FLORIDA, June 27, 2013 — Prosecutors embarked on a rocky road yesterday in their quest to prove neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman guilty of second-degree murder.
In February of last year, unarmed seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by Zimmerman, who claims that this was done in self-defense. Since then, Martin’s history of truancy, firearms-related issues, and handling marijuana — among other things — has come to light.
After a special prosecutor was commissioned, Zimmerman was charged and is now standing trial.
Evidence suggests that Zimmerman suffered head injuries the night Martin died, though exactly how and why remains a mystery. What is certain, however, is that the shooting’s aftermath has been highly polarizing. It has also drawn considerable attention to the oft-overlooked central Florida port city of Sanford, where the shooting took place.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Rachel Jeantel — who is supposedly “the state’s star witness” — had a difficult time on the stand. She was in a telephone conversation with Martin until the moments leading up to his death.
Journalists Renee Stutzman and Jeff Weiner write that she testified to Martin calling the man following him a “crazy-ass cracker”. Martin eventually moved so close to the man that Jeantel was able to discern the man ask, “What are you doing around here?”
She then “heard a “bump,” followed by something she described as “grass sound.” [Following this, Martin] said, “Get off. Get off,” then the phone went dead”.
Stutzman and Weiner go on to note that “Jeantel’s account … was nearly lost amid the problems and spectacle she created. She used street slang, was sometimes defiant and talked so fast and so softly that it was often impossible to make out her words.
“The court reporter interrupted her a dozen times, asking her to repeat herself. Jurors interrupted, too, although not as often, and stopped when Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson told them, “You can’t ask questions. If you can’t understand, just raise your hand.”
At The Conservative Tree House, a popular right-leaning blog which features very detailed coverage of the Zimmerman trial, something else was discussed.
It pertains to Benjamin Crump, who serves as counsel to Trayvon Martin’s parents. Since the shooting occurred, Crump has taken a highly public role. TCTH reports that he is “an identified, albeit unlisted, material witness in the case against George Zimmerman” due to “his specific and intentional engagement of Witness #8 … and her subsequent presentation to the State of Florida.”
Witness #8 is also known as Dee Dee, but her actual name is none other than Rachel Jeantel.
Sundance, the blogger behind the report, writes that Nelson has given Crump “special status, as co-counsel of sorts, for the prosecution” as she “ruled he was not subject to deposition by the defense”.
In order to avoid this deposition, Crump is said to have “provided the court with an affidavit affirming the recording he gave to the Zimmerman defense team was the full original copy of the audio recordings he made”.
Sundance says that Crump “lied” in the affidavit and “painstakingly prepped the witness, rehearsed the parts he wanted to record, gave her instructions on what to say….and intentionally cut out his instructions and interjections.”
Crump has yet to respond to these very serious allegations.
Whatever that response might be — if it is ever made, of course — Sundance holds that “what’s factually evident is the ABC recording shows Ben Crump’s affidavit to be false in its content and presentation.”
Indeed, the more one learns about the Trayvon Martin shooting’s aftermath, the less one seems to understand.
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