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Zimmerman Defense Rests, Closing Statements, But What Verdict?

Zimmerman’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) trainer Adam Pollock advertisement on his website. [via Global Grind's Christina Coleman on Twitter]

Defense rests, with this advertisement from Zimmerman’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) trainer Adam Pollock’s website
becoming a focal point. [via Global Grind's Christina Coleman on Twitter]

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.

h/t Mediaite

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14 Responses to Zimmerman Defense Rests, Closing Statements, But What Verdict?

  1. ladywalker68 July 11, 2013 at 2:40 am #

    Taylor-I really appreciate how you have covered this trial. Your analysis is the finest and without equal.

    • Taylor Marsh July 11, 2013 at 8:52 am #

      This is so appreciated, really, ladywalker68.

      Today John Guy has got to bring it. Oops, this should read Bernie de la Rionda. [updated]

      George Zimmerman is in real peril of losing his liberty and the defense knows it, even as fine as their work for their client has been.

      Let’s hope Judge Nelson will allow the jury to consider compromise verdict to second degree murder. This is very important to the prosecution.

  2. mjsmith July 11, 2013 at 5:17 am #

    I do not realy see race in tis case. I really do not even know why Zimmerman was arrested. I think it is downright heinous the way ZImmerman has been branded a guilty racist beofre he was ever charged with a crime. Our Justice Department inflamed racial division and participated in the effort to brand Zimmerman as guilty. I had not yet heard from one single liberal voice concerned about George Zimmerman getting a fair trial.

    Trayvon Martin should of called the police if he was upset about being followed. He should not of attacked George Zimmerman. Was the bus driver that Trayvon Martin slapped also following him? Was the bus driver a creepy ass cracker too? This is what happens to people who attack other people. It is clear that ZImmerman used his gun the for the reason it was intended for and used legally by the letter and spirit of the law. When a person is attacking you, you have every single right to defend yourself.

    The evidence supports that Trayvon Martin made racist comments, not Zimmerman. Why is Zimmerman, a latino with many black relatives being portrayed as racist? Why did Eric Holder organize and fund protests against George Zimmerman? What happened to innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law? All of these civil rights leaders portrayed themselves as the hypocrites that they are, just as they did with the young men on the Duke University Lacrosse team trial.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter July 11, 2013 at 5:56 am #

      1.”I do not realy see race in tis case.”

      What a surprise….NOT!

      2.” I really do not even know why Zimmerman was arrested.”

      Yeah….I mean he only shot some unarmed suspitious BLACK kid?

      3.” I think it is downright heinous the way ZImmerman has been branded a guilty racist beofre he was ever charged with a crime.”

      Yeah…I mean he only shot some unarmed BLACK kid?

      4.” Our Justice Department inflamed racial division and participated in the effort to brand Zimmerman as guilty. I had not yet heard from one single liberal voice concerned about George Zimmerman getting a fair trial.”

      Yeah…I mean he only shot some unarmed BLACK kid.

      One of the things I enjoy most about watching people just be themselves is that they always reveal themselves for who they are eventualy.

      • mjsmith July 11, 2013 at 6:57 am #

        I am sorry, the only race I see in the case is from people like you who put it into the case. George Zimmerman is latino with many African-American or as you like to put it “black” relatives.

        Looks like the race baiters lose on this one along with with Duke University Lacrosse team debacle.

        secularasusual, next time there is a court case you are looking at, just pay attention to the facts and leave out the drama. If you are capable of doing so

        • secularhumanizinevoluter July 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

          Fact…Zimmermen called 6 other times about “suspitious” individuals…all six were BLACK.
          Fact…Zimmermen was told not to follow.
          Fact. Zimmermen was told by Neighborhood watch and Police trainers NOT to be armed while on watch
          Fact….Zimmermen lied at his bail hearing, lied about knowledge of “stand your ground” law.
          You by your spewing have demonstrated a tendency to simply repeat the latest wingnut talking points thinly…VERY thinly attempting to pass them off as your own.
          Oh yeah…”secularasusual”
          Very mature…very mature indeed. I don’t know…seems like someone needs moderation if they can’t comment without being insulting.

    • angels81 July 11, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      Eric Holder organized and funded protests against Zimmerman? Where do you come up with this BS? Please show me proof, and some form of facts that our AG funded and organized protests against Mr. Zimmerman. Where were these so called protests held? Did Holder attend any of these protests? How did he fund them?

      I know you think Zimmerman did nothing wrong and that Trevor Martin was just a little street thug who got what he deserved, but to then come up with some half baked theory that our AG is out there funding and organizing protests against Mr. Zimmerman is just right wing nutter stuff.

      • mjsmith July 11, 2013 at 11:29 am #

        Angles81- I provided proof that is based on information from the DOJ. You do not have to take my word for anything.

        I never called anyone a thug and even if you could read minds you still do now know what I think. I do not apreciate you saying untruths about me this time and all of the other times. You have a constant habit of saying things about me such as things I say or believe that are untrue. I do not apreciate that and I would never do that to you.

  3. secularhumanizinevoluter July 11, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    ” Why did Eric Holder organize and fund protests against George Zimmerman?”

    Nice to see you pick up the talking points from “newsmax” everyday too!! Or did Rushbo spew this one?

    • mjsmith July 11, 2013 at 6:53 am #

      I am picking up points based on Department of Justice. So you do not have to take my word for it or anyone elses. Just look at the DOJ’s own documents.

  4. mjsmith July 11, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained documents proving that the Department of Justice played a major behind-the-scenes role in organizing protests against George Zimmerman. Zimmerman is on trial for second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

    Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the DOJ on April 24, 2012. According to the documents JW received, a little-known DOJ unit called the Community Relations Service deployed to Sanford, FL, to organize and manage rallies against Zimmerman.

    Among JW’s findings:
    •March 25 – 27, 2012, CRS spent $674.14 upon being “deployed to Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”
    •March 25 – 28, 2012, CRS spent $1,142.84 “in Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”
    •March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent $892.55 in Sanford, FL “to provide support for protest deployment in Florida.”
    •March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent an additional $751.60 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance to the City of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31.”
    •April 3 – 12, 2012, CRS spent $1,307.40 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance, conciliation, and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford.”
    •April 11-12, 2012, CRS spent $552.35 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17 year old African American male.” – expenses for employees to travel, eat, sleep?

    JW says the documents it obtained reveal that CRS is not engaging in its stated mission of conducting “impartial mediation practices and conflict resolution,” but instead engaged on the side of the anti-Zimmerman protesters.

    On April 15, 2012, during the height of the protests, the Orlando Sentinel reported, “They [the CRS] helped set up a meeting between the local NAACP and elected officials that led to the temporary resignation of police Chief Bill Lee according to Turner Clayton, Seminole County chapter president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” The paper quoted the Rev. Valarie Houston, pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church, a focal point for protestors, as saying “They were there for us,” after a March 20 meeting with CRS agents.

    Separately, in response to a Florida Sunshine Law request to the City of Sanford, Judicial Watch also obtained an audio recording of a “community meeting” held at Second Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford on April 19, 2012. The meeting, which led to the ouster of Sanford’s Police Chief Bill Lee, was scheduled after a group of college students calling themselves the “Dream Defenders” barricaded the entrance to the police department demanding Lee be fired. According to the Orlando Sentinel, DOJ employees with the CRS had arranged a 40-mile police escort for the students from Daytona Beach to Sanford.

    “These documents detail the extraordinary intervention by the Justice Department in the pressure campaign leading to the prosecution of George Zimmerman,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “My guess is that most Americans would rightly object to taxpayers paying government employees to help organize racially-charged demonstrations.”

    Organizing such protests falls well within both President Barack Obama’s and Attorney General Eric Holder’s wheelhouses. Obama was a “community organizer” in his career prior to elective politics, a position that uses protests and street theater, along with threats, to obtain concessions from businesses and other political opponents. Holder has accused America of being a “nation of cowards” for not discussing racial issues enough. He also described black Americans as “my people” during a congressional hearing.

    As the Zimmerman trial winds down, the threat of race riots should he be acquitted has risen.

  5. Taylor Marsh July 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Judicial Watch doesn’t know the meaning of the words “Community Relations Service,” but it’s sad when in the era of killing the Voting Rights Act people don’t appreciate this part of the DOJ’s purpose.

    The Community Relations Service is the Department’s “peacemaker” for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS is the only Federal agency dedicated to assist State and local units of government, private and public organizations, and community groups with preventing and resolving racial and ethnic tensions, incidents, and civil disorders, and in restoring racial stability and harmony.

    • mjsmith July 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      Well, am not arguing with the Mission Statement. The fact is, the DOJ was not being a “peacemaker” in fact it was doing the exact opposite. You can fall into the routine of blaming the source who provided information, or you can look at the reality. This is just another example of many of stirring up racial tensions. Simple as.

  6. secularhumanizinevoluter July 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    I suppose one should feel greatful to those who can’t keep up the front and eventually let the heat of their hatred and bigotry melt through the wax mask they wear that THEY and only they think fools society.
    It just reinforces what we already surmized or is a shocking wake up call to those who were duped by their utter nonsense that racism doesn’t exist anymore or it’s the LIBERALS who are the racists or bigots.
    A young man is dead….murdered simply because he was walking while Black where a self appointed defender of the neighborhood thought this Black kid don’t belong.
    And some here squeal and gibber and spout lies and cherrypicked numbers to try to cover the stench of their all to obvious selves.
    I suppose one should feel grateful…but frankly it just makes me sad for that kid and his family and our country.

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