Following opening statements, the prosecution normally produces a succession of fact witnesses, people who can testify to the facts–the evidence–necessary to establish the elements of the offense and to prove that the defendant committed it. Their ultimate job is to leave no room for reasonable doubt.
But this is the George Zimmerman prosecution: the backwards case.
Normally, prosecutors are careful to fully question each prosecution witness, to obtain all of the evidence their testimony can produce, and also to avoid allowing the defense to reveal evidence left unmentioned, making it look like the prosecution was trying to conceal something. But during the first week of this case, the prosecution has established a pattern of asking only the bare minimum of their witnesses. In virtually every case, defense cross-examination reveals a great deal the prosecutors avoided bringing to light, and in virtually every case, that information either fully supports George’s Zimmerman’s account–which has not changed–casts doubt on The Narrative–which is actually the prosecution’s case–or both.
This bizarre turn of events has required the prosecutors, particularly Bernie de la Rionda (hereinafter BDLR) to treat his own witnesses as though they are hostile witnesses. The prosecution has actually engaged in the extraordinary spectacle of aggressively questioning its own witnesses, trying to get them to ignore, disown or soft-pedal their testimony.
Another interesting–and disturbing–pattern established by prosecution witnesses is changing their testimony in significant and ethically questionable ways. A number of prosecution witnesses have testified to important changes in their accounts that they have never said before, not in multiple law enforcement interviews or depositions. This directly suggests that they’ve not only been coached, but perhaps the subornation of perjury is involved.
Consider also this richly ironic comment, via Fox News:
It’s not about racial profiling,’ Daryl Parks told reporters. ‘He was profiled (criminally). George Zimmerman profiled him.’
Parks made the comments after prosecutors spent several days arguing that Zimmerman profiled the 17-year-old specifically because he was black. Asked why he changed his take on the matter, Parks replied: ‘We never claimed this was about race.
Of course not. In saying “we,” Parks is referring to himself, Natalie Jackson and Benjamin Crump, the Scheme Team representing Martin’s estranged parents. Consider that they have inflamed the black grievance industry, invoked Erik Holder’s Department of Justice, the most racially biased DOJ in American history, and also consider that Crump said:
It shouldn’t be about race. But race is the elephant in the room. Nobody believes that if you make Trayvon Martin white [and the Neighborhood Watch volunteer black], there’s no way he would not be arrested, and that’s the unfortunate and tragic truth of the matter. There is a double standard. That’s why race is involved in this case.
There is, of course, the small matter of the New Black Panthers and their cash bounty on Zimmerman’s head, and Mr. Obama’s comment:
If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,’ Obama said. ‘When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids.
No doubt Mr. Obama spoke up because he considers himself and his children to be white, or more appropriately to this case, “white-Hispanic.”
Former DOJ attorney J.Christian Adams also notes that there is:
Right now, hanging on the door of a federal employee’s office in the Department of Justice Voting Section is a sign expressing racial solidarity with Trayvon Martin.
But in any case, this isn’t about race, and the Scheme Team would never think of so much as suggesting such a thing.
Rachel Jeantel (AKA DeeDee):
DeeDee speaks poorly and may present herself poorly in court. Rightly or wrongly, people who are not well spoken are accorded less credibility, not only in court, but in life in general. DeeDee, who is black, speaks in a heavy “black” dialect. In Update 11, I wrote about Jeantel’s unsuitability to be a witness. She actually surprised me:
In reading this transcript, you’ll notice that Dee Dee speaks in patterns common to some black people (and those of other races as well, including some of the white bread persuasion), particularly dropping portions—or all—of suffixes and prefixes. She also entirely drops some prepositions, some verbs, and like a great many teenagers, speaks with lazy diction and often mumbles. Many of her sentences are fragmentary, and she will often apparently change thoughts in the middle of a sentence. All of this—and more—made preparing this transcript unusually difficult. As a teacher of high school English, I am perhaps better prepared than most to understand this kind of ‘relaxed’ speech, but I was often forced to listen to a given sentence many times before I understood—mostly–what Dee Dee was saying.
DeeDee often dramatically drops the volume at the end of sentences and even phrases. I don’t mean to be unkind, but DeeDee, to at least some people, might not sound very intelligent. These kinds of problems of intellect, enunciation and diction do not establish or support credibility.
I expected that she would not help the State’s case, but she went far beyond that and badly damaged it. During her first day of testimony, she was actively hostile to the defense. Her rudeness and glaring lack of respect for the dignity of the court left me slack jawed. That kind of behavior would cause anyone to spend time in jail for contempt in virtually any court in the land, and rightfully so, yet not only did Judge Nelson ignore her conduct, she actually protected her from the defense on several occasions.
At the end of the day drew near, she arrogantly told Donald West that she was not returning to testify on Friday, and when he told the judge he would likely need two more hours with her, she shouted “what?!” During her second day of testimony, she was more restrained, referring to Donald West as “sir” and toning down her misbehavior, but her eye rolling, odd head motions, expressions of anger, exasperation and disgust could not be contained. Her speech deficits and apparent lack of familiarity with the English language also could not be concealed. Even so, it was apparent that someone got to her and convinced her to behave somewhat more appropriately.
It’s likely that someone was Rod Vereen, Jeantel’s lawyer. Vereen has long-standing and deep connections with the Scheme Team. The Conservative Treehouse has been particularly excellent on exposing connections of that kind in this case, and their recent article on Vereen is worth your time.
He must be a busy man. Jeantel, before her appearance, posted substantial information on social media about it as though it were a social occasion, including a photo of her nails, done up for the occasion. In addition, her twitter account has been scrubbed of “embarrassing” posts. The Smoking Gun has a number of them captured before the scrubbing.
Jeantel’s testimony was supposed to prove that Zimmerman confronted and murdered Martin without provocation. As I noted in Update 11–a complete transcript of Jeantel’s interview with BDLR–her testimony does not, in any way, damage Zimmerman’s account, in fact, it directly supports it. Despite several deceptive and obviously coached attempts to improve on that sorry record, the end result was the same after her testimony.
We did learn that the entire Scheme Team was present at Jeantel’s BDLR interview and that Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, actually sat next to Jeantel (I previously exposed this in Update 18), who admitted that Fulton’s presence substantially changed her answers to BDLR’s questions, and that her testimony in that interview–and her interview with Crump–was coached, as I suspected and noted in Update 11. The interview, amazingly, was held in the living room of Fulton’s home!
It would be hard, probably impossible, to imagine a more obviously coercive, improper atmosphere for conducting an interview. The presence and obviously active involvement of the Scheme Team, which precedes the involvement of the special prosecutor, is about as ethically challenged as one could imagine. Prosecutors are, of necessity, careful about aligning themselves with private attorneys with a financial or political interest in the outcome of any criminal case. Just as the roles of the defense and prosecution are reversed in this case, so too is this ethical rule.
Jeantel also admitted lying about her age and about being hospitalized rather than attending Martin’s funeral. However, West wisely allowed her an out, essentially blaming BDLR and others for putting her in that situation. BDLR surely deserves some of the blame.
Jeantel testified that after spotting Zimmerman, Martin described him as a “Creepy-Ass Cracker,” and shortly thereafter described Zimmerman, several times, as a “nigga.” I recommend a visit to Jeralyn Merritt at Talk Left, where a brief video clip of Jeantel and BDLR’s struggle with the court reporter who, like most human beings, had a hard time understanding what Jeantel was saying, is available. Jeantel also claimed that she thought Zimmerman might be a rapist.
This caused many commentators to suggest that perhaps Martin thought Zimmerman to be homosexual–as in “creepy ass-cracker”–which they ironically suggest might tend to give Martin justification for attacking Zimmerman. This is simply absurd, as Jeantel’s meaning is clear. As to the suggestion Zimmerman was a rapist, this is of a piece with Jeantel’s interview with BDLR, where, at the last minute, she suddenly, out of thin air, suggested that Zimmerman was “crazy”–not a “creepy-ass cracker”–which gave even BDLR pause.
West established–it was like pulling teeth to get Jeantel to answer–that she never said any such thing in her interviews with Crump and BDLR, and in her deposition. This was far from the only time she was impeached by her own words, or lack thereof.
She also claimed that when Martin confronted Zimmerman–another example of her testimony fully supporting Zimmerman’s account–Martin asked “What you followin’ me for?” to which Zimmerman replied “what you doin‘ ‘round here?” West proved that during her statement with Crump, she claimed Zimmerman replied “What are you talking about?” Jeantel did say “what you doin’ ‘round here” in her BDLR interview.
Jeantel also directly implicated Crump in possible perjury and subornation of perjury, admitting that she changed her testimony during her interview with him at Crump’s urging, a matter he specifically denied in an affidavit filed with Judge Nelson. This should make Crump’s upcoming deposition interesting indeed.
When West confronted Jeantel with the letter she supposedly wrote (I outlined my concerns about that document in Update 26) to Sybrina Fulton, the trial descended into farce. Jeantel was forced to admit that she could not read the letter because it was written in cursive! Obviously considering her obvious cognitive deficits, West handled the situation kindly, but didn’t push much farther. It was more than clear she didn’t–couldn’t–have written the letter.
She also admitted that she and Martin never dated. She suggested otherwise in her BDLR interview, and Crump suggested otherwise as well.
As in the BDLR interview, she heard “grass” over the cell phone(?!), and was never able to explain that, other than to add that the grass she heard was wet. She was consistent in one matter: she didn’t hear fighting words or a fight.
There were many other instances of mangled testimony, self-contradiction, bad behavior, and absolute absurdity, such as Jeantel’s assertion that “creepy-ass cracker” is not an inherently racial statement. I recommend a visit to Merrit’s account, as well as that of Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection for additional information.
Some narrative supporters have actually suggested that Jeantel’s testimony helped the prosecution. I can’t imagine what planet they’re from, however, there is an inherent danger: sympathy. An all-female jury might feel sorry for Jeantel. She’s such an obvious physical mismatch with the good-looking and athletic Martin, they might be inclined to look kindly on her. Combine that factor with her obvious lack of intelligence, and even her admitted perjuries, bad behavior and other eccentricities might be rationalized away. West was careful to avoid allowing her to be a sympathetic figure, and for rational people willing to follow the law, he was entirely successful, but such things are never a certainty.
Jeantel’s testimony–as well as Judge Nelson’s enabling and protection of Jeantel, remain among the most amazing and inexplicable things I’ve ever seen in a courtroom.
Lauer was an extraordinary witness. Attractive, highly intelligent, telegenic, and self-assured, she wouldn’t allow BDLR to manipulate her testimony. O’Mara never tried. A real-estate agent, Lauer lived at the Retreat at Twin Lakes on Feb. 26, 2012 (though no longer) and was a member of the Home Owner’s Association board. Though a prosecution witness, she too affirmed Zimmerman’s account.
Lauer testified there had been a steady rain all day (BDLR has consistently tried to get witnesses to minimize the rain) and at about 1900, it was still raining. Her patio door was open, but because of drawn blinds, she could not see past them at night. She heard unintelligible voices and thought it might be a three-party exchange. She described the tone of the voices as “flustered” rather than conversational. She immediately muted her TV and heard scuffling she described like sneakers on pavement or grass, “like playing basketball right there.”
Lauer said the scuffling sound gradually changed to a “grunting noise.” She said it sounded like they were standing at first, but soon, like they were rolling or wrestling on the ground. She didn’t see any of this, saying that she was testifying “only on what I heard.” She said the scuffling gradually turned to “yelping.”
Lauer called 911, and said that from her first hearing noise until 911 picked up her call about 30 second elapsed. By then, she thought someone was in danger or needed help and her husband tried to find a knife, intending to go out the front door and approach from that direction. He never found a knife or left the home. While on the line with the dispatcher–it was Lauer’s call that produced the primary recording of the yells for help and the gunshot–she heard a shot. The dispatcher asked her if someone was yelling for help, and she told them they were. All of this is fully supportive of Zimmerman’s account.
Lauer said there was only one person calling for help: “It was the same voice all the time.” She said she could not identify the voice, and that cries for help stopped after the gunshot. Lauer and her husband immediately went upstairs for safety; she didn’t go outside or look out the windows.
Lauer said that before the gunshot her next door neighbor–John Good–opened his door and she heard his voice saying something like “what the hell are you doing?” She said: “the yelling for help continued.”
BDLR played the 911 tape and the cries for help were clearly audible, as was the single shot. BDLR asked her if she heard anyone say “You’re going to die tonight motherfucker,” and she replied “no.” She said she eventually heard someone say “I have a gun; take my gun,” but didn’t know who it was. BDLR had her identify various photos of her home and the area around it, obviously taken shortly after the shooting. Coincidently, several had many obvious raindrops on the camera lens and the entire area was plainly soaked with water with rain still falling.
BDLR kept trying to suggest that Lauer’s house number on the west side of her home–the opposite side from where the shooting occurred–must have been clearly visible. Lauer, with some exasperation had to repeatedly tell him that there was a large tree on that side and therefore her house number was only visible from some angles. BDLR would not abandon that meme, and kept repeating it, obviously hoping she’d give up and agree with him. She did not.
Additional photos from the following morning revealed that the grass and sidewalks were still soaked.
In one comical moment at the expense of BDLR–who walked himself off the plank–BDLE found that Lauer knew Zimmerman slightly, having seen him at several board meetings. BDLR asked if she could identify the screaming voice as his and she replied: “I couldn’t; I didn’t hear him yell like that in the meetings, so…”
On cross-examination, O’Mara elicited that whoever was yelling for help: “sounded like they were desperate…they really needed help.” She said apart from Good, she heard no other voices. Neatly dispatching BDLR’s suggestion that because she didn’t hear Martin’s threat to Zimmerman, he didn’t make one, Lauer testified that Good wasn’t audible on the 911 tape either. She said that Zimmerman’s comments about his gun were “matter of fact,” which she took as normal conversation with the police considering the circumstances.
We learned that the iconic photo of Zimmerman with his flattened nose and blood streaming down his face taken at the scene was the result of Officer Wagner asking if she knew Zimmerman. She didn’t want to expose herself to possible danger, so he took the photo on his cellphone and brought it to her. She testified that because of his injuries she couldn’t identify him as George Zimmerman that night.
Lauer testified that the Home Owner’s Association put up fences in the NW corner of the development to keep unwanted people out, and that there was no street sign anywhere near her home, which also supports Zimmerman’s account that he was searching for street addresses (that’s what BDLR was trying to get at). Lauer also testified that she considered the screams she heard to be made by someone in a life-threatening situation. She said that she had no concerns about Zimmerman’s Neighborhood Watch role and considered it a benefit to the community.
On redirect, a grinning BDLR began by getting Lauer to agree that children play on the same sidewalk, obviously trying to imply that the sidewalk against which Zimmerman’s head was repeatedly bashed was thereby somehow harmless. This was among the oddest arguments I’ve ever seen in court.
A sidebar occurred, and when it was over, BDLR tried to get Lauer to comment on an accusation that Zimmerman once had a restraining order, and was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer. Lauer wasn’t going for any of that, and it amounted to nothing more than BDLR testifying, which Judge Nelson, of course, allowed. O’Mara quickly inserted that the restraining orders were mutual and mutually dismissed, and that the other charge was also dismissed.
BDLR then stepped in it up to the knee when he suggested that Lauer had either twittered or followed Zimmerman’s brother on facebook. Lauer replied “I don’t believe so,” which resulted in another sidebar.
Thereafter, BDLR approached her with a laptop computer. O’Mara stood behind him, broadly grinning, and for good reason. BDLR triumphantly showed her what must have been Zimmerman’s brother’s page and asked her about following him. Lauer was momentarily confused, but quickly pointed out that she had never followed him; instead, the button was giving her the option of following him. Embarrassed, BDLR quickly removed the computer. O’Mara asked her how many tweets she had ever done, and she replied that she had never done a single tweet.
Throughout this mini-debacle that in many ways, typified the prosecution’s case so far, Lauer remained entirely unflappable and in control. She was very impressive and highly credible, and all of her testimony not only did nothing at all to help the prosecution, it absolutely supported Zimmerman’s account. BDLR left the jury with the final impression of making a fool of himself in a blundering attempt to trip up one of the most impressive witnesses they had seen–a pathetic performance.
Another impressive witness, Mora is a native Colombian who is now a US citizen, having lived in the US for 12 years. She also lives in the neighborhood, four homes south of the north end of the row on the east side. She had a Spanish interpreter, an issue at which some might take offense, but she explained that while she does speak English, for something this important, she wanted to be precise and make no mistakes. I found that endearing and honorable.
Mora said she was in her kitchen when she heard “like a crying,” followed by what she now knows was the gunshot. However, it sounded differently to her that night: “a dry sound, like the thump of a child falling.” She didn’t recognize it as a gunshot at the time. Again, notice in this photo taken the following morning, how wet everything is.
She went to her patio door and realized the sounds were coming from the right (north), placing the confrontation exactly where Zimmerman said it was. She went outside and saw two people. She said one was on the ground and the other on top of him in a position “like a rider.” She said she couldn’t really tell clothing colors, but the person on top has some sort of pattern “between black and red,” which accurately described Zimmerman’s black and red jacket.
Mora said “what’s going on?” (in English), and said no one answered. She said the person on top turned to look at her, but didn’t respond. She asked again and got no response. She asked again and he said “just to call the police.” She saw the one on the top get up, and begin pacing back and forth. She said he put his right hand on his head and his left on his waist. She didn’t see him stumble or stagger, and he didn’t say anything.
She testified that the person on the bottom was face down. She saw someone with a flashlight. About then, her female roommate–Mary Kutcher–was behind her, screaming that it was a gunshot. She said another woman began to come outside and she yelled at her to go home. Mora then ran back into her home where Mary was on the phone with 911. Mora had never met Martin or Zimmerman.
On cross-examination, Mora told O’Mara that she heard only two “cries.” She said she had since heard Lauer’s 911 call and the screams on that call could be the cries she heard. She also said that her yell to her neighbor couldn’t be heard on Lauer’s 911 call either. O’Mara had her demonstrate her actions and she said it was so dark she could only see silhouettes. Once again, a witness for the prosecution completely and accurately supported Zimmerman’s account and the evidence in the case. Go here for a copy of Zimmerman’s first written statement to the Sanford Police.
There were three additional witnesses on the third day of the prosecution’s case.
I’ll let Andrew Branca describe her testimony for you:
Sudyka lived in the row of townhouses at just above the upper part of the ‘T’ [from the point of view of the previous pictures] formed by the dog walk. Her testimony was largely centered on the 16 minute long 911 call she made that night, which can only be described is histrionic. Had I heard that 911 recording in a non-court context I would have assumed it to be part of a scene from a low-quality comedy movie in which the actress had been told to ‘overact ridiculously, the more exaggerated the better.
Sudyka insisted that three shots were fired. There is no doubt only one was, and no one else has identified more than one. She also testified that Martin was face down on the ground with Zimmerman standing over him at the moment the “shots” were fired, so that Zimmerman shot Martin in the back. Again, an impossibility.
She also testified that she heard two voices, attributing a loud, dominating voice to Zimmerman and a quiet, meek voice to Martin, but on cross-examination, she agreed with West that she had never heard their voices and was just guessing how they would sound based on her assumptions.
The rain came to plague BDLR yet again when Sudyka testified that it was raining “buckets,” so hard she had to close a window to keep her home from being soaked. BDLR tried, without success, to rehabilitate himself on this issue later.
The final destruction of Sudyka’s credibility came–once again–at the hands of West. Again, Branca writes:
Near the end of cross West asked he if she had appeared on national television to discuss the case, and Sudyka denied this. Really? he asked
Sudyka: Well, just the one time on Anderson Cooper, but only on condition that I not be named or identified.
West: Weren’t you also on television another time?
Sudyka: Well, yes, I was videotaped by another journalist.
West: And that was played on TV several times.
Sudyka: I only saw it once.
West: So you were taped, and you saw yourself on TV, that second time?
Another resident, Manalo placed Zimmerman on top of Martin, which he was–briefly–at the very end of the confrontation after the shot, but that was not her implication. She based this, like Sudyka, not on actual knowledge or observation, but on her assumption–apparently from media accounts–that Martin must have been much smaller than Zimmerman, and she thought the person on top was bigger, hence it must have been Zimmerman. She later was shown several photos of Martin and admitted she was basing her estimate of the relative size of the people on a photo of Martin in his football uniform, the photo of Martin in a red Holllister shirt–both of which depict a much younger and smaller Martin–and Martin–a head shot only–in a hoodie, from which no real estimate of his actual proportions can be made.
Actually, Martin was substantially taller than Zimmerman and was wearing large, baggy clothing, which would have made him appear even larger. Human beings judge height by their personal frames of reference and their surroundings. A woman seeing a man standing near her husband knows her husband’s height, so she can judge the other man’s height pretty accurately. However, it is virtually impossible to accurately judge the height and size of people flat on the ground, distance also interferes, and darkness removes visual references as well.
On Cross-examination, she testified for O’Mara that she never left her home and all she could actually see were shadows. O’Mara also revealed that in her prior police statements and depositions, she had never identified the person on top as Zimmerman. As with several other witnesses, Manolo, on this day, suddenly, somehow gained insight detrimental to Zimmerman.
This brought up another interesting coincidence. With every other witness caught in potentially invented testimony, BDLR has relied on asking them why they never gave that testimony before despite multiple opportunities–all under oath. Like the others, Manolo replied “No one ever asked.” It’s rather hard to ask about specific information one has no idea a witness has. She eventually admitted she had no real idea who was where during the confrontation.
BDLR lost it, attacking his own witness: Branca well describes it:
Bernie de la Rionda launched into re-direct like a bull, quickly triggering a stream of defense objections as he improperly led the witness in an attempt to get her to say what he wanted her to say. Indeed, it finally got to the point where he was brandishing a transcript of her earlier statements at her as if she were an uncooperative defense witness, saying sternly: You’ve already testified that Zimmerman was the bigger of the two people, didn’t you?
Manaloo replied: Compared to the picture, yes.
Isn’t it true, de la Rionda demanded, that on March 26 I took a sworn statement and I asked you if you could identify either person, and you said Zimmerman is definitely on top because of his size? Isn’t also true that in your deposition by West that you said you could identify Zimmerman because you had seen his photo on TV and that based on his size it was Zimmerman on top?
Manaloo equivocated. At that time, she said, I don’t know who they are, I know one is down and one is up.
But Martin never got up after he was shot? asked de la Rionda. No, she answered.
What happened is obvious: BDLR is so caught up in The Narrative, he didn’t do his job properly–actually he should not have interviewed anyone; that’s what trained investigators are for–and he didn’t get the proper, accurate statement from Manolo. O’Mara did. Rather than deal with it, he had to try to maintain The Narrative. O’Mara didn’t let him:
Then it was O’Mara’s turn to hold out a transcript on re-cross. Indeed, he held out de la Rionda’s transcript.
He noted that in response to de la Rionda’s question, OK, so the guy on top to you appeared bigger, Manaloo had responded in the affirmative.
There was, however, some additional context that would be helpful. He read more of the transcript. He had Manaloo read the two or three sentences immediately prior to the just quoted portion.
Manaloo: How would you describe the physical of the guy on top or the guy on the bottom.
O’Mara: OK, and what was your answer?
Manaloo: I know after seeing the TV of what’s happening. Then Mr. de la Rionda said OK, and I said comparing the pictures, I think Zimmerman is definitely on top because of his size.
O’Mara: But again, not because you have that independent thought, but only because you compared the picutres we just talked about, right?
O’Mara: Your only basis for this is not because you thought he was on top because he was on top, but only because of the comparison with the picutre of a 12 year old child.
Manolo’s testimony that might possibly help the prosecution was, at best, unsure and obviously based on assumptions rather than reliable observations.
Rumph is a records custodian for the Sanford PD. Her testimony related to the 911 calls and was very brief and procedural. She’ll almost certainly be recalled as a defense witness.
Friday’s testimony was interesting indeed.
Good was, like Lauer, a calm and collected witness who didn’t allow anyone to manipulate his testimony. In fact, he ended up correcting BDLR’s mistakes and manipulations. It’s difficult to imagine how BDLR imagines Good could possibly help his case in any way. There is no way he could avoid Good’s testimony; if he didn’t put him on the stand, O’Mara surely would, but Good not only supported Zimmerman’s account perfectly, he absolutely destroyed the prosecution’s narrative. Like Lauer, Good is an entirely credible, unbiased witness.
Keep in mind that Good was the witness in the perfect position to see what was happening. The confrontation took place on the sidewalk very near his home, and Martin ended up on the grass just to the west of the sidewalk, again, near his home. Light from his home would have helped to illuminate the scene to at least some degree.
Good testified that he saw a black guy wearing a black hoodie (which perfectly describes Martin) on top of a white or Hispanic guy wearing a red sweatshirt (which perfectly describes Zimmerman) who was yelling for help. The guy on top was “just throwing down blows on the guy kind of MMA-style.”
Good testified that he yelled at the men to stop and said he was calling 911. After O’Mara brought up his original statement to then SPD Detective Serino, Good said the guy on top was hitting the guy on the bottom in a “Ground-and-Pound” manner, which is a mixed martial arts tactic where one fighter straddles another, potentially pinning their arms, pinning them to the ground, and repeatedly beating them about the head and face.
BDLR was able to get Good to say that he didn’t actually see fists hitting flesh, but see arms flying downward in that manner.
This was a very small concession. Good solidly placed Martin atop Zimmerman, beating him just as Zimmerman has always maintained, and surely producing the kinds of injuries depicted in evidence photographs. With the testimony of all of the other witnesses thus far, there can be no doubt about what happened.
Andrew Branca again has a solid account of this testimony.
Manolo is the husband of Jeanee Manolo. He was the man with the flashlight, the first person to actually speak with Zimmerman after the shooting. Manolo actually photographed Martin’s body and the blood rolling off the back of Zimmerman’s head.
His testimony was mostly unremarkable and again supported Zimmerman’s account. He did testify that when the police approached, Zimmerman tossed his cell phone to the ground, which is indeed a wise thing to do.
For some reason, BDLR tried to get Manolo to characterize Zimmerman’s injuries as trifles. This is odd as Manolo is not medically trained. This was a tack he would take with a later witness, with the same degree of success: essentially none.
Ricardo Ayala and Tim Smith:
Ayala and Smith were the first patrol officers on the scene, responding to what was first a suspicious person call, and later, a shooting. Ayala attended to Martin and Smith handcuffed and dealt with Zimmerman.
Their testimony was unremarkable and supported Zimmerman’s account of what happened when they were there. Again, BDLR tried to use them to minimize Zimmerman’s injuries, particularly focusing on Zimmerman’s walking or standing, but they were professional and didn’t play along. He also tried to get them to say that Zimmerman was unconcerned about killing Martin.
O’Mara was skillful on cross-examination. He was able to get the officers, and particularly Smith, to say that Zimmerman was completely cooperative and was behaving appropriately for the circumstances. Smith confirmed Zimmerman’s account that on the way to the SPD in Smith’s car, he told Smith that he was dizzy and had a headache.
Both officers were professionals, doing as they were trained: keep answers short and to the point and volunteer nothing. They gave the prosecution nothing that would support The Narrative.
Livingston is an EMT that attended Zimmerman at the scene that night. Like the officers, she was professional and did little more than confirm Zimmerman’s injuries. She resisted BDLR’s attempts to twist her testimony.
Folgate was the day’s final witness, a physician’s assistant. She is a bright, intelligent woman who was very much in control of herself and didn’t allow the prosecution to mischaracterize her testimony. As usual, O’Mara made no attempts to do that.
Almost immediately, BDLR tried to get her to go into Zimmerman’s complete medical history, which led to a very long sidebar where there was much redacting of medical records. It was clear BDLR intended to use anything he could get to sling innuendo at Zimmerman, but was mostly thwarted.
His primary interest was an August, 19, 2011 visit to Folgate where Zimmerman complained of sleeping difficulties and told her he “started to exercise intensely with MMA, but this has not helped.” BDLR intends to paint Zimmerman as an experienced fighter, but O’Mara was later able to get Folgate to testify that he was merely seeking aerobic exercise.
BDLR then spent considerable time getting Folgate to testify to her notes about Zimmerman’s visit the day after the incident. Her notes fully supported his injuries, but did not memorialize each and every small abrasion and bruise. O’Mara made up for this by having Folgate view multiple photos, particularly of Zimmerman’s head, and point out abrasions and bruises visible that night, but not terribly obvious. She was quite firm in that while she couldn’t say with absolute certainty that Zimmerman’s nose was broken because she didn’t take X-rays, a broken nose was her diagnosis. O’Mara also elicited testimony to the effect that whenever there are head injuries, there is always the possibility of brain damage.
BDLR’s final redirect was a lame attempt to get Folgate to minimize Zimmerman’s injuries, but Folgate was not buying it. Folgate ended up describing injuries that fully supported Zimmerman’s account and matched the photographs. She did the prosecution no good.
The prosecution’s reliance on The Narrative is already paying dividends for the defense, and so it must. The Narrative is based entirely on racial and social justice assumptions rather than the evidence of the case. Every witness thus far has done little or nothing for the prosecution, and in many cases, such as Jeantel and to a lesser extent Sudyka and Jeanee Manaloo, done real and lasting damage.
It must be remembered that multiple witnesses, Bahadoor, Jeantel and Jeanee Manolo, have produced “evidence” never before heard, giving at the very least the impression they have been coached or otherwise encouraged to do that, or perhaps the impression they’re hopeless biased, even calling into question the possibility that testimony is false. In addition, O’Mara was able to absolutely obliterate Bahadoor’s claim to being unbiased by exposing her “liking” of Martin’s Facebook page, her signing of a Change’org petition for Zimmerman’s arrest, and her making of a video with ABC’s Matt Guttman. This was likely the reason for BDLR’s abortive and foolish attempt to trip up Lauer.
Unless the jury really is a stealth jury, they have to be wondering: where’s the prosecution’s case? Thus far, it hasn’t put in an appearance. No one should expect acquittal, however. In criminal trials, there are no guarantees and guesses are often wrong.