Friday, April 20, 2018
Public safety

George Zimmerman trial: How long will defense go?

ORLANDO — With the state likely to rest today in the George Zimmerman trial, speculation is rampant about how long the defense might go.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara told Orlando station WKMG-TV that he plans to put on a lot of witnesses, including family members, neighbors, friends and an expert on a timeline of Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting by Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder.

But the TV analysts on Anderson Cooper's CNN show weren't buying that preview Wednesday night. So how do they see it playing out?

"The defense has been able to try their case within the prosecution's case," Marcia Clark told Cooper. "So I do think it will be relatively brief. I think they will rest next week."

Sunny Hostin agreed. "I don't think the defense is going to put on a long case at all, maybe two or three witnesses at most," she told Cooper. "We could be looking at a verdict, I think, by next week."

Jose Baez predicted that forensic pathologist Vincent Di Maio will take center stage in the defense's case. "You don't hire a superstar like that and not call them," said the attorney who successfully defended Casey Anthony.

On Thursday morning TV, legal analysts highlighted how Zimmerman didn't tell the truth in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity when he said he knew nothing about "stand your ground" laws. Capt. Alexis Carter testified that he taught Zimmerman about the law at Seminole State College.

"The prosecution can say to jurors, you can't believe him (Zimmerman)," Jack Ford said on CBS This Morning.

On NBC's Today, Lisa Bloom said Zimmerman appears to be caught in "an out-and-out lie" in the Hannity interview. "This is something the prosecution can argue in closing argument," Bloom said. "You know what, he was educated enough in the law of self-defense to concoct a story right at the time of this shooting and give it to the police and stick to that story that it was self-defense because he knew that could exonerate him."

On ABC's Good Morning America, Brooklyn prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi said the prosecution made progress with Carter's testimony and Zimmerman's statement on Hannity. "It goes toward why is he (Zimmerman) making those things up? Why is he embellishing?" Nicolazzi asked. "Maybe because he realizes, and I think that to be true, that he went too far."

The CNN analysts saw problems for the state with Carter's testimony.

"I'm a little shocked that the judge allowed this type of testimony to be admitted to begin with," Baez told Cooper. "I've never heard of a witness instructing the jury on the law. That's generally reserved for the judge to do." The defense scored "a grand slam" with this "dream witness," Baez said.

Mark Geragos, who has repeatedly slammed the state's performance, told Cooper: "What I don't understand is why didn't the prosecution object to this?"

Hostin agreed that the defense used Carter to instruct the jury a bit about "stand your ground" law. But she said "the biggest takeaway" from Carter's testimony was Zimmerman's lying about not knowingthe law.

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