Witness in Trayvon Martin Case Lied. Will It Even Go To Trial?
The key prosecution witness in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman has allegedly been caught in a significant lie:
Trayvon Martin's girlfriend, the state's most important witness in the George Zimmerman murder case, was caught in a lie, it was revealed Tuesday.
It was not the first piece of misinformation tied to her, but it was the most damaging to date and left prosecutors in a very awkward position.
They had to publicly acknowledge that their star witness had lied under oath and had to answer questions about what they intend to do about it.
Reporters asked: Will you charge the 19-year-old Miami woman with perjury?
The state's lead prosecutor, Bernie de la Rionda, gave an ambiguous answer: "You can all read the law and make your own decision."
The 19-year-old woman -- who had originally claimed to be just sixteen at the time of the shooting, when she was in fact two years older -- was caught in a second lie. She had told prosecutors that she was in the hospital during Trayvon Martin's funeral, a claim that investigators for the defense now claim is false.
The unidentified woman, also identified in court documents as "Witness 8," was the state's best "earwitness," having been on the phone with Trayvon Martin during the incident up until the point she claimed Martin initiated a confrontation with George Zimmerman. Shortly afterward, the phone went dead.
The physical evidence recovered in the case largely supports -- and at least as importantly, does not conflict with -- George Zimmerman's claim that Martin attacked him, knocked him down with a punch, and then beat his head against a concrete sidewalk. Zimmerman claims that he feared for his life at this point, drew his 9mm pistol, and fired the single shot that struck Trayvon Martin in the chest, killing him.
None of the witnesses at the condominium complex saw the beginning of the confrontation, and those that did see part of the confrontation tell seemingly contradictory stories -- some insisting Martin was on top, some claiming it was likely Zimmerman.
Witness 8's alleged perjury puts the state in the odd position of having to possibly charge their best witness in the case with the crime of lying under oath, significantly damaging her credibility.
This puts the state's case against Zimmerman in a particularly precarious position. Legal experts including high-profile Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz have claimed from the beginning that there was no evidence to support a second-degree murder charge in the case, and have even gone so far as to claim that the prosecution of Zimmerman was entirely political.
Social-justice activists such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were among those stirring the pot after the district attorney refused to bring charges against George Zimmerman. They raised both the profile of the case and inflamed African-American communities across Florida and across the nation, eventually creating the public furor that led Florida Governor Rick Scott to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the investigation.
Neither Jackson nor Sharpton has responded to a PJ Media request for comment on the developments surrounding Witness 8's alleged perjury and the viability of the overall case against George Zimmerman.
Jose Baez, the lead defense attorney in the high-profile Casey Anthony case, has lambasted the prosecution for the weakness of the case:
"I have never seen a high-profile case that is so weak as the Zimmerman case," Baez told Lauren Rowe on WKMG-Channel 6's "Flashpoint." The program aired Sunday morning.
Baez said he based his view on the evidence and not on his representing Chris Serino, the lead Sanford police investigator in the case. "I just think looking at the overall case, it's extremely weak," Baez said. "I had that opinion from very early on in the case."
Baez cited several reasons for his take on the Zimmerman evidence: The only eyewitness says that Martin was on top during the fight, and Zimmerman told law enforcement he was screaming for help during the fight, a point backed up by a 911 tape.
It remains to be seen if the state will continue the case against Zimmerman now that their best witness has severely damaged her credibility, and what the ramifications will be publicly and politically if the case is no longer tenable.