PJ Media has a good summary of the Zimmerman trial so far.
Normally, prosecutors are careful to fully question each prosecution witness to obtain all of the evidence their testimony can produce. They do this so that the defense is not able to reveal previously undisclosed evidence, which tends to suggest prosecutorial concealment. But during the first week of this case, the prosecution established a pattern of asking only the bare minimum of their witnesses. In virtually every case, defense cross-examination reveals a great deal the prosecutors avoided bringing to light, and that information either fully supports George’s Zimmerman’s unchanging account, casts doubt on the “narrative” — which is actually the prosecution’s case — or both.
Pretty much every day’s report is the same. Almost every witness is seriously compromised, or contradicts known evidence, or supports Zimmerman, not the prosecution story. Often, they’ve been all 3.
This bizarre turn of events has caused the prosecutors, particularly Bernie de la Rionda, to engage in the spectacle of aggressively cross-examining their own witnesses, trying to get them to mischaracterize, ignore, disown, or soft-pedal their testimony.
There’s no way they can win this, outside of a jury refusing to go with the evidence.
Another and disturbing pattern established by prosecution witnesses is that of changing their testimony in significant and ethically questionable ways. A number of prosecution witnesses have testified to important changes in their prior testimony they never before mentioned — not in multiple law enforcement interviews or depositions. This directly suggests that they’ve not only been coached, but perhaps that the subornation of perjury is involved.
Not coached, “educated on what story the court needs to hear”.
Rachel Jeantel is the prosecution’s star witness. Long reported to be Martin’s girlfriend, she was reportedly on the phone with Martin much of the day he died, and until his attack on Zimmerman. Jeantel is therefore an “ear-witness.” Benjamin Crump of the Scheme Team trumpeted her testimony as proof-positive that Zimmerman murdered Martin in cold blood, and the prosecution relied on her statements in charging and pursuing the case against Zimmerman….
She lived down to expectations — she mumbled, resisted answering questions directly, made little sense, and was actively hostile, particularly to the defense. So outrageous was her behavior I expected her to be held in contempt, though Judge Nelson allowed the behavior and seemingly protected her. At the end of the day, when defense attorney Donald West mentioned that she would have to return the folowing day, she announced that she was not going to come back. When West told the judge her testimony the next day would take at least two hours, Jeantel said: “What?”
It seems the judge is going pretty easy on the prosecution, and their witnesses.
In a tragicomic, almost painful moment, West presented Jeantel with a handwritten letter she claimed to have written to Fulton that explained — very poorly — her part. This was another bit of evidence withheld from the defense for months. West asked her to read the letter, and she hesitated for an uncomfortably long time, finally admitting that she could not “read cursive.” West handled her kindly, but it was clear she not only did not write the letter — another lie — she couldn’t read it.
Jeantel also admitted she and Martin never dated, though she suggested otherwise in her interview with de la Rionda, and Crump suggested otherwise as well.
It’s never a good sign when the prosecution’s star witness can barly string together a sensible sentence.
The first week of the trial ended with the prosecution’s case exactly backwards. Rather than proving the elements of the offense and obliterating Zimmerman’s self-defense claim, even the prosecution’s star witness was an unmitigated disaster. The prosecution thus far has functioned almost entirely as an unpaid second defense team in a political case that should never have been brought.
Read the whole thing.
It looks like the state is now trying to argue that if you’re not badly beaten, then you can’t defend yourself with deadly force. Which is of course, absurd. The entire point of self-defense provisions in the law is for potential victims to avoid injury.
In fact, it’s hard to see the prosecution as anything but idiots. Patterico weighs in.
The coverage at Legal Insurrection is excellent; just click the link and scroll. Essentially, yesterday the prosecution let the defense ask a series of wholly improper questions of the investigating officer on the case, concerning whether he believed George Zimmerman (short answer: yes). Today, the prosecution asked for that testimony to be stricken, and the judge (who should have told the prosecution it was too late) ruled for the prosecution — and then REPLAYED ALL THE AUDIO OF THE OFFICER GIVING THAT OPINION before telling the jury to ignore it.
Thus taking damaging testimony and emphasizing it as strongly as possible.
The prosecution also played numerous self-serving statements by Zimmerman, so that he could get his entire story before the jury without having to be cross-examined. Apparently they did this for the purpose of exploiting supposed inconsistencies in the story — but, by all accounts, the different versions were on the whole remarkably consistent.
Also, today they put up an out of county coroner who didn’t actually conduct the autopsy to essentially deny seeing injuries on Zimmerman in photographs that the rest of the world can easily see.
I can’t find the story I was reading earlier today, but it seems that the coroner they got had some massive credibility issues anyway, even without sitting in the court and denying the existence of clearly visible injuries.
Update: Wait, found it.
After the video we were introduced to Medical Examiner Valerie Rao. Having previously obtained the Medical Examiner’s report and autopsy, something struck me as odd. That WAS the medical examiner’s name . . . wasn’t it? So I double checked. Wait a minute, the medical examiner who did the actual autopsy was Dr. Shiping Bao. Rao . . . Bao, close, but no cigar. Incidentally, if you’d like to see the actual autopsy report, you can find it here:
So, who was this Rao. It turns out she’s a medical examiner from the district that includes Jacksonville, which just happens to be the home city of this team of Prosecutors–including Angela Corey, Bernie de la Rionda, and the others–who was brought in at the Governor’s orders to displace the existing local team of prosecutors that had failed to bring a second degree murder charge against Zimmerman.
Still, just because the prosecutors were brought in from Jacksonville doesn’t mean the medical examiner needs to be. Indeed, the actual autopsy had been done months ago, within a day or two of the shooting, by the local Medical Examiner, Dr. Bao, presumably a perfectly competent forensic pathologist.
Was perhaps Dr. Rao, from Jacksonville even more competent than Dr. Bao?
A quick Google search disabused me of that notion. Indeed, not since the Frye hearing was an expert in the case perhaps as subject to questioning on such issues than Dr. Rao. Indeed, at her previous State appointment as medical examiner in a different part of the state, there were years of complaints about her unsanitary procedures, including such [STOP IF EATING DINNER] pleasantries as Dr. Rao washing her feet in the autopsy sink, using her bare hands during procedures, and even accusations of exposing doctors to deadly diseases. Ultimately she was removed from that position. ..
So what did she say?
And then O’Mara once again began the bloody photo parade, asking her about each and every contusion, abrasion, and laceration on and about Zimmerman’s head and face. At various times she would simply refuse to acknowledge an apparent bruise or swelling, at which point O’Mara would point clearly at the area that other medical experts had already testified were injuries and say, “You’re sure, you don’t see anything right there, that spot?” Whether she held firm or began to prevaricate, the lesson for the jury was clear–this Doctor could not or would not see what every other witness with medical knowledge, even witnesses possessing mere common sense, had already identified as areas of injury. At one point she was arguing, as BDLR had done the day before, that some of what O’Mara was identifying as bruises and swelling were merely natural variations and bumps in Zimmerman’s head.
O’Mara even asked her whether she understood that the extent of Zimmerman’s injuries had nothing to do with this case, a clever way to reinforce the jury’s existing knowledge of self-defense law that he had first established in his final voir dire.
When O’Mara finally relented and Prosecutor Guy came back on cross, the State once again fired up the “but his injuries weren’t life-threatening” line, and Dr. Rao agreed they were not.
But at least she actually supported the state’s case – sort of.
This observer was struck by the observation that this was the first State witness, other than the seriously questionable testimony of Rachel Jeantel, whose testimony clearly favored the interests of the State (although even here those “interests”–advancing the idea that Zimmerman’s injuries were minor–is of little actual relevance to the issues in dispute).
Yea, it’s not going well.