THE DEFENSE rests in the George Zimmerman case, with the state’s closing argument to begin at 1 p.m. tomorrow. The defense will then follow. On Friday morning the state will deliver their rebuttal. Jury instructions, then deliberations will begin. It’s been an intense few weeks, which came to a crescendo in the last 24 hours.
The photo above was tweeted by Global Grind’s news and politics editor Christina Coleman. It’s a picture of George Zimmerman’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) trainer Adam Pollock’s business website. Pollock testified earlier in the week that Zimmerman was “soft,” then also stated that he was a 1 on a scale of 10 after a year of training. Yet, he’s advertising and using George Zimmerman’s name.
Prosecutor John Guy called Pollock as a rebuttal witness because of the advertisement. Guy asked, “Are you now marketing the training you gave to George Zimmerman on your website?” [h/t Mediaite] Pollock adamantly answered, “Absolutely not.” The defense objected, which was upheld by Judge Nelson after a long sidebar, stating the question was beyond the scope of the rebuttal.
In the last 24 hours Judge Nelson has tangled several times with defense attorney Don West, while prosecutor John Guy, off camera, demanded an apology from West for accusing prosecutor’s of withholding evidence. Global Grind has videos, with one exchange between Judge Nelson and West below:
The Broward County Sherriff’s office has released two videos on their website, “Raise Your Voice, Not Your Hands.” As someone who lived through the O.J. verdict, as well as the Rodney King travesty, it’s hard not to anticipate that anger and tempers will flair if George Zimmerman walks free.
If George Zimmerman had rights, so did Trayvon Martin. And that is why Mr. Zimmerman was properly arrested and charged with murder in the second degree. He will soon be judged by a jury of his peers, and that is the best we can do. Whatever decision they make, is a decision that we must live with, whether we like it or not. – Russell Simmons
Olivia Bertalan testified today about a home invasion and how George Zimmerman was very helpful to her afterwards, which was the first time the racial undercurrent of the trial has risen into the open. Two African American teenagers invaded her home when she was there with her infant child, which must have been terrifying. It was this event that caused her to move from the neighborhood. Bertalan made it clear that she and Mr. Zimmerman talked as many as 20 times about the incident, which is one reason he started the neighborhood watch. She admitted to prosecutor John Guy she follows Mark O’Mara on Twitter.
George Zimmerman is facing very serious charges, which criminal attorney Richard Hornsby explains in detail, including incarceration of up to 25 years, even if he isn’t convicted of second degree murder. Florida also has a very complicated 10-20-Life law for crimes involving a firearm, which Hornsby lays out and is important to read to understand what Mr. Zimmerman is facing.
A lesser charge of manslaughter, a 2nd degree felony, would be considered a compromise verdict, which Mark O’Mara calls a “sympathy verdict.” If you read Hornsby’s post there’s nothing about a compromise verdict, involving a firearm, that can be described as “sympathy.”
Mark O’Mara has done a remarkable job guiding the defense, with Don West providing much of the fireworks. Minus a few moments, these two lawyers have gotten top marks from legal analysts across the talking head sphere.
As for the prosecution, I’m hardly a legal eagle, only an amateur sleuth and trial watcher that started when I was a tiny girl and I’d slip into the courtroom to watch my big brother Larry in court. I was hooked from the start, with crime fiction my favorite guilty reading pleasure. (Scarpetta, anyone?) I think the state had a tough case from the start to prove, especially second degree murder. Everyone knows where I stand on the Zimmerman case, but that’s quite different from what I think the jury could do. You can’t predict these things. There was a tape of Rodney King being beaten within an inch of his life and look what happened there. But I just don’t see George Zimmerman being acquitted. If he is, so be it and he owes it to Mark O’Mara, as well as Don West.
Bernie De La Rionda, the lead prosecutor, will give the closing argument tomorrow, which everyone is anticipating. His opening was the high point of the trial for the prosecution so far. The low was Shiping Bao’s disastrous testimony after Sybrina Fulton, who should have closed their case. He toyed with Dennis Root masterfully today, a former law enforcement officer who calls himself an expert on use of force, even when he was straddling a dummy, so you can bet the defense isn’t taking anything for granted. Root over testified and it didn’t come out well for the defense.
The Zimmerman trial is riveting not because two men got in a scuffle and one of them died or because one was a teenager and the other an armed adult. It is that one was black, the supposed victim of a profiling vigilante, and the other white. Voilà: We have a potboiler. Imagine if Martin had been white under the same circumstances. – Kathleen Parker
In this trial, you can’t possibly exclude the racial component. It’s preposterous to even suggest.
It’s my opinion Guy should wrap what Olivia Bertalan said into this closing, because the case is steeped in race, even if race wasn’t admissible. Closing arguments are different. The atmosphere must be created, just like Guy did in his opening statement. There is no way to properly close this case for the prosecution without, not only the way George Zimmerman referred to the “f-ing punks,” the “assholes” that always get away, but the escalation of his frustrations that led to the killing of Trayvon Martin. Every description Zimmerman gave in the months prior to Martin’s killing was of African Americans, with the teenagers who perpetrated the home invasion that scared Olivia Bertalan also African Americans. This home invasion and the escalation of the importance of the neighborhood watch coincided, with the killing of Trayvon Martin the final crescendo.
Of all the things I’ve watched and heard in the last weeks, the most remarkable is once again hearing George Zimmerman telling Sean Hannity he doesn’t regret anything, even after Trayvon Martin’s killing, because it’s all “God’s plan.” Nothing depicts the chilling nature of America’s gun culture and the people who campaign for Stand Your Ground laws than this surreal statement.
Correction: It was incorrectly noted that assistant prosecutor John Guy would give the closing argument tomorrow, but obviously it will be Bernie De La Rionda, the lead prosecutor on this case.