George Zimmerman’s defense attorneys visited On The Record last night for another round of sore winners’ whining about Zimmerman’s victimhood. Predictably, Greta Van Susteren could not have been more friendly and credulous about their every utterance, including Mark O’Mara’s ludicrous claim that he has “always been very respectful” to Trayvon Martin’s family (just pay no attention to his smearing cross-examination "questions" to Sybrina Fulton about her dead son). But it soon became clear the real purpose of the entire segment: helping to promote Zimmerman’s money-making scheme to sue MSNBC. Van Susteren even helpfully advised that the network quickly settle.
You may recall that last February, when Sean Hannity helped plug Zimmerman’s defense fund, O’Mara claimed that Zimmerman had no money for his defense: “The money that we need to hire defense experts and to continue with depositions is simply not there… I know that I talked to you about, sort of, the need for increasing donations.” I’d love to know what O’Mara and Hannity “talked about” and how it is that Zimmerman got the money he needed for his fancy forensics expert, his fancy computer animation and his fancy attorney. Well, suing MSNBC may be the plan.
Van Susteren set up the discussion by “asking”about, as FoxNews.com put it, “the media’s race narrative.” Anyone who has watched Fox’s coverage of the Zimmerman case for more than five minutes knows that what they mean is how unfairly Zimmerman has been treated. Just in case O’Mara and his co-counsel, Don West, didn’t know they were going to get carte blanche to promote their message, Van Susteren began, “I want to let you have a chance to have at it. …Tell me what you think about the media coverage.”
But the two only talked generally about the coverage. So, at about 2:12, Van Susteren promoted brought up the lawsuit. “Don, what about this NBC lawsuit? They did a pretty bad hack job on some editing.” She went on to describe the particulars of the edited tape. “You’ve filed suit,” she said leadingly.
After O’Mara described the outrage his poor client suffered (and never mind how O’Mara had deliberately tried to poison the jury’s minds against Trayvon Martin with a big assist from Fox News’ Megyn Kelly’s America Live show), Van Susteren did add some balance. She said, “I don’t know any of the people involved in this. I know NBC did, I think, fire some people as a result. My wild guess on this to both of you? Is that it’s probably some young person who was not particularly supervised by other people or someone inexperienced. …We’re all competitors but I really can’t even imagine that they were trying to sort of stick it to you or your client. But that’s just my guess.”
But then she added, “Well, my advice to NBC is to make a quick settlement and everybody move on.”
Except that you can best believe that Fox News will continue to flaunt the NBC tape as further ammunition in its war on African Americans, the media and anyone else who doesn’t join in their George Zimmerman as Great White Gun-Totin’, Black-Thug Slayin’ Hero narrative.
“THOSE THAT KNOW US, LOVE US”
Something about using coded words to get his wife or girlfriend to move money out of existing accounts into hidden accounts?
(O)n Feb. 22 — months before the criminal trial — Crump attorney Bruce Blackwell told Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson that the family intends to sue. Its lawsuit would most likely be a wrongful-death claim or one alleging negligence.
Central Florida defense attorneys said Tuesday that just because Zimmerman was acquitted, that does not mean he won’t be sued, but it does indicate the evidence weighs in his favor.
If Zimmerman is sued in this case, a judge would determine whether “stand your ground” applies. If the judge rules it does, Zimmerman would be released from liability. If the judge rules against that claim, the case would be tried before a jury.
Neither NBC nor CNN have a “race-baiting agenda” unless you’re basing your opinion on the views of people like Tucker Carlson, Brent Bozell and the guys desperately trying to keep Breitbart’s group alive.
I wonder how you know the numbers of what Zimmerman purportedly owes his attorneys. Frankly, those guys don’t work for free, and they certainly didn’t spend an entire month dealing with the trial with their two lead attorneys and a passel of staff just on an IOU. But the facts of who was financing this defense will likely come out in the event of any lawsuit, as Zimmerman will be compelled to show his financial condition – either to demonstrate his alleged damages from NBC or to demonstrate whether he can compensate the Martins for his behavior. An interesting side effect of Zimmerman filing ANY lawsuit is that he will be compelled to take the witness stand and he won’t be able to hide the way he did at his criminal trial.
The only reason we haven’t heard about the pending Martin family lawsuit against him is that Zimmerman and his supporters keep saying he has no money. And the only thing the Martins will be awarded in a civil suit will be money, frankly. They can’t get their son back. Now, if Zimmerman starts making noises that he’s getting a big settlement from NBC and he’s going to sell a book about his life and all that, then the Martins would be motivated to file their suit – as they would be able to place a lien on all of the funds Zimmerman would be trying to take for himself from this incident. They would be able to place a lien on all funds he might try to take for himself in the future, such as the proceeds from writing a book or selling his story to a movie producer. And it gets better – the other kicker in that suit is that he could wind up having to pay the Martins’ attorneys’ fees. So he’d wind up in a much worse financial condition, and in that case, he really would be owing a lot of money to attorneys. They just wouldn’t be his attorneys.
I strongly doubt that the Zimmermans will need to live “in hiding”. They’ve been harassed for sure, and the people who did it don’t speak for the millions of people who’ve been peacefully discussing this issue. And that’s a false dilemma in any case – one that Tucker Carlson’s intern frankly made a fool out of himself by trying to pin it on President Obama yesterday. I do think that George Zimmerman will want to move, not out of hysterical paranoia but because he’s notorious in that part of Florida now. For practical reasons, I think he’ll move to another state and start over there.
I find it interesting that you think that the racists in this case are the criminals who have made nasty and threatening calls to the Zimmermans. What about the criminals who have made threats against the Martins? Do you condemn them as well, or do you think that behavior was acceptable?
NBC already took action, as was noted below, at the time that the tape was edited. Action was swiftly taken, the matter was discussed openly and George Zimmerman’s reputation could not have been that affected by the situation, since the fact of the editing was dealt with and answered. Not sure how you could even think this was a criminal matter. But I can definitely see from the bias you’re showing why you believe it was disgusting. And this wasn’t “media twisting evidence to support lies”. This was a producer taking the wrong approach to facilitating what was an ongoing discussion at the time.
As for the other commenter below, I think any sane person would agree that the situation was tragic, and that it was tragically avoidable. Your account of what words Zimmerman was saying forgets that this was something under discussion for some time before most people decided to just accept that he said “punks”. There are still many people who don’t accept that, and they’ll point to Zimmerman’s MySpace page as examples of other stereotypes being tossed around by him.
I would agree that there definitely some people in the media who tried to stir the pot of this story, and this happened on all sides of the issue as everyone jockeyed for the moral high ground. But it was already a storm before they did this – because everyone knew what a powderkeg it was when you have a young man shot to death after being profiled literally for walking home in a hoodie. There was no way this wouldn’t turn into a storm.
It’s possible that Zimmerman will continue his lawsuit against NBC. I think they’ll offer him a small settlement for the conduct of the producer they already fired and for any inconvenience to him, but I’m not anticipating millions of dollars by any means. I could be wrong on that count – but in that case, Zimmerman would be wide open to a massive lawsuit from the Martin family, at which point all of the proceeds of that suit would indirectly wind up going exactly where you’re implying. I strongly doubt that Zimmerman will give the Martin family the proceeds willingly, but a jury verdict against him in a civil case would take care of that for him.
You do raise an interesting question that’s been discussed here. How has George Zimmerman been paying for his attorneys when he was crying poverty four months ago and when the trial would have been exponentially more expensive than the entire last year had been. I don’t believe it was the five and ten dollar donations from fans in the sticks that paid for the defense team. It will be interesting when the actual numbers come out – which is something that would be a natural byproduct of any suit Zimmerman brings against anyone, as well as the accounting phase at the end of a judgment against him in superior court.
Hopefully, both sides can agree that this is beyond tragic. However, what NBC, The NY Times, and (a little) CNN did to George Zimmerman in the edited 911 tapes, running with f’n coons when he said something totally different, and the “white hispanic” thing (a term I’ve NEVER heard of in 44 years of living -kinda like saying President Obama is a “white-black” ) the media took a horribly crappy situation and turned it into a S*** Storm. If anything, I hope NBC gets pile-driven with a lawsuit -and I hope Zimmerman along with paying off all his lawyers -reaches across and does two things of goodwill…(1) Give the Martin family a chunk of the court settlement (2) Create a Trayvon Martin Scholarship Fund.
Further, the civil suit would not just be about Zimmerman’s use of force. The racial profiling, the following and the stalking would also come into play. As I stated, Zimmerman faces a very real possibility of having the same thing happen to him in civil court as happened to O.J. – he could very well lose more in such a suit than anyone thought possible. The only factors holding such an action back at this time are Zimmerman’s professed poverty and a minimum of provocation of Martin’s family so far. (Although Robert Zimmerman’s statements may have pushed the situation over the line) If Zimmerman suddenly starts making noises about thinking he’s going to get a bag of cash from NBC and write a book about this case, he’ll immediately open himself up to a lawsuit that will strip him of all such earnings and probably more. Personally, I’d be very careful about making that kind of mistake.
Further, Zimmerman could try to sue the Martins, but I find it difficult to believe that any civil jury would render anything but a verdict for them. Not only would such a lawsuit be in extremely poor taste, Zimmerman would again open the door to a full examination of all of his untrue statements and contradictions. As a plaintiff, he would not be able to hide from the witness stand – and his testimony could either get him nailed for perjury or open him up to even more civil damages in a suit by the Martin family.
I should have defined what I was calling injury in my phrase “he’ll have to show how he was specifically injured”. In a civil lawsuit, Zimmerman will have to show how NBC’s airing of the edited 911 call caused him damages. In a civil suit, this doesn’t just have to mean a physical injury. It can mean injury to his reputation, to his well-being, even to his emotional state. It can mean causing him to lose a job. The point in a civil suit is that if I sue you, I’m saying that your actions caused a problem for me and I need to be compensated for that problem. So an injury in this case isn’t the gash on the back of Zimmerman’s head or his bloody nose. It would be if he is saying that NBC intentionally or negligently caused a problem for him by airing the 911 tape in that manner.
Now, your account of what happened with the editing of that tape is not accurate or truthful. What actually happened was a low-level production person at NBC did a shorter edit of the 911 discussion that removed a piece of the context of Zimmerman’s comment “He looks black”. Following the right wing media’s immediate screams about it, NBC issued a retraction and fired the person responsible. Higher-ups at the network stated that they thought the editing was wrong-headed and in error. Zimmerman is free to sue them if he likes, but one wonders how he will be able to show damages. The edit was discussed as wrong-headed immediately, was pulled and the person responsible was fired. (Actually, 2 people were fired, but I’m trying to keep this simple.) Can Zimmerman show he was badly affected in the 24 hours before action was taken? Can Zimmerman show that NBC ignored his response or that they refused to take any action? Since he can’t show much on any of those grounds, all he’ll have left is whether a civil jury is willing to award a large sum on what would essentially boil down to negligence and a concurrent idea of “negligent infliction of emotional distress”. On that basis, NBC will likely offer a very small amount to Zimmerman to compensate him for their mistake, but I doubt they’ll offer him the moon by any means. And if he takes it to trial, he’s not likely to get much other than the negligence counts I just mentioned, which won’t pay out very much.
But maybe you’re right and NBC will offer him more money. That wouldn’t have anything to do with a jury in his criminal trial declaring him Not Guilty – particularly when we now have jurors saying that the laws of Florida limited them so much that they were unable to convict him of manslaughter as at least two of them advocated to do. Regarding race, there was plenty of discussion of it in court – at the latest point when the defense made an emotional plea that Zimmerman was right to racially profile Martin due to some young black males having been caught breaking into homes in the area.
Regarding the pending lawsuit by the Martin family, you may not be familiar with the law in this regard. It doesn’t matter whether Zimmerman was found Guilty or Not Guilty in criminal court. The standards for a criminal case are very different than those for a civil case. A civil case operates not on a Guilty/Not Guilty basis but on the idea of things like relative cause. For example – a criminal case where two people are in a car accident would focus on whether one of those people broke a specific law in the accident. The civil case would look at the actions of both people in the accident and try to determine how much responsibility each person had for what happened. That’s why in such a case, you could have one driver be assigned 70 percent responsibility and the other one get 30 percent. (Say that one guy switched lanes improperly but the other guy wasn’t paying attention, hence – crash)
Zimmerman has a serious problem in front of him should the Martin family sue him on a variety of grounds, based on his admitted actions of racially profiling their son and following and stalking their son. The fact that he instigated a situation against an unarmed person who was committing no crime will also not help him in a civil lawsuit. The fact that the situation resulted in the death of that same unarmed person who was committing no crime could result in a wrongful death award – and those can pay out in the millions. Because even Zimmerman’s defenders like Mark Fuhrman have admitted publicly that Zimmerman could have shot Martin in the arm, the shoulder, the leg – any of which options would not have resulted in Martin’s death.
Zimmerman was not declared Not Guilty because of “the right to defend himself from great bodily harm”. He was declared Not Guilty because the jury was greatly limited in how they could apply the information they had before them. Since they weren’t provided enough information to show an advance mindset toward killing, they couldn’t find 2nd Degree Murder. Because they were split over the definition of Zimmerman’s actions vis a vis Manslaughter, and because the jurors leaning toward acquittal pressured the other ones to go with the lenient side of the definition, the jurors were left only with Not Guilty. (Keep in mind, the Manslaughter definition had Zimmerman intentionally taking an action that resulted in the death of Martin. Zimmerman took more than one action that had this result. His actions of following and stalking Martin led right to the killing, and when he pulled the gun out, he then chose to shoot Martin in the chest rather than the shoulder, leg or arm. Granted, the jury in this case was clearly pushed by the more forceful members to assume the most limited definition possible – which is why the jurors have noted that a better definition would have resulted in the Manslaughter conviction Zimmerman was justifiably scared he was about to receive.
It’s interesting that you bring up the O.J. verdict, given that the right wing media was up in arms for months, if not years over that one. For eons on KFI in Los Angeles, we heard pundits getting angrier and angrier about how OJ had escaped justice and how wrong the jury was. They certainly didn’t just “let it go”. But in the current case, we now have right wing pundits immediately declaring “Case closed! Walk away!” Which sounds not only like a double standard but like a bit of desperation.
But let’s say he somehow gets a big payout here. Then he opens himself to a massive civil lawsuit from Trayvon Martin’s family, who are already disposed to bring such a suit. The only thing holding them back is his cry of poverty. If he’s perceived as getting a stack of cash from NBC, then he can certainly compensate the Martin family for their loss.
Ironically, the result of any NBC lawsuit would be a backfire effect where ZImmerman comes out with less than he has now.