In its online coverage of the George Zimmerman trial today, host Gregg Jarrett, replayed part of the cross examination of Trayvon Martin’s mother. In the exchange Jarrett highlighted, defense attorney Mark O’Mara “asked” her whether, if she had not identified her son as the one screaming for help, heard on a 911 call tape, she “would have to accept the probability that it was Trayvon Martin who caused his own death.” It was a cringe-making question that even Jarrett seemed to acknowledge was a misstep by O’Mara. But guest Mark Eiglarsh seized on the mother’s answer, “I don’t understand the question,” as proof that she was being dishonest and manipulative.
If you ask me, it was O’Mara who was being dishonest and manipulative because no matter who was screaming for help Trayvon Martin did not “cause his own death.” At worst, his behavior exonerated Zimmerman having shot and killed him. Also, even if it were Zimmerman screaming for help, that does not necessarily mean he had not done something to improperly provoke whatever response ensued from Martin.
O’Mara’s next question was, “OK. If you were to listen to that tape and not hear your son’s voice, that would mean that it would have been George Zimmerman’s voice, correct?”
Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, answered, “I heard my son screaming.”
There was an objection to O’Mara’s follow-up question that was sustained, “So she never answered,” Jarrett said. He continued with a suggestion that O’Mara had not dibe his client any favors. “Look, this is probably the reason why a lot of defense attorneys generally decide not to cross examine the mother of the deceased. All of the emotion is on her side. And, in the end, at least the clip we showed you, the defense didn’t accomplish much,” Jarrett said.
But Eiglarsh disagreed:
They didn’t get the answer they wanted but clearly they showed the jury and I think to you and to me that she knew what answer he wanted. She understood what he was asking for. But she wasn’t, at that moment – obviously, because she was grieving – but wasn’t honest and straightforward in answering the attorney’s question. Clearly, if it wasn’t her son yelling, it would have been Zimmerman. If it was Zimmerman yelling, that would have suggested that her son played a role in his tragic demise. She knew exactly what he was asking.
But O’Mara did not ask if her son may have “played a role” in his death. O’Mara had asked whether, if it had been Martin screaming, that made it probable he had “caused” his own death.
Nobody challenged Eiglarsh’s interpretation. In fact, while another guest, former prosecutor Annemarie McAvoy, said she would not have cross-examined Fulton at all, McAvoy quickly validated the point for the defense. “It’s a good point that the defense raised. They’ve done a terrific job of raising these issues and every one of the witnesses that the prosecution has brought on, they’ve managed to get something useful out of the defense from them,” she said
Jarrett added that the defense got the mother to “admit” that when she first heard the tape it was in the mayor’s office, “which sort of conjures up the notion that maybe she was unduly influenced by the politics of what was going on," he said, "and once she committed herself in the mayor’s office… she had to stick to that story.”
Instead of more ‘blah blah’ I come equipped with some interesting audio.. another tool to be used or no, in ones own discoveries.
Regardless who is screaming, the question begs, was this person able to scream like that while having their head beaten, with a hand over their mouth like GZ has said. Or after he shot when i sounds like air being let ou of a bag.. his is when GZ says Mr Martin says ‘Oh Gosh (pardner) you got me’.
LOTS to be garnered from this bit of audio.. while it wouldn’ be admissible in court, the very ORIGINAL calls almost were deemed not admissible.. would that make them any less relevant to ‘your own’ discovery process?
Lot’s of questions, no many answers, but a fascinating bit of audio all the same.
Thanks for the feedback.
And none of this changes the basic facts of the case – that Zimmerman profiled Martin, followed him, stalked him, confronted him and set in motion a fight that ended with him killing Martin. He ignored police instructions and the training he had received in terms of police work and Neighborhood Watch volunteer matters. He chose not to identify himself at any time, to any of the people in the neighborhood, and when he confronted Martin, he didn’t say anything about Neighborhood Watch concerns. His state of mind while he was chasing Martin is clear from the recorded call – he thought that Martin was another of those “
$!ing punks” who “always get away”. And he figured he was going to make a heroic catch here. Instead, he provoked a fight that he found himself losing – until he pulled a gun and killed the other guy. The idea that he completely forgot the “Stand Your Ground” law is laughable.
There’s an interesting point that has been made about the testimony of the lead investigator earlier this week – where Zimmerman was apparently happy to hear that something of the fight had been recorded on a cell phone camera (which was actually a bogus idea). It’s very possible that Zimmerman was hoping that the footage would show him being beaten up and thus somehow qualifying for the “Stand Your Ground” defense. Zimmerman doesn’t seem to have ever understood the idea that instigating a fight does not allow one to then kill the opponent and then claim “self defense.”
Now, whether this will be enough to convince the jury that Zimmerman is guilty of 2nd Degree Murder is an open question. But the prosecution has an option after the defense presents its case to allow a “lesser included” offense to be considered by the jury. Meaning that they can allow the jury to consider manslaughter or negligent homicide. As even the Fox News sources have admitted, this is an extremely likely scenario – and a manslaughter conviction against Zimmerman could be compounded by the fact that it was manslaughter of a minor, and done with a handgun – which would automatically result in Zimmerman being sentenced to 30 years in prison. The prosecution is certainly aware of this. (And a strong case can be made that Zimmerman could have avoided all of this by pleading out to manslaughter or negligent homicide. Since he chose to hang tough, the prosecution brought the maximum charges against him and has been able to play those out in court, to his obvious chagrin.)
It’s interesting that Fox News is expending so much energy trying to defend Zimmerman, and trying to paint his supporters as liars and disreputable people. And beyond this, you have some of the Zimmerman supporters darkly predicting Rodney King-style riots breaking out if he somehow gets to walk away from this killing. I personally don’t see that happening. But in the event of a conviction of Zimmerman, I do see right wing media going up in arms about the “injustice” of the whole matter. They’ve already tried to play the game of saying that the charges were only brought due to politics. It’s only a short hop to saying that the conviction was due to the same thing.
And, therefore, irrelevant.
“defense attorney Mark O’Mara “asked” her whether, if she had not identified her son as the one screaming for help, heard on a 911 call tape, she “would have to accept the probability that it was Trayvon Martin who caused his own death.”
She did NOT hear Zimmerman screaming — she heard her son.
As Ellen points out, even IF Zimmerman was screaming, that doesn’t necessarily mean he didn’t do something to provoke whatever response Martin gave him . . . IOW, “standing his ground” . . .
And, as a reminder to O’Mara, Fox, and all the others coming out of the woodwork to defend Zimmerman:
By his own admission, IT WAS ZIMMERMAN WHO SHOT MARTIN — NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.