening dialogue between Zimmerman and the dispatcher, so as to juxtapose unrelated content to make it appear that Zimmerman was a racist, and that he was racially profiling Trayvon Martin; despite knowing the truth, the defendants reiterated these false racial themes in the broadcasts.
Defendants’ improper juxtaposition of unrelated dialogue between Zimmerman and the dispatcher was specifically done to imply that Zimmerman had a racist motive, even suggesting the dispatcher had also questioned Zimmerman’s motivation.
On March 20, 2012, defendant Ron Allen, broadcast from Sanford Florida the following:
Sanford Police say that Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense, a shooting without racial overtones, no hate crime. But when Zimmerman was calling the police the night Trayvon Martin was killed, he described the victim using a racial epithet.
The defendants knew that Zimmerman did not use a ‘racial epithet’ to describe Martin, yet they maliciously and conclusively stated that he did, for the purpose of portraying Zimmerman as a hostile racist.
There are many more examples, but the establishment of harms to Zimmerman is equally damning:
Defendants plainly recognized the extraordinary public damage caused by these manipulated edits, stating during their March 27, 2012 broadcast: ‘[A]ll of this is igniting more demands for an arrest.’
The defendants knew when they created, broadcast and rebroadcast the manipulated audio and the false statements about the recordings’ contents that the entire basis of their reporting was manifestly improper, a violation of journalistic ethics, and was certain to cause not just severe emotional distress to Zimmerman and damage to his reputation, but also threats to his life and calls for his criminal prosecution.
Only after the defendants’ malicious acts were uncovered and exposed by other media outlets—for example an April 5, 2012 New York Post editorial characterized the doctored audio as ‘pretty damning evidence of willful misconduct by NBC News,’ concluding the coverage could incite racial violence—did defendant NBC ‘apologize’ and terminate some of those in its employ responsible for the yellow journalism identified in this complaint.
To this day, the defendants have never apologized to Zimmerman for deliberately portraying him as a hostile racist who targeted Martin due to his race; instead, NBC’s President Steve Capus, in a feeble attempt at damage control, falsely claimed this manipulated audio was merely a ‘mistake’ and ‘not deliberate.’
By then, the damage was done, the indelible image of Zimmerman stalking Martin because ‘he looks black’ fixed in the public consciousness.
Zimmerman has suffered greatly, with death threats, a bounty placed on his head, threats of capture, and a constant, genuine fear for his life resulting in his need to, among other things, live in hiding and wear a bullet proof vest. Zimmerman was even dismissed from his college because the school felt the death threats were dangerous to fellow students.
The factual section of the complaint is devastating. In civil suits, facts are often in dispute, but not in this case. The complaint presents, side by side, multiple examples of NBC audio edits of Zimmerman’s phone call with the Sanford Police dispatcher and the actual transcript of the call, making plain the serial, extraordinary and fundamentally dishonest nature of NBC’s manipulation of the recording to portray its favored—and absolutely false—narrative. There is simply no question about what NBC did, and the complaint provides example after example, not of a single error of fact, or an isolated, intemperate opinion, but of many malicious lies that no rational person could have believed were anything less than malicious lies.
I’ve seen the truth of the allegations of the complaint in my work on this case. Many readers that took the time to comment on the case had clearly been affected by NBC’s lies, often repeating them as truth. Obviously, NBC was successful in planting a great many falsehoods about George Zimmerman in the public consciousness, and once planted, such lies can never be entirely dislodged. On many occasions when I’ve not only corrected those lies, but provided voluminous proofs—including many sources—many people refuse to believe them because they “know” the truth, the truth as presented by NBC and other media sources.
Remember that in this case multiple NBC employees—including the primary defendants—were fired by NBC News when their deceptions came to light. This puts NBC in the position of having no facts to argue, and instead, arguing that it didn’t mean to do anything wrong, it was all just an unfortunate mistake, and they have fixed everything by firing a few low-level employees.
Considering a recent Gallup Poll indicating that 60% of the public has little or no trust in the media’s ability to report “the news fully, accurately, and fairly,” NBC would be smart to settle this matter as quickly and quietly as possible and to bring multiple armored trucks full of cash to any negotiation. No Florida jury will be likely to be kindly disposed to NBC.
The Machinations Of The Scheme Team And The Special Prosecutor:
“The Scheme Team” is a term I believe has been coined by the good folks at The Last Refuge, who have done fine work on documenting the machinations of the race-baiting attorneys working for and/or with the Martin family: Benjamin Crump, Daryl Parks and Natalie Jackson.
UPDATE, 12-11-12: Reader ItsMichaelNotMike informs me that he coined the “scheme team” monicker, and I have no reason to doubt this. By all means, visit his exposition of this in the comments accompanying this article.
Crump, in particular, played a pivotal role in “discovering” and marketing “Witness #8,” AKA “Dee Dee” to a more than eager Lamestream Media.
One of the primary issues is Crump’s apparent manipulation of the age of Dee Dee. The Last Refuge , in a November 30, 2012 post, notes:
Today the George Zimmerman defense team revealed a bombshell discovery. A discovery that will ultimately deconstruct the entire “persecution of George Zimmerman”. It could also lead to serious liability and charges of fraud against the Scheme Team, with visible malicious prosecution by the State of Florida and Special Prosecutor Angela Corey.
Benjamin Crump introduced Witness #8, “DeeDee”, to the media on March 20th as Trayvon Martin’s 16-year-old girlfriend. Discovery evidence now shows the person claiming the identity of “DeeDee” on April 2nd swears under oath during her witness affidavit that she was 18-years-old, when interviewed by Benjamin Crump and ABC’s Matt Gutman on March 19th, 2012.
The State Prosecutor is refusing to identify the address of Witness #8 (DeeDee) to the defense, and Trayvon Family attorney Benjamin Crump is refusing to provide the recordings, or details of the 16-year-old who he interviewed on March 20th.
In essence Benjamin Crump constructed and sold one version of DeeDee to a gullible media, then a completely different person to state investigators and Special Prosecutors.
By all means, read the entire article, but the upshot is that Crump and his fellow travelers have been manipulating the evidence—if it can be called that in this case–not only to manufacture public pressure for criminal charges against George Zimmerman, but have been working behind the scenes to support and maintain the failing narrative as the case falls apart. It would also be worth your time to visit the recent motion to compel Mr. Crump to provide transcripts, recorders and other related evidence in this case.
Regular readers know that in Update 11, I analyzed the interview of Dee Dee by Assistant Special Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda on April 2, 2012 at app. 1905. In the transcript, de la Rionda said:
…I’ve been appointed by Miss Corey, who has been appointed by the governor of the State of Florida to handle this case that I’m going to be asking you questions about. Also to my right is Detective..uh..or Investigator T.C. O’Steen with the State Attorney’s office. We’ve come from Jacksonville, here along with some agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement…
It now appears that there is more direct—and highly suggestive—information indicating possible collusion between Mr. de la Rionda and all three members of the Scheme Team in the interview of Dee Dee. In fact, it is possible all three of them may have been present before, during and after the interview with Dee Dee, an interview that may have been coached and otherwise manipulated.
In the comments following Update 17, “nettles 18″ provided a most interesting link to a report apparently written by a Special Agent Kenneth Wayne Moore of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a screenshot of which is provided below:
SA Moore, it seems, was tasked to meet and assist de la Rionda and his investigator T.C. Osteen who flew into Miami-Dade on April 2, 2012. Moore was told that they intended to interview Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin’s mother), Tracy Martin (Trayvon’s father) and “Trayvon’s girlfriend.”
All personal information relating to this “girlfriend” has been blacked out in the report. The report says: “The information in this report contains information about a JUVENILE that may be privileged or confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law.” We now know that “Trayvon’s girlfriend” is Dee Dee, AKA Witness 8, even though she was coy at best about her relationship with Martin during the interview.
SA Moore also wrote that when they arrived at the location of the interviews (that too was redacted), Benjamin Crump was there and Daryl Parks and Natalie Jackson arrived sometime thereafter. Fulton gave a statement at about 1540 and Tracy Martin gave a statement sometime after 1630, but they had some difficulty locating Dee Dee, who was finally found and “escorted to” Fulton’s home where she gave an interview sometime after 1830. SA Moore says:
…she [Dee Dee] gave a statement to DCSAO members [de la Rionda and O'Steen].
This is a most unusual report. Officers often assist fellow officers from other jurisdictions, but seldom write reports about it. They virtually never write reports that essentially say they drove them around and helped them find a few people. In fact, officers providing such minimal assistance commonly write reports only if they actually participated in some law enforcement function, in which case, they document exactly what they did.
In this case, SA Moore essentially says: “I picked these guys up at the airport, drove them to a place where they interviewed a couple of people, and when they were done, drove them back to the airport,” making a very odd police report indeed. Moore does not say or imply he did anything else. He does not say he sat in on any interviews. He does not say whether he waited where the interviews took place, or merely returned when they were done to provide transport. He uses passive language, giving no hint that he did anything affirmative to find anyone, or even to escort Dee Dee to Fulton’s home.
On the other hand, police officers often write reports to cover their tender posteriors, particularly if they suspect those posteriors might be in danger of exposure. If that’s the case here, being sure to mention the names of Crump, Parks and Jackson does makes sense. Notice too that the personal information of Dee Dee was redacted, yet those redacting the report let slip one interesting bit of information: Dee Dee was “escorted” to Sybrina Fulton’s residence where she was interviewed.
Keep in mind too that Crump has apparently been playing fast and loose with Dee Dee’s age. It’s possible SA Moore was told Dee Dee was a juvenile, which explains the redactions and aforementioned note about privileged juvenile information. If SA Moore or others in the FDLE subsequently learned they had been played—particularly if they suspected de la Rionda was in on it–that might explain why this document has been released.
Why would Crump want people—and particularly the media–to believe Dee Dee was a juvenile? There are two primary reasons:
(1) It better serves the narrative portraying Trayvon Martin as an innocent child-like scholar and eater of Skittles if his “girlfriend” is an equally young 16-year old.
(2) It would allow Crump to hide her identity and location by invoking privacy laws relating to juvenile records, which is exactly what appears to have been done in this case. De la Rionda’s interview of Dee Dee makes painfully clear why Crump would want her under wraps.
This report also raises some very interesting—and disturbing—possibilities:
The transcript of de la Rionda’s interview with Dee Dee confirms the interview took place on April 2, 2010. However, he identifies only himself and O’Steen and says:
We’ve come from Jacksonville, here along with some agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement…
De la Rionda is the only person asking questions. O’Steen is a potted plant (In this case, he’s likely glad of it). Notice too that he doesn’t explicitly say that FDLE agents are present, only that he came from Jacksonville “along with some agents.” However, the context implies that more than one FDLE agent is present.
SA Moore notes in his report that a SA Kristin Hoffacker was assigned to assist him, but at no point in the statement does he say he or Hoffacker were actually present for any of the interviews. In fact, apart from serving as a driver, he really doesn’t say he or Hoffacker did anything else.
SA Moore’s report only notes the presence of Crump, Parks and Jackson. It does not explain what they said or did at any time. However, Moore does place them at the location of the statements of Sybrina, Tracy and Dee Dee taken by de la Rionda.
As The Last Refuge post notes, Crump is heavily invested in Dee Dee’s statements, having claimed they are essentially a smoking gun capable of convicting George Zimmerman. There is no question that Crump’s efforts had a substantial part in Zimmerman’s eventual arrest. As Update 11 noted, however, de la Rionda’s interview of Dee Dee revealed no evidence at all that contradicts Zimmerman’s account of the incident. In fact, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey would have to be utterly incompetent to put Dee Dee on the stand. She is an incredibly poor witness, her account is contradictory and confusing, and the interview suggests that her testimony was coached–and coached badly–by de la Rionda and now, possibly others.
It now seems likely that Crump, Parks and Jackson were also present during these interviews. It is a violation of proper police procedure to fail to identify each and every person present during an interview, as de la Rionda appears to have done. Such failure could give the appearance of undue influence or concealment. It is also absolutely stupid for a prosecutor to interview a witness. That’s the job of the police, or in this case, the special prosecutor’s investigator, O’Steen, who was present but silent. A prosecutor who interviews a witness makes himself a witness to that interview and may be called to the stand. Prosecutors are also generally poor interviewers—de la Rionda proved that beyond any doubt in his interview of Dee Dee—despite what TV lawyers reading from scripts might be able to do.
The presence of the Scheme Team would certainly make sense of some of the bizarre exchanges between de la Rionda and Dee Dee, particularly those exchanges where Dee Dee appears to have slipped, asking de la Rionda if he wanted her to say things–or withhold things–that may have been discussed before the taping began.
Do I know without any doubt that the Scheme Team was present during Dee Dee’s interview and that they attempted to influence that interview? I do not, however, we do know they were there—which was not previously known—and we know Crump, Parks and Jackson have been furiously spinning this case. We also know de la Rionda’s interview of Dee Dee is suggestive of attempts to manipulate her testimony, which to be completely fair, does not prove such manipulation.
We also know that it would be a very good idea for Mr. O’Mara to depose Special agents Moore and Hoffacker, as well as their supervisor Susan Kuhn. They could, no doubt, shed light on a number of interesting issues.
Prosecutors are generally very careful to avoid any contact with attorneys who are pursuing civil cases. It’s important to keep the criminal law and civil law separate, if for no other reason than to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Criminal defense attorneys may certainly be present whenever law enforcement agents interview their clients, but Sybrina and Tracy Martin and Dee Dee have never been arrested in this case, nor have they been identified as persons of interest. However, they clearly have a potential financial interest in the outcome. For this reason alone, the special prosecutor’s office should be treating them as if they carry the plague. Odd that hasn’t been the case…