George Zimmerman on Hannity, Thread II
Thanks to Big Tent Democrat for putting up a thread on George Zimmerman's interview on Sean Hannity's show tonight. I just got back to Denver and am watching now. (I missed the beginning.)
I listened to his jail calls for all 7 hours of the drive back from Telluride -- I didn't finish. But, listening in sequence for so many hours, I got a sense of his personality (as well as that of Shellie, his sister Grace aka Susie, his mother (who talked in Spanish), Ken, and some male cousins.)
I think he was genuine on Hannity. Some highlights below: [More...]
- He didn’t realize Trayvon had been hit by his bullet. He didn't find out he was dead until an hour after he arrived at the police station.
- He wouldn’t do anything different with respect to what happened after the shooting -- his not asking for an attorney, his cooperation with police, his taking the voice stress test, etc. While he wouldn't have done anything different as to the events with Trayvon that night (he rejects that he should have stayed in the car), he is sorry that Trayvon was killed. He wishes there was something that would have resulted in his not having to take Trayvon's life.
- He wasn't following Trayvon. He was walking from where he parked his car to Retreat View Circle so he could get a number with the street to give police.
- He's not a racist.
- He prays for Trayvon's parents daily (his phone calls at jail are filled with religion, so this is also in character with his personality.)
- Sean Hannity did not offer to pay his attorney fees. Hannity has offered him nothing for the interview.
- His father had recently had a heart attack (two weeks before something, I'm not sure if it was the shooting or something later.)
- If he did something wrong, he’d apologize. He didn't do anything wrong.
- The FBI cleared him of racism.
- O'Mara: No evidence of second degree murder.
Stand your ground applies to this case.
- On the bond money: O'Mara won't let him answer because Shellie has been charged with a crime and there have been suggestions that George could be charged with a crime for it.
- O'Mara doesn't let him respond to Witness 9's allegations -- not worth the time and effort and they won't see the light of day in court. The only thing George said about it was that she never said he was racist or that he said anything racist or that he was even in the room when she claimed someone else said anything racist.)
- He believes the media owes him an apology.
- English is his second language. His mother and grandmother raised him to speak Spanish. His father was gone in the military during much of his very early years. (In the jail calls, he speaks in Spanish with his mother and at least one cousin, it's obviously a language he's fluent in and very comfortable with.)
- At the end, he looked into the camera and apologized to his wife, parents, grandmother, and Trayvon's parents.
Hannity asked him direct factual questions about the shooting. He didn't get flustered, and his answers were consistent with his statements to police. (No one should expect the answers to be identical, so nit-picking minor inconsistencies is a waste of time as far as I'm concerned -- only those who are convinced of his guilt would even bother.)
People who are not familiar with his understated, almost monotone personality, may not find him forceful enough in his insistence he's innocent. Again, if you listen to all of his jail calls (not just one or two), he sounds the same in the calls as he does in the interview. He's a very low-key person, he speaks slowly, he doesn't get frustrated easily or fly off the handle (ever it seems), and most of all, he's very religious. He says in the jail calls it was "G-d's plan" for him to end up with O'Mara. So it's not surprising to me he says in the interview the ordeal he's going through now must be "G-d's plan."
I missed the first 15 minutes of the interview, so I will update after I've watched the re-run in a few hours.
The bottom line to me: He said nothing that helps the state's case or provides impeachment fodder. And there will be a Stand Your Ground argument as well as general self-defense.
Most lawyers would not subject a client who is facing murder charges to a national interview. That O'Mara allowed it, and was present for it, suggests that both are comfortable with his version of events. Now it's up to the state to disprove his version, beyond a reasonable doubt.
I would imagine many of the witnesses -- both police and neighbors who heard or saw some of the events-- will see this interview. I have no idea whether the interview will affect their perceptions.
As to potential jurors and the public, while the interview may not convince anyone he's innocent, it could go a long way towards leveling the playing field, and reducing the presumption of guilt created by the media and Martin family representatives. That would be a good thing.
Update: A transcript is available here.
Update: A lot of people are asking why Zimmerman did this interview. I have no idea. But I think it's interesting that Zimmerman's friends and family (as opposed to his legal team) have resurrected his website, The Real George Zimmerman.com. On the "about" page, it states the goals of his legal team's website and says that site has fallen short in some respects. It intends to take up the slack.
I can't imagine O'Mara is happy about the relaunch of this website. He needs to be in control of the message. Zimmerman should let his lawyer, not his family, speak for him while he has criminal charges pending.
Is the Zimmerman family at odds with O'Mara's defense stategy? (Remember when they used Mark NeJame to get their point of view out? O'Mara was concerned even before then that Zimmerman's family might provide "exclusives" to the media.) Was the interview with Hannity the family's (including brother-in-law's) idea? Did O'Mara counsel against it but go along? I have no idea, but if so, it seems to me that at some point, O'Mara is is going to put his foot down and insist on being the sole mouthpiece for Zimmerman, or ask to get out of the case.
Part 2 of the Hannity interview airs tomorrow night.
Update: The state has filed a notice that it will seek to introduce Zimmerman's statements made during the interview.
Update: This thread is closed as it has reached 200 comments. You can continue the discussion at our forums.
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