Zimmerman Closing Arguments: Detailing What the Mob Ignores
He was again misrepresenting evidence. Zimmerman did not testify that Martin was always in that position, quite the opposite, and the fact that he was able to draw the gun -- and the forensic evidence fully supports his account -- negates de la Rionda’s assertion.
Just as the prosecution was not able to produce any evidence to prove the elements of the crime in the charging affidavit or to produce any evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s self-defense claim at the beginning of the case, they failed to do either in the closing as well.
The prosecution theory of this case remained the narrative, which is nothing more than leftist, racist philosophy about how things ought to be rather than a coherent code of law or social conventions. Trayvon Martin is innocent, childlike, helpless, and a victim because he’s black and was wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles, and that is all that should be necessary to convict a “white-Hispanic” of murder, because racial grievance-mongers anticipating an enormous payday and political advantage say so.
A detailed account of de la Rionda’s closing is available here.
The defense closing argument:
The defense closing ran a bit over three hours. It was a model of decorum, effective tone, organization, adherence to the law, and honest and precise analysis and presentation of the evidence. Mark O’Mara led the jury through a comprehensive tour of the evidence, just as a highly competent prosecutor normally does in a normal case. But this is the bizarro case, the backwards case, and de la Rionda had already delivered the B-movie defense closing.
O’Mara, speaking in a calm, measured voice, never screaming at the jury, explained that the prosecution’s closing was full of “what if,” and “could have been” -- which have no place in the courtroom -- and asked the jury to make assumptions and to rely on “common sense.” Whereas he asked the jury to rely on the law and the evidence.
He further told the jury that rather than prove reasonable doubt, he would prove that Zimmerman was absolutely innocent.
-- Ill will, spite, and hatred: O’Mara ridiculed de la Rionda’s obsessive recitation of these accusations, rightly noting this was nearly all he said, and de la Rionda produced no actual evidence in support of these claims. O’Mara often challenged the prosecution to rebut him; they never did.
-- The phone call: O’Mara asked what Zimmerman did when he saw Martin. Did he immediately chase him, draw his gun, and shoot him? No, he immediately called the non-emergency police line.
Zimmerman knew he was being recorded, O’Mara said. He acknowledged that Zimmerman used a few obscenities toward criminals, perhaps even including Martin because he matched the descriptions of the criminals plaguing the neighborhood.
He pointed out that Zimmerman provided Martin’s race only after being asked. This fact is of primary importance to the case, and was deliberately excluded in NBC’s reporting last year, which helped fire up the protesters. O’Mara has already initiated a suit against NBC since the verdict was announced.
O’Mara said that the jury should remember that it was de la Rionda and prosecutor John Guy who screamed obscenities -- not Zimmerman. He noted de la Rionda wanted the jury to think Zimmerman guilty because he spoke a few obscenities under his breath on a recorded call to the police. O’Mara asserted that was evidence of innocence, and surely not of ill will or hatred. O’Mara told them there had been enough swearing, and that he would not do it again. He sharply stung the prosecution by saying that he had a tape of the prosecution screaming obscenities, but decided not to play it.
He encouraged the jury to compare their obscene screams with what Zimmerman actually said and how he said it.
-- The “T”: O’Mara asked if there was any evidence that Zimmerman ran anywhere or ran after Martin after Zimmerman told the dispatcher “OK,” or even that he walked anywhere after Martin. There was not, and O’Mara again challenged the state to show that. They did not. O’Mara recited the credible witnesses, who in support of Zimmerman’s account, placed the beginning of the action at the “T” in the sidewalks.
-- The four-minute gap: O’Mara produced a brilliant bit of courtroom theater, reminding the jury that Jeantel said that Martin was running for home. He gave the jury four minutes of silence to make the point. It seemed a very long time. After the time elapsed, he said: “That’s how long he had to run, about four minutes.”
The point: Martin had far more than enough time to be indoors and gone, but he chose otherwise.
O’Mara paused before a brief recess by asking if the prosecution showed the jury what Martin was doing for four minutes before the fight began at the “T”. Of course, they did not, a point the jury took with them as they left.
After the break, O’Mara told the jury they have to think about what Martin was doing for those four minutes. He said the first man ran a four-minute mile when he was about 12, and the distance Martin had to cover was only about the distance one could throw a football. He told the jury that they knew Martin had the opportunity to go home, but he didn’t.
“Somebody decided they were angry,” he observed. “It wasn’t over with the running; it only just began.”
O’Mara said it wasn’t about a cop wannabe or “stand your ground.” Martin didn’t go home when he had the chance. He laid in wait. O’Mara asked the jury to use their common sense.
-- O’Mara made the point that Zimmerman gave the police six voluntary statements without the benefit of counsel. He emphatically asked the jury : “Tell the state: don’t ever come back before us with a case like this. Don’t ever do this to us.”
-- Witness photos: O’Mara then began a PowerPoint series of photos of every witness that testified, along with brief text either explaining how their testimony supported Zimmerman’s account -- most of the slides -- or why they lacked credibility. Most of those slides were actually prosecution witnesses, whose testimony either fully supported Zimmerman’s account or who managed to destroy their own credibility.
O’Mara treated all of the witnesses gently, particularly Rachel Jeantel, saying that she didn’t want to be involved at all. He suggested -- admitting it was conjecture -- that it was her mother that wanted her to write a letter to Sybrina Fulton, but Rachel didn’t want to do that.
He pointed out that virtually no one can remember the specific contents of a phone call made long ago, saying: “Oh yeah, you want that too … ” just as Jeantel did in the interview with de la Rionda, a comment suggesting that her testimony had been coached.
O’Mara said: “Some of her frailties came out on TV and in the courtroom which she never wanted to come out.” He then took off the kid gloves, noting that her interviews were badly handled by attorneys, saying it was “horribly inappropriate” not to get her immediately to law enforcement (Benjamin Crump’s fault), and also to place her on a couch right next to Martin’s mother (de la Rionda’s fault). O’Mara did not specifically identify them.