Well, today is no better.
It has become common knowledge that Jeantel has perpetrated a number of lies on this case, both under oath and otherwise, and West made certain to touch on each of these, albeit with a relatively light hand. She lied about her age–she was 18-years-old not 16-years-old at the time, she lied about why she did not attend Martin’s funeral or wake, she lied about her name to Martin’s mother and others, and so on.
For many of these lies she offered a relatively innocuous excuse–she didn’t go the funeral because she doesn’t like to see dead bodies, for example. But the sheer number and variety of them cast Jeantel as someone who was perfectly comfortable creating a fabrication if it served her convenience or purposes.
Basically, the state has put up a key witness that has not one shred of credibility.
On April 2, however, Jeantel had a an interview under oath with Mr. de la Rionda, in which her story changed considerably. Here, for the first time, she recounted Zimmerman’s response as being quite aggressive, and much more in line with the State’s theory of the case that Zimmerman had “profiled,” “followed,” and murdered Martin.
How did this happen?
nstead, Jeantel was picked up at a friends house by a two-car caravan consisting of de la Rionda, a State prosecutor’s office investigator, Sabrina Fulton, and Crump (this last in allegedly the alternative vehicle to the car in which Jeantel was riding).
They travelled together in this way to sit in the living room of the home of Sabrina Fulton, the very home in which Trayvon Martin had lived until his mother had recently sent the troubled and troublesome youth to go live with his father.
Present for the taking of that statement was de la Rionda, of course, and one or two FDLE personnel. Also present was Crump and some other family lawyers/advisors. Martin’s father was not present in the room, but was apparently present somewhere in the home.
And, sitting directly next to Jeantel was Martin’s mother, Sabrina Fulton, with tears in her eyes. A more coercive environment for the taking of of a witnesses statement is hard to imagine.
I’m no big city lawyer, but you have to wonder if some of these guys are going to keep their jobs after stunts like that.
Next witness was no better.
On direct examination by de la Rionda, all of Lauer’s testimony was completely consistent with the defense’s theory of lawful self-defense, and to some degree even contrary to some of the State’s theory (for example, Lauer recounted that there was “pretty steady-paced rain,” when the State has consistently sought testimony that the rain was light or intermittent).
Then comes the bombshell. See, it turns out she knew Zimmerman. The police asked her to identify him on the night, but she didn’t want to come face to face with someone who’d just shot someone (perfectly understandable).
So the took a photo and showed it to her.
Shockingly, she was unable to identify Zimmerman, because of the severity of his injuries. This powerful testimony obviously strongly supported the defense’s theory of the case that Zimmerman had been the subject of a brutal aggravated assault by Martin, against which he had necessarily used deadly force in self-defense. With that statement Lauer had struck a heavy blow against the State’s theory of the case, of an innocent young black boy ruthless murdered, and in favor of the theory of the defense.
And is Zimmerman the sort of guy portrayed in the media? No.
O’Mara then asked a few questions that will undoubtedly–if incorrectly–become great overnight fodder for the legal pundits. He asked Lauer if in her personal interactions with Zimmerman he had acted appropriately. Yes, she answered. Did he appear to be a hot head? No. A wannabe vigilante? No. Did he seem to be a well-intentioned neighbor trying to help his community? Yes.
Remember this is someone the state is putting on the stand.
Finally, the last witness of the day:
Here again the State had a witness who on direct provided testimony that was 100% consistent with the defense’s theory of lawful self-defense. The State spent considerable time having her testify to the effect that “the person who got up was the person who had been on top” when the two people were on the ground.
Zimmerman has always maintain, since his first written statement to the police the night of the shooting, that after firing his single round he had positioned himself above Martin’s prone body to keep Martin’s arms away from his body and prevent a renewal by Martin of his attack (at the time Zimmerman could not, of course, know the full extent of Martin’s injuries).
This case is a disaster, an absolute disaster. But the media isn’t reporting half this stuff.
But here’s the key: Obama and the Democrats would actually prefer an acquittal here. That’s because the whole point of the ginned-up Zimmerman affair was to inflame racial sentiment to boost black turnout in 2012. With any luck, they can turn an acquittal into another racial rallying cry, which will help in 2014. It’s not about Zimmerman; he’s just one of those eggs you have to break to make an Obama omelet.
UPDATE: Reader Bill Lux writes: “If their goal is prepping the battlefield then they might get their wish. The mainstream coverage of the trial is so abysmal that I don’t think casual observers realize what a farce this is and how weak the State’s case is (Andrew Branca’s tweeting has been indispensable). If there’s an acquittal, many people will be outraged because they’re so ill-informed.” That’s not by accident.
A cynical view, but without good reporting on this, it’s hard see how this will not end in acquittal – and riots.