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Good morning everyone and welcome to foxnews.com.
Today we are continuing our live coverage of the George Zimmerman trial.
He is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of an unarmed seventeen year old trade on -- down in Central Florida last year.
And -- now we have the jury selection process -- going on.
-- yesterday was day one of that process for jurors were questioned they are anticipating questioning literally hundreds of jurors before choosing.
-- panel of six actual jurors plus four alternates in Florida as in some other states apparently.
It is a jury of six not of twelve.
Unless it's a capital murder case and that is what I'm told by James Gallup -- a criminal defense attorney who is joining me here on the set.
To discuss what's going on in the trial today and -- also joining us now from our Miami bureau is Brian Tannenbaum who is the president.
Of the Florida association of -- defense lawyers thank you for joining us as well Brian.
More morning all right so I'll start with the James -- shot we did look in on some of the jury selection process yesterday.
The actual interviews didn't start until later in the day because there -- some -- the defense attorney started out saying he wanted to delay.
In the start of the proceedings because he said the prosecution was late handing over some.
Information and that they're not receiving a few more weeks and the judge denied that request and the jury selection and hence the trial did indeed.
Stocked so what about that I mean this is there any danger that when you turn down a request like that that there's.
A retrial later on because that they can argue that they didn't have enough time.
No I have -- thanks for having me who -- and he's there's really no foam.
That's not an issue this happens all the time.
In New York -- pretty much trial by ambush I don't get most of my -- posted jury selection this afternoon I'll walk into him hundreds of pages of discovery today.
I have to weed through them in a half hour before.
A good start talking to the jury is a critical time though in this case this is when they need to -- find people that have an open mind that haven't made up their mind ready and you know with -- intense media coverage in Florida especially in Seminole County.
It's going to be very difficult to find people haven't made up their minority and yeah and can keep an open mind.
Yeah we saw some of it yesterday with that the questioning of just stuff for potential.
-- jurors and you saw some of their comments.
A lot of them saying that they had not made up their minds but that they had in fact.
Seen some coverage of it up almost impossible I would say anywhere in the country to find some one.
Who hasn't seen some coverage of it.
So coverage initially.
You know there were was an edited quote.
George -- is first phone call when he said I'm following this guy.
And the dispatcher asked what does he look like what is his race and he responded to that by saying -- you know I guess he might be black.
And this was edited down to make it look like he basically called and said -- following this guy he looks suspicious he's black.
At that look how oh how much prejudice does that kind of thing lends to -- like this.
You know with the right defense things that -- -- work both ways I would use it to my advantage they can go out there and say look everybody everybody's expecting them to come out and here.
That he called -- -- he called and it is a black guy walking down the blocking suspicious because he's black but that's not what he said and if you listen to a carefully you hear him say I think he might be black.
And then it's not only after he was asked if that's correct and it's not till later on where he's mentions that -- on his walking towards him.
-- he starts giving a better description and saying yes he is.
Black then that was it.
And then it was after the dispatcher said what does he look like describes appearance so.
So it's tricky that kind of thing -- in the coming to play let's go down to a Miami you're aware as I mentioned we have -- Tannenbaum.
With the -- defense lawyers Brian what do you think about the odds here a finding a truly impartial jury for this case.
I think the more media coverage -- there's -- is actually created a more open mind of the public I think the more questions that have been raised about what happened here.
Have caused people to wonder.
What was on the scene remember something this is a crime that occurred recently for which there is no.
YouTube video there's no surveillance camera.
And so people are really left in the dark wondering what exactly happened and unfortunately this is the kind of case where there's only one person alive.
Who can actually say what happened on the scene.
You have to so let's go -- to some of the sound -- that we have from.
Earlier in this case of course for the trial starts there are.
Closed door proceedings.
In which they try to decide whether or not certain.
Things can be allowed as evidence and a big controversy of course over.
The 911 call from someone in the neighborhood and in the background you can clearly hear screaming.
The question of course is who is screaming and it's a very key question.
And if the tape or more clearer it could really help us determine.
Who was being attacked.
And who was the attacker.
That's either refuting or bolstering.
-- argument that he killed in self defense they've really rests on that question but.
James the tape -- so blurry.
And there was a big debate in court over whether or not it could be allowed as evidence let's listen first to that 911 tape and you can hear the screaming in the background.
-- I don't want it police are articles.
I'm and they -- bullpen not sure that she went screaming outside.
I can't you know I wanna go going on.
-- -- All right so at the end of this so long discussion it was decided that that 911 tape is inadmissible.
They had voice experts on.
Saying that they could determine who was screaming or they can't determine who was screaming -- -- possible when someone screaming in there in distress to compare with other samples of their voices virtually useless.
What do you make James of this.
I think it's a big hit for the prosecution this is that he said he's dead and the prosecutor house to tell that that guy's story.
And the way they tell is -- you all the evidence if they could have introduce that statement or what they thought was the statement.
It would help them greatly.
But I also think it was the right decision I don't think it was fair in order to be admissible.
It would have to be a statement or -- -- analysis used to do the analysis to say this was Zimmerman courtesy this -- -- bond.
Would have to be an analysis that is generally accepted by the senate scientific community.
And we heard the experts they all sound like experts to me and -- -- completely different opinions.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I couldn't disagree more with my colleague I think that that tape is a problem.
For the state and I think it's a home run for the defense -- because.
Nobody really understands what's on the tape and you're gonna have a battle of the experts in all it's gonna do is create a question.
Another question in the jury's mind as to.
What actually happened so I think that this -- Is a big problem for the state.
All right well either way it is not in of the trials so.
That is something there -- so let's go back to some of the -- comments that we've heard now from.
Family at the start of this trial we have a sound -- from the parents.
But -- on Martin who again was he was walking home from a store -- -- bought some skills and some iced -- And died he was followed by this neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman and obviously some sort of confrontation.
In suit and resulted in Zimmerman pulling out his licensed gun.
And shooting -- -- on Martin to death let's hear now what his parents have to say.
The -- We are we leave -- at the start -- the -- is -- with the jury selection.
As we suggests while some -- -- We also see.
A fair and impartial trial.
We expect community.
Continue to stay peaceful.
As we -- faith in the justice system.
We -- asking the community do the same.
We acts that.
Families and friends continue to pray for -- continue to keep us safe and and God's arms.
We have -- continue to break which Ryvon.
Thank you we -- -- for justice.
-- That is a trade on Martin's father there Tracy Martin speaking and you know calling for everyone to.
To stay peaceful and four -- justice to take its course.
But you James we're hearing our cry across the whole country is we need justice for trade on -- let's hope that the justice system a comes through for -- -- What what impact does that have on these potential jurors and they must've seen some of this.
They listened as did major racial undertones this you know for a vote for the -- it's a tragedy.
You know have this little -- should not have died -- but second degree murder.
I don't see it it's.
It's just a tragedy all around.
Well I'm Brian what do you think about the charging in this case you know some people -- -- that it wasn't first degree murder they say Zimmerman should never have followed him.
He was not police officer when he called the police they said.
Don't follow him anymore he continued to follow him and you know some people say that whatever happened next even if -- -- did -- -- -- an attack him.
Would have been justified because -- -- felt threatened why is this guy following me and that.
The whole thing maybe could've been avoided -- Zimmerman had just followed the police instructions to back off.
Well these are distinct issues that you're raising first of all the quote from the police officer when he asked him are you following him and George Zimmerman -- yes he said we don't need you to do that.
Now that's different than an officer giving what's called a lawful.
Order if he had done that and George Zimmerman had violated that he could've been charged with an additional crime.
A failing to Obey -- lawful order but the fact remains that even if they told him not to follow trade on -- and he violated.
That order and did so and then trade -- Martin showed force and George Zimmerman was in fear.
Then he can under Florida's stand your ground law use force even deadly force to defend himself so I think.
It's an important issue.
As far as what the officers dead and what George Zimmerman did but in the end what will find is that.
George Zimmerman was not engaged in unlawful activity by following -- -- Martin because he was not specifically ordered not to do so.
So James O'Brien raising some very important and -- -- and complicated points there that this is what's -- this trial so tricky.
There there's just a lot of gray area that does it burns right on the.
You know the forensic evidence in this case supports -- -- we don't have the other side of the story we have bits and pieces of it.
And George Simmons gonna take the stand and he's gonna tell his side of the story.
We know that he continue following him we -- he lost sight of them.
And then the next thing we heard was -- at least the next thing I heard was that George Zimmerman said he was attacked.
Now did -- happen the only person that's gonna tell us is George Zimmerman well ahead of our injuries there are -- He's got a fractured -- he's got -- -- the back of his head he said that he was punched in the face and his head was being smashed against the big concrete.
-- by someone that you prefer that we are taken into consideration that there is a lot of crime going on -- neighborhood this is that this is a gated community 264.
It's not -- -- George Zimmermann the security police officer buff.
Recognizes a lot of people in the neighborhood he probably can recognize most of the people in the neighborhood and you know.
His initial thoughts that hey this this person is -- -- place you would run on.
Trip I was just visiting there that's not to say he shouldn't have been what -- -- -- initial reaction of hate that person's out of place he was correct.
But it's just unsettling to ordinary citizens to think that just because they're walking in -- neighborhood where they don't usually walk when somebody says I don't recognize that guy.
And that that could lead to this kind of horrible tragedy.
It's very unsettling to people it's very unsettling and you know once the facts come out -- -- -- see which way it goes home.
I'm defense case I think are so let's listen now to comment died yesterday from -- George -- brother.
Robert who says that he is confident.
That this will be an acquittal that Edwards and -- and will be found not guilty of second degree murder because.
It is a complicated case -- off high standard of proof and he doesn't think that the prosecution's going to be able to reach that standard let's listen.
I don't speak for George -- his confidence I can tell you as a family we're very confident in the outcome of the case and we're very confident.
On that the state will not be able to meet its burden and it's a -- burden here Florida.
Not only do they have to prove that this was a -- as they allege they also have to prove simultaneously that it could not have been self defense.
So we're confident.
The -- won't meet its burden in that kind of backs into our confidence in the legal team.
As you can see from the past few days Don west has been extraordinary his mark -- their secret weapon in my opinion.
And going forward.
Depending on how the state brings its case.
They will show even more of their.
Eloquence and presenting.
All right Brian Tannenbaum.
Down Miami there what say you about the competence of this sub defense team.
Well I personally know mark and Don and George Zimmerman could not get better lawyers in this case Mark O'Meara specifically.
Has done some very high profile homicide work and Don west is is right there with -- and and they just as a side note I.
I -- I wouldn't want my client's brother out there making statements about what he predicts is gonna happen in the case but I can tell you that.
You know from what I know and obviously we have to remember we're not sitting in the jury room go back to the Casey Anthony case.
The entire country knew that Casey Anthony was guilty of murder except for the people sitting in the jury box so let's remember that you never know what six people.
Six strangers to the defendant and the state are going to do once again courtroom.
But if I was a betting man.
This is a defense case lose.
James what about what Brian just said about how he doesn't think it's a good idea for the defendant George Simmons brother.
To be out there making predictions I've read in the New York actually the daily news this morning.
That they described it and they said.
-- brother came out with this cocky.
Statement that was their word -- It's risky you know use your run the risk golf setting off potential jurors they don't have a jury yet.
Now the jurors potential jurors I'm sure they're going to be told don't don't follow anything -- media on the case from this point forward but they're gonna read that statement they're gonna hear the statement.
It might set on the wrong way.
It's good to be confident in your attorney you should be confident in your attorney that's why I hired them they -- they have some of the best attorneys in the country representing them right now.
Do need to come out and say -- they don't he -- come out and said we believe -- -- in our brother's innocence.
And were confident that the justice system is going to be is gonna see him innocent.
Let's listen now to comments from the the players here from prosecution and the defense we have Bernie delivery on that was the assistant state attorney.
And also mark Merritt a defense attorney we've been referring to and this is just -- comment on jury selection.
-- the bottom line.
You're like -- explain yeah listen to the evidence and make a decision.
In this courtroom if -- make sure.
Yet -- -- that.
When you come into the courtroom -- everything with your life experiences common sense and then you bring in stuff that you found out about this case even minor stuff like -- picture of -- on one and he made its depictions of -- them.
My concern is that we talk about what you.
Have what you saw that we can get it out now -- the worst thing that can happen Islam is the -- don't have passed you're forced -- Is for you remember something that we haven't talked about here today.
Back when your -- And has that impacted -- indicates.
Yeah that's that's important that's what we've been talking about the fact that they have to be as Bernie -- Hillary on -- at first a blank slate.
Somehow filtering out whatever they already knew -- whatever they already heard and thought they knew what that all away and listen only to the evidence that comes out in the trial.
-- how difficult is that for jurors.
It's extremely difficult and I can tell you that in a case like this one of the biggest concerns because we have to get past the fact that.
A lot of jurors are going to know about this case that's not the standard the standard is whether they can put aside what they know and keep an open mind.
But I will tell you that.
As we go through jury selection one of the things to watch -- white jurors.
These -- the jurors that have lived in Sanford for 3040 years they have no opinion on anything.
You have to be very -- they they haven't been involved law enforcement they have no negative opinion.
About the criminal justice system when Mark -- talking there about learning things after the trial commences or after the trial was over.
That's what he's talking about he's talking about jurors during more dire.
Who they want to be on the -- of their being careful about what they say they don't wanna say anything that's -- disqualified them.
I'm not worried when I'm picking the jury about someone who's very talkative in expressing their opinions I'm worried about that person -- not saying much because I don't.
I don't get to know enough about them and I'm worried that -- media either hiding something.
Not telling the truth or what they really wanted to do was get on the -- -- they're not giving me all the information I need.
It's the -- so much you can do about that you know you have -- you can reject certain jurors that eventually you have to do you have to get a panel.
Right you know asking questions you have to ask as many questions as possible and like Brian said -- quite jurors -- a scary ones.
In when I do jury selection are supposed to pick a jury this afternoon.
None of my questions is anybody that wants to be on the jury.
Most people don't wanna be on it and there's actually do have raised their hand and -- sometimes that -- people.
And then you you focus more questions on them and yet you try to find out why -- they wanna be on it.
Because usually you wanna be on -- could you have your mind set or you want to help one person out -- you wanna you wanna be a star.
You don't need -- you need people who want to remain anonymous don't wanna do their job that can actually put themselves.
Erase erase the past and just look at it going forward it's very difficult.
How well and you have to be an expert really in human nature almost looking at -- -- your own lie detector because.
Like you said if somebody wants to be on that jury let's say they they really feel -- -- guilty and -- -- I wanna be one of the people who convict this guy.
So -- -- -- and they say yes absolutely I can be impartial offered about the case but I have no opinion and they're lying through their teeth.
You have to be able to figure that somehow.
You don't and its its experience and its dealing with people.
-- -- way through law school -- -- I think you can lose one of the greatest.
Prerequisites third jury selection you talk to people you find out about the people you don't have a problem asking them that typical question.
Yeah it's it's a very difficult process and you have to hope that you're you're intuition is correct.
And maybe if we were to give the jurors alcohol before they would tell their questioning they would be able bit more honest on our -- helping here I thought.
Obviously let people know that -- trial has not yet started but once again this is foxnews.com and you are out watching coverage.
Of the George Zimmerman trial he is charged with second degree murder.
India killing of seventeen year old -- on Martin.
Needs to -- and being a neighborhood.
A watchman at the time and was following trip on Martin and there -- and about.
Being -- violent confrontation in which Zimmerman shot the unarmed -- on Martin to death case it's being watched.
Across the entire country and right now hearing date to.
-- jury selection and we are going to have coverage for you live as soon as that begins -- -- right now -- -- step.
Going over some of the details of the case says it has unfolded that so far.
And Brian back to you with the jury selection there are legal consequences.
I mean germs are are sworn to tell the truth.
In jury selection has ever happened where -- juror has said I have no opinion and then they get on the case and they do have an opinion and other jurors say look this guy.
You know was a ringer from the beginning and then that -- prosecuted does that kind of thing happen.
It does happen jurors are prosecuted for perjury and what you see now in 2013.
Because of the advent of social media is you'll -- jurors -- They've never said anything negative about the police and then prosecutor will go back and find their Twitter feed or something on their FaceBook page in which they talk about their most recent arrest.
So more and more where we're all out there in the public and we're all having our own you know social media accounts and and expressing our opinions every time we think of something.
It's a problem for jurors to sit in the jury box.
It's always been a problem to lie but now those lies can be verified it used to be that all you could verify was that the -- in -- Had been arrested in jurors would come in and say that they never been arrested before the prosecutor would take a lunch break and come back and bring in their arrest record and talk to the -- the -- one of getting excuse.
But what I've seen more more jury jurors actually going through the case and then once the cases over the defense comes in and finds out.
That the juror lied and board are so I think we're living in a time where.
We have more high profile cases -- Because of the advent of social media and because of that were able to find out more about jurors' opinions outside the -- our process.
That -- it seems like that would be extremely helpful because let's face it the whole case is going to rest on.
These six jurors who are chosen after this -- lengthy process they're expecting to go through.
About a hundred jurors today.
And they don't all get to the questioning phase correct me if I'm wrong here James they fill out a questionnaire.
And some of them give reasons right of the bat why they can't really serve on this case and a lot of people are excused early on in the others make it to the question.
Right in -- very beginning being the through a series of questions from the judge that you -- weed out the people.
This -- people who weed out the people like cancer it's a six -- week trial at the minimum.
-- people prior family commitments that people that have speak Haitians planned his.
The -- out of reasons hundreds and hundreds of reasons but.
You get rid of them right away and then your focus the real questions the -- fatal questions on the potential the real potential jurors.
So it now.
In the what everyone understands to be the the tense nature of this case the fact that it's being watched nationwide the fact that in the past if you've had an acquittal.
In in similar types of cases and then there's been a violent reaction.
You -- the house to worry a potential juror but what if at the end of the day I really believe that Zimmerman is innocent and we all acquit him.
And we know that what might happen after that is some kind of horrible violence as we've seen in the past.
But it's actually a factor and I think the fact that the defense is that the attorneys and they bring into the questioning and they're gonna ask them.
You know -- a you can be able to sit here knowing that the nation is watching knowing that you're going to be able -- -- -- to make a decision.
That maybe -- -- the nation doesn't agree with -- maybe they do agree with.
It's something that you could follow them around for the rest of their life.
Brian oh months are actually it looks like -- trial is now starting there is a defendant George Zimmerman charged with second degree murder.
He is out on bail he's coming in to the courtroom today.
To watch the jury selection process as it gets under way.
Brian briefly as everyone's getting seeded.
What about that I mean obviously the jurors are told very specifically that they cannot worry about any impact.
That their verdict might have outside the courtroom.
But does it weigh on their minds anyway.
It absolutely does and I can tell you that in any criminal case you always ask the jurors would you be pressured by your own jurors for example with a five to one vote in the jury room everybody wants to go home you're sure the guy is innocent everyone else is guilty.
Will you stand your own ground and will you stick to your to your verdict in this case we expand that into the media and you have to ask the jurors.
You know are you going to fuel pressure to convict George Zimmerman.
Or acquit him based on what you heard in the media and you have jurors that they absolutely yes I'm scared to death I could not be fair to mr.
Zimmerman or the state because I'm scared of my own.
Personal well being in those jurors need to be excused for what's called cause -- -- absolutely.
Have to ask that question I will say that I think is very important trait on Martin's father is calling for what he calls peaceful justice because that is a concern in this case.
Absolutely he is repeatedly.
Asked for every one all of trip on supporters to.
Remain calm remain peaceful he keeps using that word peaceful.
And that's saying we must have faith and -- the justice system but it does lead to the question what if the justice system in their minds.
Lets them down and obviously the case that we all remember.
That led to these terrible consequences with the Rodney King.
Case in the Rodney King riots and I I remember James after that one of the jurors was interviewed on on ABC's Nightline.
In depth about what happened and she said that that you should -- -- in -- should have an open mind and she did.
But that deep down inside she believed that the police really did acted appropriately but that after watching the entire trial watching the video in slow motion over and over again.
And having it explained what was going on by the police officers and and whatnot that she -- the conclusion that the police were not guilty and at the end of it she came home and her husband was looking at her with just.
In his eyes like what.
What happened to you how could you reach that ridiculous verdict and look at how our whole neighborhood now is in chaos.
Because of what you did and -- she -- here she said it was horrible.
Some people love the spotlight some people hate it and that's definitely going to be in effect it's definitely a factor that must be taken -- -- consideration by both sides and if it's an issue I mean it's it's going to be some of the that the jury's gonna have to.
Yeah yes it's a difficult thing being in that jury room so I write a -- let's go see what's going on now back at the trial.
Is it okay.
Not much I guess I wanted to see George Zimmerman gets seated and we are not showing the jurors they are being identified only by.
By code number and died during -- of war Deere which is that the term for the the questioning process.
We will be showing the lawyers the prosecutor are burning Hillary on the hour possibly someone else sometimes they switch it up and the defense attorney -- Markel Mara.
Questioning of these jurors we will be looking only at the attorneys doing the questioning we can not hear the voices.
Of the jurors.
And their responses and that's more interesting and -- you saw what some of the comments work.
Yesterday these people.
Did all say that they could keep an open mind how did they sound to you did you believe that.
Some of them sound like they dug themselves.
You know and I think it's human nature to say yeah I can be fair and I want to be fair.
But it's the defense attorney's job really dig -- ask those questions to see is it possible well you know we knew prior victim of a crime.
You know normally you don't if -- a defense attorney don't want prior victims.
And you -- I did a burglary trial.
Where out of a hundred potential jurors if you had either themselves -- immediate family members victims of burglaries.
And then they all -- so it'll be -- -- -- be fair would have put that aside you can they really -- probably not right probably not and that's that's something that they -- the fight with.
Yeah Brian now what about that did you hear any they were here yesterday.
I did watch some of it and I agree -- with changes saying you know.
He used the phrase human nature and that's -- jury selection is you're getting into the human side where this is the only time that the lawyers get to talk to these.
Jurors and nobody.
In in human interaction wants to say to somebody else.
I cannot be fair and so people convince themselves well yes I've been a crime victim yes I really don't like the police and yes I think that.
George government shouldn't have shot trade on Martin but I can be fair.
-- you're sitting in a courtroom there's a court reporter there's a judge they're lawyers there's media.
And nobody wants to go out Republicans say they can't be fair for the lawyers have to be really careful.
It's not just whether the -- says they can be fair it's whether the lawyers and the judge determine.
That the juror can actually be there.
And they have a few.
I think this varies by state so James leaving just let me know the the situation in Florida where.
The defense attorney can just -- Reject a bunch of jurors without reason.
They prosecution can do the same.
But at some point they run out of challenges or -- network.
The culprit after he challenges bomb went -- to go to to Brian to get the exact number that you're entitled to.
In New -- it varies by the level of crime.
You're charged with depending on the level of crime in New -- you may only have six jurors as opposed to twelve jurors in New York -- normally on a felony case you have twelve jurors.
-- three to four potential.
-- it's okay.
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