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Friday, July 12, 2013
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Laura Ingraham
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Verdict Watch
Laura began Friday's show with the latest from the George Zimmerman murder trial, which is now in the hands of the six-woman jury. Judge Alex Ferrer provided his take on the defense's closing argument. "I thought Mark O'Mara made a lot of good points," Ferrer said, "and saying that he wishes there were a box that the jury could check off 'totally innocent' was good. O'Mara put up good evidence and a good argument for a not guilty verdict and, as a matter of law, I think the right verdict is not guilty. But there is that huge risk that the jury will say we want to compromise and find him guilty of manslaughter." Ferrer singled out O'Mara's dramatic decision to have four minutes of silence in the courtroom. "That was the amount of time Trayvon Martin had to get home if he was really afraid. The prosecution has made this about Martin being afraid of Zimmerman, but this pointed out that he had four minutes to get to his house, which was 'a football throw away' from where he was. Trayvon didn't want to go home, he wanted a confrontation." Ferrer also assessed the prosecution's description of George Zimmerman as a "strange man." "I think that played well," he said, "because this is an emotional case. When you have a 17-year-old boy who was unarmed and was killed, it tears at your heart strings. The prosecution is pounding the emotional side of this case."
The Case Against Zimmerman
Former Florida prosecutor Philip Snyder entered the No Spin Zone with his analysis of the prosecution's case. "The fact that the state allowed Mr. Zimmerman to enter a statement without being forced to take the stand," he opined, "was a colossal error. But if emotion is the one key factor that the jury weighs, there could be the possibility of a manslaughter conviction. The jurors don't realize the ramifications of a manslaughter conviction, which could bring 10 to 30 years." Defense attorney Michelle Suskauer was far more critical of the state's case. "The prosecution tried, but there were things they could have done much better. And their closing argument Thursday was all over the place and offensive and over the top. There was also a lack of witness preparation. It's been all downhill from the time they filed charges." Laura decried the emphasis on "emotion," saying, "That's not the way the criminal justice is supposed to operate, we're supposed to judge cases based on the facts."
The White house & Trayvon
In March of last year President Obama famously said, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." Laura asked Judge Jeanine Pirro to gauge the political ramifications of the trial. "So many people have tried to make this about race," Pirro lamented, "and what's really stunning is that Jay Carney now says the President isn't watching this case. This is the same President who heard about 'Fast and Furious' by watching the news and heard about the IRS targeting conservative groups by watching the news. He got involved in a local case that he had absolutely no involvement in because of the race issue when he was in the middle of a contentious campaign." Pirro agreed with many legal experts that Zimmerman should not have been charged with second-degree murder. "The prosecution did not prove that race was an issue, they did not prove murder in the second degree. The bigger question is whether the prosecutor succumbed to political incitement to over-indict in this case."
Flashback Interview with Trayvon's Mother
Laura introduced Bill's April interview with Trayvon Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton, who affirmed her faith in the judicial system. "We've wanted to have peaceful rallies and protests," she said, "and we're not supporting any violence or anything like that. I believe in the judicial system and I believe George Zimmerman can get a fair trial." Attorney Benjamin Crump, representing the Martin family, argued that the protests served their purpose. "The rallies and demonstrations were just to get him arrested and we feel that had that not happened, they were never going to arrest Zimmerman. This shouldn't be a racial issue, it should really be about justice." Bill lauded Ms. Fulton for showing grace despite losing her son: "You and Trayvon's father have been magnificent, you've called for restraint. But others have whipped up emotion and I think Al Sharpton should apologize for some of the things he said."
Race in the Zimmerman Trial
Florida authorities have urged residents to keep their cool if George Zimmerman is acquitted. Laura asked conservative Chris Metzler and liberal Rich Benjamin whether that concern is merited and appropriate. "It was quite patronizing," Benjamin complained, "and it's the same mentality that views black people as a menace. The tone of this was saying, 'Watch out, everybody, you'd better behave yourself.' It was patronizing and that's what people are responding against." Metzler disagreed, saying that law enforcement is doing the right thing by warning against violence. "Black ministers in the area are also calling for calm, so I guess they're racist as well. Law enforcement exists to enforce the law, and they said we won't tolerate violence from anyone! This is what police are supposed to do, which is to take actions that protect the entire community. The notion that doing that makes them 'racist' defies logic."
It's All up to the Jury
Laura welcomed Alan Tuerkheimer and JoEllen Dimitrius, both of whom specialize in jury selection. Tuerkheimer opined on the fact that the jury consists of six women and no men. "I think women might be a little tougher on George Zimmerman," he said, "for not following the police dispatcher's order to cease and desist. Men have a higher level of 'fight or flight,' so I think that might help the prosecution. But I don't really think gender will have a huge impact." Dimitrius added that it is impossible to predict whether the jury will deliberate for hours, days or weeks. "There have been a lot of predictions about how long this jury will take, and I want to point out that this jury has been sequestered for 15 days. They are in a state of suspended animation, they don't even get to read newspapers until all news of the trial has been cut out."
"Star Witness" Testimony
As part of his closing argument, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda defended his "star witness" Rachel Jeantel by paraphrasing Martin Luther King Jr. Geraldo Rivera wrapped up Friday's show with his analysis of the case's racial overtones. "I still think this is a race case," he said, "where both the victim and the killer profiled each other. Rachel Jeantel testified that Trayvon Martin called Zimmerman a 'creepy-ass cracker,' and clearly Zimmerman looked at Martin and said he's another one of these 'f-ing punks.' They racially profiled each other and there would not have been an arrest without the intervention of civil rights activists. Most white people believe Zimmerman was justified and most black people believe Trayvon Martin was victimized." Rivera concluded, "If the jury follows the law, George Zimmerman will be acquitted."
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