tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN July 10, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
to allow jurors to consider lesser charges. the defense objected, seeking an all or nothing choice for jurors, who could get the case by friday afternoon. mark o'mara spoke today, saying the jury has what it needs to acquit in his opinion. he joins us exclusively tonight. we'll talk with one of the martin family attorneys and our legal panel. let's get you up to date. martin savidge begins our coverage. >> reporter: it's been the question dominate thing entire trial. would george zimmerman take the stand? and today judge nelson asked him directly. >> have you made a decision?
>> yes, your honor. >> what is your decision, sir? >> after consulting with counsel, not to testify, your honor. >> is it your decision not to testify in this case? >> yes, your honor. >> are you making that decision freely and voluntarily? >> yes, your honor. >> reporter: and with that, the defense rested. >> with all that in mind, the defense would rest. >> reporter: much of the day was spent on a witness saying zimmerman was nonconfrontational. but it was a dummy that proved to be one of the strongest witnesses of the day. it begin when the prosecutor grabbed a mannequin to show their version of events. >> do you recognize this as being a human-type figure, right? >> yes, sir. >> okay. >> reporter: it was here the state seemed to concede trayvon martin could have been on top of
george zimmerman. suggesting he was pulling away at the time he was shot. previously the prosecution argued zimmerman was on top. >> would it be consistent the 90 degrees if trayvon martin had been backing up and the defendant raised his gun. >> reporter: the demonstration brought jurors to their feet to get a better view, realizing the impact that the defense attorney seized the prop for his own demonstration. >> were the injuries on mr. zimmerman's head consistent with someone doing this on cement? >> reporter: the defense concluded by calling two emotional witnesses. the first a young mother who described a home invasion in the same neighborhood where the shooting happened. when she had to lock herself in her infant son's room. >> i was locked in my son's bedroom and he was shaking the doorknob trying to get in. i was there with a pair of rusty scissors and my son in one arm. >> reporter: she was not only a character witness for the defense, but her testimony paint ed a picture of a neighborhood
on alert. then came zimmerman's father who answered what has became a mantra for the defense and the prosecution. whose voice was screaming for help the night martin died? >> absolutely. it's my son, george. >> reporter: and in a move many court watchers anticipated, the prosecution asked the judge for lesser charges to be included. manslaughter, and aggravated assault. the judge will make that decision thursday. and whether stand your ground will be included in the jury instructions. closing arguments are expected tomorrow, as well. martin savidge, cnn, sanford, florida. >> a lot going on today. the question of lesser charges and the decision which one of our panels lost his hat on. let's bring them all in. sunny hostin and jeffrey toobin, danny savalos and mark geragos. you do not have to eat your hat, mark, because he did not take the stand. i didn't see you putting any money on this, mark. >> i tried to put out there.
i said 50-1 odds. i gave 100-1 odds. >> how significant, mark, do you think it was, the prosecution brought out the dummy to exhibit. they essentially seemed to change their story. they seemed to kind of acknowledge, okay, well, they came up with a theory in case the jury did believe trayvon martin was on top. that's not what they argued when they started this trial. >> no, in fact, mcdreamy, the prosecutor as my friend sunny
because the jury has heard his side of the story from him, but they haven't had a real cross-examination of him. >> sunny, what stood out to you today in court? watching them work with that dummy, that model, it was interesting and wondering how it played in the courtroom? >> it played well in the courtroom. jurors love demonstrations. they love these courtroom demonstrations and it was powerful, especially with john guy using it. a lot of the courtroom watchers are calling him prosecutor mcdreamy. half of the jury stood up and looked over the well to sew what he was doing. i think it went over extremely well. this witness was not a good witness for the defense. i'm not quite sure why they called him. they didn't really need to call this sort of pseudo use of force expert. and the prosecution did a really good job of taking what was a defense witness and then turning him into a prosecution witness
by doing this in-courtroom demonstration. it was pretty effective. >> danny, do you think it was effective for the prosecution? >> you have to balance the risk and reward of calling every witness. he was testifying what police officers call continue continuance of force. so you have to ask what was the potential benefit? the down side is the prosecution had the opportunity to cross examine this expert and inquire about things that may not have been appropriate uses of force. so there is a risk and reward. i can stay critics saying this may have been a bad witness for the defense, but the defense made it clear they're going to meet all evidence head on with their own evidence. they're not going to leave anything to silence. i admire that approach. we can debate over whether it was a good or bad call, but ultimately, they've been consistent and you have to respect that. >> jeff, martin savidge walls saying that the prosecution is
now acknowledging well, maybe george zimmerman was the one on the ground, but trayvon martin could have been pulling away. was that -- are they now changing their story? >> i think they have to. the evidence in this case is pretty much undisputed that trayvon martin was on top. i think that's a big problem for the prosecution, because ultimately the issue here is who was the aggressor? you can say okay, perhaps george zimmerman threw the first punch. but it's pretty tough to argue that a guy who is under someone else is the aggressor. now, of course the question remains, wait it a legitimate use of force to shoot the person on top? it's a very helpful fact for the prosecution that the evidence is trayvon martin was on top. >> you mean helpful for the defense? >> yes, for the defense. >> mark, is it a big problem for the prosecution that now all of
a sudden today on their final day they say oh, well, maybe he was on top? >> i think it's a huge problem. in spite of having prosecutor mcdreamy tell you exactly the opposite in his opening statement, and then come back and now get on top and demonstrate that maybe he was going back, i'm going to reiterate what i said yesterday. when this case has completely inverted, the burden of proof and what normally happens in a case, when he says isn't it possible or isn't it consistent that he was pulling away, he's admitting that it's just as consistent or reasonable that he wasn't. that's the definition of reasonable doubt. the prosecutor just sat there and demonstrated for the jury, well, you can believe what i just did or you can believe what the defense did. both are reasonable interpretations. if there's two reasonable interpretations, you must find for the defendant and find him not guilty.
so i'm completely perplexed as to what they're going to argue after they kind of have taken this twofold approach. >> sunny, aren't they saying we don't know what happened? >> no, i don't -- >> they're saying it could have been this or that. >> i don't think so. i think they were smart to give these alternate scenarios to these witnesses, asking what if trayvon martin was on top, but leaping back, trying to get away and george zimmerman was then more aggressive, didn't exhaust all reasonable means to get away. that doesn't necessarily mean you're conceding that trayvon martin was on top, because remember, there are two witnesses saying they saw george zimmerman on top. >> the prosecution has now admitted we don't really know what happened, so here are a bunch of alternatives. let's see what sticks. >> what the prosecution is going to argue is we know that what
george zimmerman says happened didn't happen. so you've got to now look at all of the other evidence, because you've got to discount what he says happened. >> except, sunny, what they've done, what they've done is they've conceded over the course of the trial that what zimmerman staid happened is more likely than what they first staid happened. >> i don't think so. >> if they've been educated during the course of the trial. >> i disagree with that. >> it is different than what they started out saying. >> the prosecution has said, zimmerman was on top. now they're saying if you don't believe us, that zimmerman was on top, here's a viable theory where trayvon martin is on top. and then following almost immediately after, mark o'mara as on to that with his own demonstration, which was a brilliant piece of improv.
they probably had no idea where that was going and mark o'mara took a calculated risk and i think it worked out. but alternate theories, it's so fascinating that we have an alternate theory from the prosecution themselves. they have two mutually exclusive theories and to echo mark geragos, ultimately the jury is going to be told if you have two perfectly reasonable alternate theories, if it's 50-50 coming from both the prosecution, then you must, not may, you must acquit. >> wow. everyone -- go ahead. >> it doesn't have to be 50-50. if it's reasonable, it doesn't have to be as reasonable. if it's reasonable, you must acquit. >> everyone, stay there. coming up next, we've been talking about mark o'mara. he joins us. we'll ask why his client did not testify and why he wants the jury to only consider the maximum charge of second degree murder. and martin family attorney darrell parks is joining us. i'll get his take on the day in court and the job he believes the prosecutors have been following. follow me on twitter and let us know what you're thinking.
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welcome back. long before the trial, marks o'mara was fighting for george zimmerman and he kept george zimmerman off the stand. me hush -- pushed for an all or nothing second degree charge. a big day for mach who i spoke with just a short time ago. mark, there seems to be confusion earlier in the afternoon when the judge asked mr. zimmerman whether he would testify or not. he said he needed more time to decide. what finally made him decide not to? i assume for most of this trial, you've known he's not going to testify. >> actually, that's not true.
he was really considering testifying. he wanted to tell the jury what he did, why he did it and what he was facing when he made that decision to fire the shot. i think the confusion was more of semantics than substance, though. whenever that decision is made, it's always with consultation with counsel and george wanted to include that information. so that was a little bit of confusion but really without a point. >> what convinced him not to do it? i assume your advice was not to do it. >> yeah. the way i look at it, i have to convince myself if the state has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt before i would consider putting any client on the stand. i just don't think that they presented it, so there was no reason to put him on the stand, realizing he's already given convince myself if the state has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt before i would consider putting any client on the stand. i just don't think that they presented it, so there was no reason to put him on the stand, realizing he's already given five or six statements that the jury can consider. >> the state has asked for
manslaughter and aggravated assault be included in the charges. in addition to second degree murder. a lot of analysts expected that to happen. why do you feel that's legally inappropriate? >> well, i don't think that the facts of the case support a manslaughter charge. i think the facts of this case support nothing but self-defense. if the jury thinks he acted in ill will, spate and hatred, they should convict-of second degree murder. i don't think they're going to. if that's the theory of the state's case, manslaughter doesn't fit the facts of this case and i don't want this jury to have what they think is a compromised verdict. they should look at the facts, look at the law, apply him and acquit him. >> what a lot of people watching this don't realize is aggravated assault carries the potential of life in prison because of the florida gun statute, the same as second degree murder, correct? >> potentially. certainly the manslaughter charge is very serious, as well. >> the judge said you could not introduce your 3-d reenactment of the night trayvon martin died
as evidence. you can use it in your closing statement. is that the best case scenario, you get to get that in the juror's mind. the prosecution doesn't get to attack it on cross-examination. >> perfect answer, because yes, that's true. i don't believe that the animation needed to be in evidence for me to get it before the jury. i would have liked to have had it there, but i understand the court's ruling. but it is there for me to show the jury what probably happened that night. which is what that animation shows. >> you said you didn't introduce the thc levels found in trayvon martin's blood because the levels were so minimal. you've known how low the levels were all along. why did you fight so hard to have it admitted? >> i think that should have been our decision rather than the court's decision. i think when we have relevant and admissible evidence, it should be allowed in. then we make the decision based on our strategy. i don't think the court should have attempted to preempt us,
and in the end she didn't. keeping in mind the substance of the evidence itself, how it may persuade the jury and also keeping in mind the sensitivities that we have had throughout this trial and pretrial concerning trayvon martin's family and the sensitivities of what they're going through right now. so the decision was made. it wasn't going to be probative enough for us to have to deal with the concerns surrounding it. >> how surprised were you that the judge didn't allow some of those text messages in? >> well, i respect the court's ruling. i was surprised because i think they relayed a proper evidentiary foundation. i think sit completely relevant, particularly when the statue says the jury is to consider the physical abilities of both parties. they have information concerning george zimmerman's abilities. i think they should have evidence of trayvon martin's sensibilities or abilities
physically. we respect the judge's ruling. we'll move forward from here. >> i want to play a little bit just for you viewers from yesterday. it happened late in the evening in that marathon session where co-counsel don west was saying the state has lied at times and been slow to give over evidence. and information, not given over some evidence. let's play that. >> it's simply unfair for mr. zimmerman not to be able to put on his defense because of the state's tactics. it was a strategy, because they had it in january, and kept it from us. made us spend 10, 20, 100 hours digging it out. playing games with us. lying to this court, and now it's our fault? >> a, how extensive -- if you agree with him that the state has lied, how extensive do you think the lies are? and are there other points of contention with how the state handled the case? >> i've complained here a few times about the discovery problems i've had.
this is a case where i filed not one, but six motions for sanctions against the state for discovery violations. in 30 years of practice, i've never filed a sanction violation request with the court. this particular case, what frustrated mr. west so much is we now know with evidence from the state attorney's office that they had evidence of these reports that were generated in the third week of january, 2013. we didn't receive the information until june 4. that type of discovery violation is significant, and it negatively impacted our way to get prepared for the trial. i can understand with and agree with mr. west's frustration. we should not have to try this case by ambush. >> the closing arguments start tomorrow. you give yours on friday. for you, what's the most important thing you need to convey to the jury? have you already mapped out your closing argument? >> the most important point i think is to make sure that this jury looks at this case and decides whether or not george acted in self-defense. i think there's overwhelming evidence that he did act in self-defense.
there's very little evidence that he didn't. if the jury listens to the instructions given by the court, looks at the evidence and compares the two, not to do anything else, don't give us more than what we deserve with the facts and the law, they're going to conclude george acted in self-defense. my fear is because of some bias or sympathy they may get from the state's closing arguments where they try to bring up the expletives the way they say george yelled at him and they sort of mention the loss of a 17-year-old, the jury may consider a compromised verdict. we don't want a compromised verdict. just like we don't want a jury pardon. we want a verdict based upon the facts in the law and that's an acquittal. >> have you written it out or is that something you do in the final hour? >> i don't write it out. i know what i want to say. i'm not going to write anything out. hopefully i'll be able to
communicate verbally what i want to. i'm just going to get up there and talk to them. >> mark o'mara, thank you for joining us. >> sure. >> thousand let's hear as trail's family as watched the state of florida speak for them and their son. joining me now is martin family attorney darrell parks. appreciate you joining us. what is your reaction to george zimmerman's decision not to testify? >> well, i think george realized that had he taken the stand, he would have had to face a very tough cross-examination. but also he has sat there and saw the many different statements he's given presented in this case. >> is the martin family disappointed they won't get to hear zimmerman cross examined in an open court or is it a relief they don't have to go through that hearing it? >> i don't think either way on that one, anderson. they believe that had he taken the stand, he would have said
the same things he said before. however, i think he made a decision based on the fact that he would be cross examined on the many inconsistencies he said in the course of this case. >> the state, as you know, asked for manslaughter and aggravated assault to be included in the charges to be read to the jury in addition to the second degree murder. does the martin family -- do you have an opinion on that? if he was convicted of a lesser charge, he could still do just about the same amount of time because of the mandatory gun sentencing. >> all along, they've all just wanted whatever the law required in this situation in terms of his punishment. so they have not pushed for one or the other. as you point out, the criminal punishment will be about the same at the end of the day in terms of it being something that goes between 25 and life. >> so they're not so focused whether it's second degree murder or a manslaughter charge? >> no. you have to remember this has
been an emotional time. as you heard from the father, tracy martin on the stand, he and the mother are just traumatized. the last two days have been tough, because now the whole endurance of all of this is wearing on them. so they just want to see him punished and to pay his debt for taking trayvon's life. they are still just in a point of disbelief of having lost their son. >> i don't know if you talked to tracy martin about his testimony. about how he felt it went. there were two police officers on the stand testifying that he had initially said he couldn't identify his son's voice. tracy martin on the stand said that's not the case. he said, i wasn't sure and now that i listened to it i am sure. how did you feel he did on the stand? >> he did good. let's think about what we heard. we heard tracy martin say that he backed away, we heard detective serino back away. what he said under his breath is tracy martin murmured something and he interpreted that as a no. the fact that he said he interpreted it makes it clear it was somewhat unclear. but also, serino said singleton
was not there. so there's issues there in terms of what he said. we must remember he heard a series of 911 calls and at the end he heard a gunshot that took his son's life. so in terms of whose voice it was, that wasn't his focus. his focus was on that gunshot and that gunshot is the climax of that tape. not the voice that you hear. >> mark o'mara says he's convinced the state has not proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt of second degree murder. are you convinced the state has proved second degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt? >> i think they either have it or are very close. i think that's why the law allows the lesser included offenses. at this point all we want is justice. so we believe we're close to getting that justice. >> appreciate your time tonight. thank you. >> thank you. we've got a lot more to get to with our fan, including the dynamic between the lawyers in the zimmerman case and the
judge. also, an interview with police chief bill lee. he lost his job over public anger what zimmerman wasn't arrested right away. what he's saying now how he handled the case, coming up. throughout the trial, the judge has shown when it comes to her courtroom, she's strict, no nonsense and won't put up with any hijinks. take a look at some of these examples of the tight ship she runs. >> please don't go off focus members of the american postal worker's union
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throughout the trial, the judge has shown when it comes to her courtroom, she's strict, no nonsense and won't put up with any hijinks. take a look at some of these examples of the tight ship she runs. >> please don't go off focus here. >> no, no -- >> let's stop this right now. i have told counsel before, first of all, no one talks over the other. the court reporter can only take one person down at a time. i have not have any speaking
objections in the courtroom. >> i would like to make a speaking objection. >> you can't make an objection to your own question. turn down the volume. is there another phone they with can call into that we will not have the pop ups. hang up the phone. can you get to your point? i really don't like these, you know, you do this, i'm going to do this argument. >> on mr. zimmerman's behalf -- >> i am asking your client questions. please, mr. west. >> i object to the court inquiring of mr. zimmerman as to his decision about whether or not to testify. >> your objection is overruled. >> i've been in this courtroom -- >> so i have. >> i'm physically unable to keep up this pace. it's 10:00 at night, we started this morning. we've had full days every day, weekends, depositions at night. >> she walked out with that. with us again, sunny hostin, jeffrey toobin, danny savalos
and mark geragos. sunny, you've watched this judge in action. do you get a sense they're on thin ice or is this the kind of things happen with a lot of people under pressure? >> this happens in a courtroom. the judge has to take control. i think this is a dream judge for a case like this. she's kept a tight ship with really skilled aggressive attorneys. if she didn't take charge, do you know what this trial would have looked like? it would have been a circus. so you want your judge to really take control of the courtroom. i will say when she walked out last night, i thought that was perhaps a little over the line. but all in all, i've been watching her and she's been consistent and fair. i think she's been a great judge. >> jeff, if the lesser charges are allowed in by the judge for
the jury to consider, does that make it harder for the jury or does that give them an out? >> the defense is worried, as you learned in your interview that the compromised verdict would be something that might be appealing to some of them. the defense has wanted a high stakes, high risk, high reward strategy. all or nothing, second degree murder or acquittal. the middle ground does give the defense an option. i think one reason the defense is pushing so hard for this lesser included offense is because the case has not gone in, as well as they've expected. and the reason the defense doesn't want it is they want an up or down vote on second degree murder or he walks. >> also, the defense doesn't want it, because as we pointed out last night, some of these lesser charges could still get equal amount of jail time. >> when i was a federal prosecutor, we would always ask for an aiding and abetting charge, a lesser charge.
and the jury would think, aiding and abetting. under federal law, it carries the same penalties. >> and in florida, you have these gun sentences. >> the jury is going to look apartment these lesser charges without knowing that there may be what we call mandatory minimums. when it comes to guns, more and more, lots of mandatory minimums. what the jury may not be aware of is that a manslaughter conviction can land him in jail for a substantial amount of time. >> brandishing a gun in florida gets you ten years. >> several states have similar statutes. but the important thing to know is with all these mandatory minutes, people will spend a lot more time than the statutory prescribed years. >> mark o'mara was saying that george zimmerman wanted to testify. lawyers always say that.
i don't know if that's true or not. do you often have clients who want to testify and you have to say it makes no sense to testify? or do most clients say you're the lawyer, you figure it out? >> i have one case that i can think of in particular where we had rested. the client insisted he was going to take the stand. i actually went into chambers with the client without the prosecutor there, said it was over my objections. i basically to quote a friend of mine who had a similar situation once, as he said, you payment a picasso and your client decides to urinate on it. so i get it. the client -- >> that's ben. >> that is ben. >> i can imagine him saying that. >> i know him a lot and i cleaned up the sentence. a little joke there. the client in that case took the stand, was convicted and the jurors came out and were interviewed and said until he took the stand, we never were going to convict. that's the crazy thing about
this business. when you're a criminal defense lawyer, your dream is to try your case within the prosecution's case and get out your theory. and every witness you put on, your gut is wrenching that that witness is going to destroy everything you've done before. and the worst person to put on is your client. the client generally has -- does not have the skill set to go up against an experienced prosecutor. the client, when they're in custody, have been awakened at 3:00 in the morning, have been given a piece of baloney sandwich and sit in a holding cell. they come out and they're up against somebody who is sleeping in their own bed and their wife kissed them on the lips and they had a starbucks on the way toe court. so it's an uneven situation. why would you put somebody in that situation? >> one of the things the
prosecution will likely bring up during the closing arguments is the fact that george zimmerman's account of the specifics have changed over time. the question is, did zimmerman deliberately manipulate details or has his memory suffered because of hysterical amnesia? one witness for the defense testified to this today. the question is, is it real? randi kaye reports. >> reporter: george zimmerman has a problem. consistency. or lack thereof. first he told police trayvon martin jumped out of the bushes. but in this reenactment less than 24 hours later, there was no mention of bushes. zimmerman had once said martin confronted him, using an expletive, asking what's your
problem, homey. that version was later changed. then there's the recorded statements saying after he shot martin he spread the teenager's arms. evidence shows martin was face down with his arms under his body. was zimmerman changing his story to help his case or could it be memory loss? a phenomena called hisser the call amnesia. psychiatrist mark rubinstein has treated hundreds of patients who suffered from this. >> it's caused by the release of certain chemicals in the brain when one is facing a psychologically traumatic event and the attempts to protect one's self. the person so affected is not going to remember either an entire episode or chunks of an episode. >> reporter: with hisser the call amnesia, witness root testified about this. >> because of the high stress
event, it alters the manner in which they interpret the information they're receiving. >> reporter: in any of this sounds particular, it's because hysterical amnesia was a key topic in the jodi arias trial. she stabled her boyfriend by stabbing him 30 times and shooting him in the face. yet she says she doesn't remember doing any of that. >> do you have any memories of slashing mr. alexander's throat? >> no. >> reporter: the jury didn't buy it, and found her guilty of murder. james holmes, accused of shooting up a movie theater last year, may also have experienced amnesia. he says he doesn't remember killing 12 and wounding 58 and asked his jailers why he was behind bars. last month, he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. and remember staff sergeant robert bails the u.s. soldier accused of killing 16 afghan civilians last year? he claimed at first he didn't remember the rampage. then later admitted to it. >> it's really a defense mechanism so that the person doesn't experience firsthand or can't recall experiencing the horror that was going on at the time. >> reporter: with hisser the call amnesia, a person doesn't just snap out of it.
it doesn't work that way in real life. though in some cases bits and pieces of memories do return, and that's what george zimmerman's defense team would have you believe happened to him. the prosecution would simply call it lying. randi kaye, cnn, new york. >> coming up, an interview with bill lee, the ex-police chief who lost his job over his handling of the george zimmerman case. he says whether he feels like he oh, he's a fighter alright. since aflac is helping with his expenses while he can't work, he can focus on his recovery. he doesn't have to worry so much about his mortgage, groceries, or even gas bills. kick! kick... feel it! feel it! feel it! nice work! ♪ you got it! you got it! yes! aflac's gonna help take care of his expenses.
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regardless of what the verdict turns out to be, the george zimmerman has already changed lives, not just for the families involved. the sanford police chief lost his job in the wake of the initial investigation. he was forced to step down among criticism that zimmerman wasn't arrested right away. here is an exclusive interview with bill lee. >> are you saying that is the result of political pressure that you lost your job? >> i believe it was political pressure and the fact that i upheld my oath. >> reporter: sanford, florida, a town caught in a divisive racially charged death investigation. neighborhood watch captain george zimmerman admitted to
shooting and killing unarmed teenager 17-year-old trayvon martin. and at the time, bill lee was the police chief. >> we were investigating the death of trayvon martin, which was a tragedy. you know, we wanted to find out what truly happened and seek justice. >> reporter: lee says the investigation started that night. they took george zimmerman into custody for questioning. but he claimed self-defense and the police department let him go. your lead investigator suggested manslaughter on that initial police report. why is it that for 40 plus days george zimmerman walked a free
man? hired benjamin crump, a skilled civil rights lawyer, and his demands that george zimmerman be arrested, lit the fire of a national uproar. people traveled to sanford to march. talk to me just a bit about that outside influence. because at the time you remember there were a lot of civil rights leaders who came to town. there were a lot of protests and people see this situation differently, but there is a segment of people who said from the beginning at this case that had george zimmerman been black, he would have been arrested, he would have been behind bars. what do you say about that suggestion from people? >> the sanford police department conducted an unbiased and professional investigation. race did not come into play with the sanford police department. >> reporter: but the calls for an arrest grew louder and lee says city officials and the city manager, his then boss, felt the heat.
when you look back at what happened, was there a lot of pressure on you to make an arrest? >> there was pressure applied. the city manager asked several times during the process, can an arrest be made now? and i think that was just from not understanding the criminal justice process. it was related to me that they just wanted an arrest. they didn't care if it got dismissed later. you don't do that. >> reporter: in a statement, city manager norton bonapart says, lee told me he took an oath of office and could not make an arrest. once he told me, i don't recall ever asking him about arresting him. is it fair to say that the investigative process, in a way, got hijacked? >> yes. in a number of ways. >> reporter: after lee announced he wouldn't bring charges against zimmerman, police passed the case on to the state attorney's office.
the governor then assigned the case to special prosecutor angela cory, who charged george zimmerman with second degree murder. >> that investigation was taken away from us. we weren't able to complete it. and it was transferred to another district or a different state attorney. and that outside influence changed the course of the way the criminal justice process should work. >> reporter: after only ten months on the job, lee was temporarily suspended and later fired by the city manager. there was political pressure on one hand, would you agree? >> sure. >> reporter: there were outside influences on the other. >> yes. >> reporter: did you get a fair shake?
>> i don't think so. i upheld my oath. i upheld my oath to abide by the laws of the state of florida and the constitution. i'm happy at the end of the day i can walk away with my integrity. >> reporter: one of our legal analysts said today that chief bill lee got thrown under the bus. would you agree? >> yes. >> george howell joins us now. did the chief tell you whether or not he's watching the trial closely? >> reporter: he's watching every bit of this trial. he himself testified in this case. he says when you look at his then officers, what they said on the stand is coming out in court that they did their job to the letter. though unpopular at the time, lee says he upheld his oath. the difference here is that lee lost his job. >> one of the key pieces of evidence is that 911 audio where you hear someone screaming, calling out for help. lee didn't want that released, right? >> reporter: and he told me about that. he did not want that audio released.
and here's the thing, when it was played for trayvon martin's family at city hall, with the mayor, with the city manager there, lee said that should have been done differently. it shouldn't have been played with the full group there. in fact, it should have been played individually for each person to hear it separately so they wouldn't be biased by other people around them. >> interesting. george howell, thank you very much. up next, a court hearing for 2 alleged boston bomber to it starts with little things. tiny changes in the brain. little things anyone can do.
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appearance since the arrest. it must have been fascinating to be there. what was it like inside the courtroom? >> reporter: it was fascinating, because this courtroom was completely packed. people sitting shoulder to shoulder. within a couple of minutes before he walked into that courtroom, nobody said anything. it was completely silent. there was 30 victims and victim's family members sitting in the court. when he entered, he did not look at them. he made eye contact with two women sitting in tsarnaev family row. relatives, we believe his sisters. one was holding a child with her, a small child. an infant actually. when he saw them, he immediately smiled and the two women began
to sob. they were visibly distressed. during the court proceeding, he was looking around. he kept touching his face. he was fidgeting. it was almost as if he was ignoring what was going on. the judge was speaking to him. he didn't look at her. as the charges were read against him, he stood up and said not guilty to each charge and said it in a russian accent. what's so interesting about that is after court, i ran into a couple of his wrestling buddies from high school, they said they were stunned, he never had a russian accent. they came to court to see if this was the same guy. they said it wasn't, between the russian accept and between the moving and the fidgeting. he just wasn't that easy going guy that they had known and who had been on the team with them. >> thank you very much. fascinating. let's get caught up on the other stories. randi kaye has the "360" news and business bulletin. investigators say the crew of asiana airlines first told the cabin crew not to evacuate
passengers after the jet crashed in san francisco. an evacuation order was given only after a flight attendant saw fire outside the aircraft. the engineer of that run away canadian train that derailed has been suspended an the train's owner says he doubts the engineer's claim that he set 11 hand brakes. 20 people were killed, 30 are still missing. >> the dow dropped nine points as investors weighed the minutes of the june meeting. new questions about diet soda. a review of published studies found it may be worse than regular soda. the reason, artificial sweeteners may satisfy the sweet craving, but the body may crave more sweets, which could lead to weight gain. >> randi, thank you very much. we'll be right back. that's it for us. thanks for watching. "piers morgan live" starts now. >> this is "piers morgan live."
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