The state’s lawyers prosecuting George Zimmerman in Florida are having an awful, no good, indeed very bad, week.
They called “star witness” Rachel Jaentel to the stand. She was the woman who was on the phone with Travyon Martin when the altercation that resulted in his death began. Jaental couldn’t read a letter about that night that she supposedly wrote to Martin’s parents. She contradicted her own version of events. She called a question from the defense attorney “retarded,” using a politically-incorrect epithet. Speaking of epithets, she admitted under oath that Trayvon Martin described Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker,” a racial slur, then said that in her opinion “cracker” is not in fact a racial slur.
NBC News injected race into the killing and made it a national story shortly after it happened, by deceptively editing Zimmerman’s 9-11 call to make it sound like he targeted Martin because he was black. No word on whether the network plans to edit Jaental’s testimony to make Martin sound like he wasn’t a racist.
Today, two prosecution witnesses hurt the case for different reasons.
One of them may have lied on the stand about having been an Olympic-class marathon runner. If that pans out, her testimony is strongly suspect.
The prosecution called neighbor John Good to the stand. He testified that he saw the fight between Martin and Zimmerman, and that he saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, punching him mixed martial arts style. Good also testified that the scream heard on recordings of 9-11 calls that night must have come from Zimmerman, not Martin. Good’s testimony bolsters Zimmerman’s contention that the bigger and more athletic Martin attacked and was beating him, and that he shot Martin out of fear for his life.
As I write this, prosecution witness Joseph Manalo is testifying that immediately after the altercation, Zimmerman looked like he had been in a fight. It was Manalo who took the famous photo of the back of Zimmerman’s head after the fight, showing wounds and blood consistent with Zimmerman’s take on that night.
As the case has looked weaker, threats of riots if Zimmerman is not convicted have grown louder on Twitter. No word on whether NBC News ever plans to put the race genie that it deliberately freed in this case back into the bottle. Or even if it can.