January 2014 - Pg 14-Book
Likewise, attorneys Mark O’Mara, Don West and the rest of the defense team’s use of the Internet to post case documents is yet another example of how much the Internet has changed what the public can learn about an ongoing felony trial. As testimony began, the Conservative Treehouse bloggers reviewed all the testimony to identify lies, whether told on the stand or incorporated into earlier sworn statements.
Perhaps the Internet groundswell balanced the scales a little, as Cashill explains, “Florida had on its side the State bureaucracies, the US Justice Department, the president of the United States, the BGI (black grievance industry) the entertainment industry, and the mainstream media. Zimmerman had on his side two folksy local lawyers and their aides, an army of bloggers, and most important, the truth.”
Cashill writes, “To prove second-degree murder, prosecutors had to convince the jury that Zimmerman killed Martin with a ‘depraved mind,’ one moved by ill will, hatred or spite.” Instead, Assistant State Attorney John Guy appealed to the all-female jury’s emotions in a dramatic opening statement of only a half-hour’s length in which he repeated inflammatory phrases from Zimmerman’s call to the police the night of the shooting, emphasizing vulgarities he uttered. West countered with a three-hour presentation, using photographs and maps to explain, “just how the attack took place.” Cashill even explains the reason behind West’s “knock-knock” joke, which puzzled many.
Part II of If I Had a Son details witness testimony and cross examination that shows just how sketchy the case evidence was. Cashill explains how the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, the young woman speaking with Martin by phone prior to the shooting, morphed from annoyingly suspect to simply pitiful. He explains how Conservative Treehouse bloggers strove for intellectual analysis during the girl’s testimony, expressing amazement that a 16 year old could be interviewed without parental permission, questioning her claim that some texts sent from her phone were written by someone else, and parsing the odd homophobic suggestions tossed around by the “creepy ass cracker” characterization of the man Martin said was following him.
By contrast, the only actual eye witness, Jonathan Good–the man who had his home’s outside light on and stepped outside to yell at Martin and Zimmerman to stop because he was calling police–clearly identified each man by clothing color.
He further testified, as he had during police interviews and earlier news interviews, that, “the guy on the bottom who I believe had a red sweater on was yelling to me, ‘Help, help.’” Another neighbor contributed to capturing the cries for help, when she called 9-1-1 and the screaming could be heard on the call’s recording. Eventually both prosecution and defense tried to claim the voice, although Zimmerman initially commented, “That doesn’t even sound like me.” Much was made of the recording, but little proven.
What was proven, and explained by forensic pathologist Dr. Vincent di Maio, was the position of the two men when the shot was fired. Neither eye witnesses nor the physical evidence could corroborate Zimmerman’s report of what went before the shooting, leaving the prosecution with a theory but no facts. Even in closing arguments, the assistant state attorney Bernie de la Rionda claimed without proof that Zimmerman’s account was lie after lie.
The forces behind prosecuting the death of Trayvon Martin as murder describe the world in terms of racial inequality. Their many manipulations of the criminal justice system are deeply disturbing and reading Cashill’s condemnation is difficult indeed. After the verdict, instead of condemning “sporadic parenting, indifferent schooling, and an inner-city culture that openly celebrated violence, drugs and lawlessness,” even prominent Democrats could only rail against gun rights, Stand Your Ground laws and racial profiling. These diatribes further separate America’s various races. In fact, Cashill points out that in 2008, 79 percent of whites and 63 percent of blacks “held a favorable view of race relations in America. By July 2013, those figures had fallen to 52 percent among whites and 38 percent among blacks, a calamitous decline rarely addressed and never explained.”
Beyond detailing George Zimmerman’s trial, Cashill’s commentary on the effects of racism in our nation alerts us to powerful forces intent on promoting their own agenda without regard for justice. With no solutions offered, this is not a cheerful book.
[End of Article.
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