tv Piers Morgan Live CNN July 8, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
we ran out of time for the ridiculist. that does it for now. this is "piers morgan live." welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world tonight. a blockbuster day in the george zimmerman trial. in a moment, i'll speak to mark o'mara, a day in which witness after witness testified george zimmerman is the man heard screaming on the tape, not trayvon martin. >> you said you heard the tape several times, is that mainly listening to it on tv? >> yes. >> were you able to identify mr. zimmerman's voice during the first time you listened to it? yes, my immediate reaction to it was, that is george's voice. >> that's georgy. >> it's george zimmerman, and i wish to god i did not have the ability to recognize that.
>> i pushed away from the table and shook my head and said, i can't tell. >> and the judge rules the jury will hear about trayvon martin's alleged pot use. joining us to talk about a busy day in court, mark o'mara. mark, busy day. pretty important day in many ways. how significant is this late breaking decision to allow trayvon martin's toxicology report including his cannibis use to be made available to the court? >> good evening, piers, it's good to chat with you again. we thought this day was coming, the judge had initially said we could not present that evidence until we were able to tie it up in terms of being relevant. we knew we would have a toxicologist come in to say that
any level of pot in the system could have some effect. of course that falls in line with what george zimmerman stated in his first couple moments when he said it looked like he's on drugs or something. we sort of presume the judge is going to let this in. >> we are talking about a tiny amount in his system. an amount that no real expert would ever say could have a material difference on somebody's temper or aggression. particularly with a drug like cannibis. >> well, actually, there are some studies out there, particularly young males to suggest that even low levels of cannibis use can lead to aggression. the question is not how much, but if there has been some effect and if that effect was noticed by george zimmerman, i think it is relevant. after all, if we're going to talk about what george zimmerman may have read in course work two, three, four years ago, i think what trayvon martin had smoked or had in his system, it's certainly something the jury should consider.
they'll give whatever weight to it they want. they should have the opportunity to consider it. >> many people find it extraordinary that trayvon martin's drug use will be known through the toxicology report, this test that was taken after he died, but george zimmerman himself, the man who pulled the trigger that killed trayvon martin, he was never tested for drugs. we don't know whether he had taken cannibis, do we? >> no, we don't. and the sanford police department, when they do an investigation like this, look at the individual that they are interrogating, they had mr. zimmerman for six hours. he had complied with every request that they wanted, all the interviews they wanted. had they asked him for a blood test, he would have given it, the police have responded to that criticism by saying, look, we request drug screens when they seem to be appropriate, is there any indication whatsoever that the person might be impaired, and in george zimmerman's case, there's no evidence, or indication whatsoever that he might have been impaired.
on the other hand, trayvon martin's toxicology, every deceased person who goes to the medical examiner has blood pulled and toxicology is run. >> to some of the more difficult exchanges between you and trayvon martin's grieving parents it can't be easy to be an attorney in your position to cross examine without the witness. >> you didn't listen to ben crump on the 27th or 28th? he wasn't your attorney on that day? >>, he wasn't. >> later did you instruct him to say police lied when they said you had said no about hearing your son's voice? did you instruct your lawyer to say that? >> i never instructed anyone to say anything.
>> you never instructed ben crump to say the police had lied about that? >> i never instructed anyone to say anything. >> did you instruct your lawyer to say that the audio has since been cleared up and now you can hear it better? >> no, i didn't. >> it's obviously difficult as i said before, but where does this take us. accusing a man who within 48 hours of his son being killed is clearly in a lot of distress, clearly grieving intensely and according to him simply said, i don't know. is it really effective for you and the defense to go after a man in that position? >> i think you have to be very careful and very sensitive to the loss that a grieving valley is going through. having said that, not only do we have the two officers who were there, there was two other officers who still may testify, each one of them -- three of the
four heard mr. martin state that it was not his son. not that he kwiv indicated, not that hen couldn't tell, but he said this is not his son. this is evidence that was known to the prosecution, they decided not to call tracy martin to the stand for probably that precise reason, that they were going to have to deal with that inconsistency. my frustration is one i've had for a year, ben crump on the martin family's behalf stated to the media that the police were lying and that his client tracy martin never said no, that's not my son. that's contraindicated now by two sworn testimonies and also ben crump said, once tracy martin heard a cleaned up version of the tape, he was able to identify his son, and that's also an untruth because as we know from his testimony from the rest of the evidence, there has not been a cleaned up version of the tape. so my frustration is that when
someone on behalf of the martin family presents inaccuracies to the media, for whatever purpose, now i have to deal with challenging a grieving father about those very inaccuracies, they never should have happened to begin with. >> let's get to what i think could be the crux of this, which is whether george zimmerman had any -- let's read out the exact criteria, second degree murder. did he act from ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent? we come back to this clip of george zimmerman, which i want to play again. the one that refers to f-ing punks. let's listen to this again. >> which way is he running? >> down toward the other entrance to the neighborhood. >> which entrance is that that he's heading toward? >> the back entrance. >> are you following him? >> yeah. >> okay, we don't need you to do that.
>> to me, this seems like the weakest part of your case, in the sense that someone who against professional advice, he goes after somebody who he believes is f-ing punks, they're always getting away with it. in his head, he's looking at trayvon martin and thinking bad things about him, isn't he? >> a couple things, one, the state has now finished their case, there's no evidence that they presented that my client continued to follow trayvon martin after he was advised not to. they're done with their case, not one shred of evidence to support that, let's say that the statements that he used, the expletives suggested that he was somewhat frustrated. we know he was frustrated because his neighborhood was being asailed by people who were burglarizing homes and causing home invasions. the question is, presume for the point of this conversation that he was frustrated, that
frustration is far and away from ill will, hatred, spite necessary for second degree. frustration is one thing, the necessary element for second degree murder, that ill will, spite and hatred which you know from listening to the judgment of the acquittal arguments, has specific connotation to it, and has to have specific fact. somebody picking up somebody in a more pit over the head and throwing them on the ground that's not ill will and hatred, someone saying to someone, f-ing punks, may be frustration, may be some street talk, but is nowhere near second degree murder, and with the case being done, they haven't shown how they're going to tie that together. it was not the way john guy or bernie say those expletives, the way the enunciation and emphasis they put on it, it has to be in the context of the way my client said it, and as every witness who has testified about the way
my client said it, there's no spite, anger, ill will, hatred, anything more than frustration. >> where do you see the last few days of this case going now, mark, and in particular, the big question, i guess, will you put george zimmerman on the stand? >> i've been asked that a lot, i have to wait until the state has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt before we would ever consider putting george zimmerman on the stand. we already have statements that the story is out. we can't forget the one major point about this case. the case has to disprove that george acted in self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. to date, i don't think they've come close to doing that, i'm going to incorporate that decision into the decision whether or not to put george on the stand. as to the other issues, you know, we're going to deal with some of the forensic evidence
now, the experts, we have our own expert regarding medical examiner, toxicology to come in, we have an expert concerning everything we found on trayvon martin's phone, evidencing some of the other things we know are out there, we're going to bring that in, a few other loose ends to tie up, and that's about it. >> if george zimmerman is acquitted, completely acquitted, not found guilty of second degree murder, no lesser charge of manslaughter and walks free, having killed somebody we know after the event -- an unarmed young teenager, there is a concern that this will create a lot of ill feeling, particularly in the black community around america, there may possibly be riots, you will have read the same warnings about this, how concerned are you about that, and about the safety of your client should he be declared an innocent man? >> well, first of all, my client will never be safe.
there are a percentage of the population who are angry, they're upset and they may well take it out on him. he'll never be safe. my hope is that the system that is better than any other in the world is working, and i think that anybody who pays attention to the facts of this case listens to the evidence, will not leave that courtroom thinking that george zimmerman is guilty of anything. and if a jury agrees, they should not and cannot be frustrated with the outcome, because the state's put on a good case, we put on a good case. everything that should get out to this jury has been out, and quite honestly, air lot of what doesn't necessarily need to get out to the jury has been kept from them. if they decide on the facts of the case, we as a society, black, white, everybody need to look at this case and say, justice was in fact accomplished here, because a fair trial was held. those who refuse to listen to that they're not going to listen to me or you, or sensibilities at all anyway, they're going to stay frustrated and stay angry. >> mark o'mara, thanks for joining me. >> thank you, piers, great to
talk to you again. when we come back, i'll talk to the attorney for trayvon martin's family. he's been listening to what mark o'mara said we'll get his reaction live. and this crash. the latest on that dreadful incident. weekdays are for rising to the challenge. they're the days to take care of business. when possibilities become reality. with centurylink as your trusted partner, when pour visionary cloud infrastructure and global broadband network free you to focus on what matters. with custom communications solutions and responsive, dedicated support, we constantly evolve to meet your needs. every day of the week. centurylink® your link to what's next.
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emotional, did he help or hurt the case against george zimmerman. darryl parks, you heard what mark o'mara had to say there, pretty scathing about ben crump your colleague, tell me your reaction. >> well, i think mark o'mara has made a decision to come after my law partner for whatever reason. the truth of the matter is, mr. o'mara and the rest of the world must understand that at a time when no one else was given justice to the martin family, my law partner was the guy who took on this crusade to get justice for trayvon martin. when the police refused to arrest him, he was the one person that believed in moving forward to try to get justice in this case, so he may not have an appreciation for it, but at least there was enough evidence there that we needed to have him arrested and have the trial we're having now. he may not have an appreciation for it at all, this is how we got to justice.
>> let's turn to some of the key things that came out today. particularly the late revelation in the day that trayvon martin's toxicology report will be made public in court, which will include the fact that he had cannibis in his system, albeit a small amount of cannabis. what is your response to that. >> the law had to -- the judge had to allow it in. i think we have a situation where the defense council has made a conscious decision that they are committed to making this 17-year-old young black child appear to be some thug and throw him into some negative light. it is totally wrong what they are trying to do to his character and to the image of him in this case. it has no place in this case, because the truth of the matter is, this case is about what happened during that seven-minutes that the two of them were engaged. to try to throw other issues
into it, and make him appear to be some thug. even before the trial started, taking pictures of trayvon they knew was not going to be in evidence and put it into the public domain, they continued on this crusade to make him appear to be somebody he wasn't. and it's totally wrong, piers. >> has it been a mistake by the prosecution to not have more people testify that they recognized trayvon martin's voice in the crucial tape, the 911 tape that has a male voice screaming? the defense put up so many people today, who acted not just as advocates if you like, the fact that it was george zimmerman's voice, but also giving great character witness testimony about him in the process, quite effective to a jury, where as on your side, you're left with, you know, his father, trayvon's father, and his brother, both having to concede that their initial reaction was, they couldn't tell if it was trayvon or not, which is not that helpful.
>> well, two things, number one, i agree that the amount of character evidence they got into the testimony earlier today was probably out of bounds in terms of the amount that was there. and probably opened the door to some of the character evidence they introduced in a sly way. number two, though. i think that we certainly know that the strategy as to how many people the state used is a strategy they have, however, you must remember that they have the right to put on the rebuttal cases as well too. i'm pretty sure they will consider the possibility of putting on other rebuttal witnesses in their case when they come to that point. >> is it likely that your partner ben crump will give evidence? >> well, you know, yesterday i took ben's deposition, the deposition went fairly well. they didn't get much out of it. it appears that they have an issue with my law partner, and continue to try to inject him in the case.
this case is not about ben crump or any of the lawyers working on this case, it's not about mark o'mara either. this case is about a 17-year-old unarmed black child walking from the store. and this guy decides to go after him. that's what this case is about, all the other side show issues have no place in a court of law. no matter what it takes, we're going to continue to push very hard to make sure that's the focus, and not the focus that they're trying to make of putting trayvon in negative light, his cell phone and all these other issues. to do with his death. once they got to the ground, george zimmerman who is trying to portray himself is a person who couldn't fight, couldn't do anything, we now know he lost 50 pounds from exercising, yet he couldn't defend himself. had he waited less than a minute, we know the cops were there. his life was not -- you have to think about this case. he killed this kid, and at the end of the day, we have to
remember that there was a life lost here, and not allow anyone to discount trayvon's life. >> darryl parks, thank you very much. >> thank you for having me. now ien watt to bring in a legal expert who has a lot to say about this case. the host of judge alex. it's good to see you in person. >> thank you, piers, great to be here. >> we had a lot of conversations about this, i thought today was a fascinating day, because the defense kept bringing witness after witness saying that is george zimmerman's voice. i would have expected any friend of george zimmerman to say that. given that people can't recognize the person screaming. it's a myth they can. you haven't seen as many people on the prosecution side saying that is definitely trayvon. the few that have have been caught giving conflicting testimony about that. >> that's true. there is the significant conflicting testimony from tracy, trayvon's father.
not a clear indication why the officers would make that fact up. if they're trying to undermine the case, they could come up with a lot more facts that didn't happen. i'm not sure how effective it is to say, it's his voice screaming, how would they know, when would they have heard him screaming for his life. the one i found to be most credible was the former vietnam war medic who said, i heard people screaming for their life in my own platoon and he got emotional on the stand talking about it. >> here's the thing, if you go back to the history of this case, even george zimmerman himself, when he was first played the tape of him screaming, claimed that he didn't recognize his own voice. >> he said it doesn't sound like me. >> he didn't deny it was him, it was more an exclamation, that doesn't sound like me. >> have you ever heard yourself
on a record something if you listen to your own voice, does it always sound like the way you expect you sound? most people hear their voice in their head when they speak. when they hear themselves recorded it doesn't sound like that. if you hear yourself screaming for your life, it's certainly going to be different. >> i'm not sure i would recognize anybody screaming in a way we heard on that tape. >> i'm with you 100%. >> that is why no voice expert has been able to definitively say. >> it's different. people who can identify your voice are identifying it from their own personal experience and hearing it. the voice experts are using a computer program. they're comparing it to a sample. there is no sample of george zimmerman screaming for his life or trayvon martin screaming for his life. people who know if they can identify it, they can identify it, i think the jury will probably doubt that either mother, either father, either friend ever heard them screaming
at the top of their lungs for their life in a panicked mode, it's more of, we want it to be true than anything else. >> it is critical, isn't it? >> it would have been the deciding case. >> if there was definitive proof it was one or the other, that's the case right there? >> absolutely. if they had been able to scientifically identify the voice on that case, the case is over. you can't claimself defense when the person you're claiming self-defense from is screaming for their life for 40 seconds before you shoot them. if you are screaming for your life during that time, it makes your case. it would have been the key piece of evidence in the case and it's useful. >> without that, it seems to me a key piece of evidence in this case, in the trial we've heard so far is the fact that george zimmerman ignores advice, gets out of his car, starting following or whatever he says he was doing, trayvon martin against the professional advice. more than that, the description he's giving of the person he's going after, he's an a-hole,
he's an f-ing punch, got to stop him from getting away with it, to me, this seemed very, very close to having some kind of malicious intent in your head. >> sure. >> about what that person is doing. >> that's what the prosecution is hoping for. >> do you agree with it? >> no, i don't. i've tried second degree murder cases, this is not a typical second degree murder case. the problem the prosecution's having, they're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, that's why it's not fitting. the fact that he muttered those words, there's a lot that goes on between that time and the killing. and if you read the statute, it says it's a killing by an act imminently dangerous to another, in this case the shooting, and that that act stemmed from ill will, hatred, spite or evil intent there's this big thing in the middle that's this fight between the two of them, we don't know how it started, we don't believe this is a second degree murder case, i think the prosecution is trying to make it one. but they're going to fail at
that. >> let's take a short break, when we come back, we're going to hear what george zimmerman learned and didn't learn from his boxing trainer. [ shapiro ] at legalzoom, you can take care of virtually all your important legal matters in just minutes. protect your family... and launch your dreams. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side. [ man ] 10, 9, 8, 7...
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what did he progress to as a boxer? >> well, he never got off of learning how to punch. so not very far. he was an overweight large man when he came to us, and a very pleasant, very nice man, but physically soft. he was predominantly fat, not a lot of muscle. >> not a flattering portrait of george zimmerman, but one that
could be important to the defense. joining me is television's judge alex. also defense attorney generalny weintraub and allen dershowitz. welcome to my new experts. allen, you're joining us by skype. i suppose in the end it comes down to this, has the prosecution proved its case, yes or no? >> no, they -- they created a terrible problem for themselves by overcharging second degree murder. if they had instead charged what would have been appropriate in this case, at most manslaughter. they would have had a reasonable chance of prevailing. but by overcharging and now i suspect they're going to seek a compromised verdict they're going to ask the judge to charge on both second degree murder and manslaughter in the hope that the jury will come to a compromised verdict. that will be objected to and it will create incredible complications, that's what happens when you overcharge for political reasons and that's what happened here. >> jane weintraub, here's my
sense of what a lot of people think. which is, that in the end an unarmed 17-year-old teenager has been killed. and the idea that the person that did that is able to walk free, an innocent man guilty of nothing doesn't seem right to them. >> well, and i hear you, piers, and as a mother, of course, i understand, but as a lawyer, analyzing the evidence that's before us, and understanding the legal instruction that the judge will give the jury, that a reasonable doubt can be proven by a conflict in the evidence, a lack of evidence it goes to show that there's nothing but reasonable doubt in this case, the mothers of -- the mother of trayvon martin and the mother of george zimmerman, both of them were put up by their respective lawyers, neither of those women were lying. they testified about what they wanted to hear and what they did hear. all that amounts to is reasonable doubt.
>> it's incontroverted there is reasonable doubt. nobody knows about the crucial moments that led up to the altercation, which under florida law is what really matters, what happened before in the van, on the phone, et cetera, et cetera, is all really irrelevant. >> when it comes down to self-defense, what matters is what happens at the time of the confrontation. this is by no means unique. very often you have a victim that is dead and you're stuck with one side of the story. sometimes the place can make something out of that, sometimes they cannot. often they cannot. yes, it is tragic when you have a 17-year-old killed and it appears unjustifiably so, imagine the is a neighbor yo where you hear a noise, you see somebody climbing through your window and you shoot them. turns out your daughter had called her boyfriend and said, come over, i left the window open. clearly nobody would send you to prison for that, this is a vastly different scenario, but it's the same test, you look to
see what the perception was of the person at the time they used deadly force. if the jury agrees that he was acting reasonably in his mind when he thought he was going to suffer serious bodily injury, and it was reasonable for him to use deadly force, they will find him not guilty because of self-defense. if they disagree, he will be convicted of manslaughter. >> this case is so fascinating to people, and being so widely watched around the world in fact. and i talked to people in britain, they're gripped by it. it cuts to everything, doesn't it? it cuts to guns, to race, to society, to self-defense. so many pillars of american life colliding in one courtroom right now. what will the repercussions be of this, whatever happens with the verdict? >> well, oliver wendell holmes said hard cases make bad law. it's not the job of the jury to solve america's social problems. to solve america's gun problem or race problem. it's to decide whether there is
a reasonable doubt, the burden's on the government, as to whether or not he acted in self-defense. the more the jury is invited to think broadly about these social issues, the greater the problem will be with their verdict. it's our job as commentators as others to deal with the broad social concerns about the case. and however the case is resolved by the jury, there will be dissatisfaction. as you put it so well, there isn't a 17-year-old child whose dead, but only one person is on trial, that's the defendant. he's the only one who has rights in this case. whatever the verdict will be here, there will be some dissatisfaction, it's part of our job -- piers, i think you're doing a very good job educating the public about the complexity of a case like that. >> it's not about human emotion, or the reactions we might have as parents or anything else. i have three teenaged sons, if this happened to one of them, i
would want justice, at the same time -- >> is it justice or retribution? >> i do not believe george zimmerman set out to murder trayvon martin. you're looking at the worst case scenario some sort of manslaughter case. i find the idea -- i think it comes to the crux of what people think, of him just walking away with nothing. >> well, i know this is a terrible thing to say, but when he was asked what are you doing or why are you following me? conversely, if trayvon had just answered his question and said i'm going to my dad's, he lives over there -- >> why didn't george zimmerman say i'm a neighborhood watch official, i'm offduty at the moment, but i have to ask you, what are you doing? >> he should have. but he wasn't compelled to under the law. >> it may not be under the law, surely, this has to be taken into consideration. george zimmerman ignored advice, got out of his vehicle, said f-ing punks, a-holes getting
away with it, marched away, we don't know what happened next. there's no punishment for the fact that the expense of actions leads to him shooting an unarmed teenager dead, seems to me pretty ridiculous. >> i think that sticks in everybody's throat. those of us who work in the judicial system know that sometimes the outcome in the trial is not fair in the sense of what america thinks is fair, but it's fair in the sense of what the legal system thinks is fair. to send somebody to prison for a crime, you have to prove the elements of a crime. the elements of crime are like the ingredients of a cake, if you leave one of those out, you don't have the crime you charged him with. if you do it by emotion, we are going to go back to the days of pitchforks and torches and going up to the jailhouse and drawing your own retribution. >> guilty or not guilty of second degree murder. >> not guilty of second degree murder.
possibly they may find him guilty of manslaughter, that will be appealed. >> i think not guilty of second degree murder, if they reject self-defense, he gets a manslaughter. if they go with self-defense it's total acquittal. >> not guilty. >> fascinating stuff about thank you all very much. come back soon, it will only build and build excitement, i think for this verdict, which nobody is really sure what's going to happen. that's why people are gripped about it. let's have you back soon. coming up next, the zimmerman trial in black and white in the courtroom. we're not talking about race. what does america think. and what will the reaction be if there is acquittal. out there owning it.
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obviously, although race, everyone's trying to exclude it from this case, it's been hanging there as an overbearing presence, hasn't it? >> it has been hanging there, it's been there since the beginning, there are two cases, the cases before the jury, and the case of public opinion. and in the case before the jury, it's been very subtle, but race has been there. so you can say profiling, you can't say racial profiling. the blacks have been removed from the jury, but it's not because they were black. it's because the rules permitted it. so underlying both of those examples is race. and it seems like people don't want to consider that possibility. >> what do you think the verdict is likely to be where -- given what we are at the moment, in terms of the testimony we've heard. >> well, i think that the -- i think it's really still up in the air. clearly the prosecution put on a good case, now the defense has
come back, and today they had a number of people saying that it was george zimmerman's voice they heard screaming on the 911. >> let me ask you a difficult question. if it was george zimmerman's voice, if trayvon martin and he got into an altercation, and trayvon really was smashing his head into the concrete and he really was screaming out and genuinely feared his life might be in danger, would that give him justification for taking the action that he did. >> i think that's strong justification for self-acquittal. on the other hand i think if you feel that it was trayvon martin yelling out and screaming, it's a very different case. >> here's the problem, we just don't know that. we're not going to know that, we're not going to know so many things about this, the only two people who know, one is dead, trayvon martin. and one is george zimmerman, fighting for his -- not for his life, but fighting for his freedom. either way, he could be found guilty of manslaughter and still
get 20 years because trayvon was 17 years old. >> that's very true, and that may be justice in the case, you're absolutely right, it's a circumstantial case, the evidence is circumstantial. the evidence is really what story you believe. the defense is telling a very different story from the prosecution, it's really a question of what story the jurors believe. >> there's lots of concern about what the reaction could be if george zimmerman is acquitted. what is your view of how the black community in america, many of whom are very angry about this what is your view of how they should react if that eventuality happens. >> certainly you're correct that many in the black community as well as throughout the country are very upset by what has transpired, particularly because this is a murder case. it's the ultimate human tragedy. but the most important thing is is that justice be done. americans of all the colors,
must respect the decision that the jurors come to, and, of course, we have an appeal process that can take place. >> again, i said earlier that one of the key parts to me is when you hear george zimmerman saying, this guy's an a-hole, he's an f-ing punk, it may not be racial profiling, but it is profiling, he's targeting trayvon martin who we now know was just walking back home to his father's house with a bunch of skittles. >> well -- >> he's profiling, isn't he? >> i think it's clearly profiling, the question is, what was the basis for the profile, i think a lot of people are concerned that the basis was race. i heard earlier mr. zimmerman's attorney talk about how his client was frustrated. i think a lot of people are concerned that that frustration was taken out on trayvon martin. and what people i think really are asking is, why was he targeted? why did zimmerman identify
martin as someone who was a troublemaker in the neighborhood and why did he follow him and ignore the wishes of the authorities who said don't follow him. >> there's a world of difference isn't there? the way this plays out in public opinion. if in his head he was thinking this could be a young troublemaker or he's thinking, this is a young black man he's troubled. >> i think that's the real concern is that many people have that somehow race is being equated with suspicion. somehow because trayvon martin was a black child walking through the neighborhood, zimmerman identified him as someone who needed to be followed because he was someone who could be a possible troublemaker. >> and the fact remains, if he hadn't followed him, trayvon martin wouldn't have been killed. >> there are many things in this case, if theyen the have happened there wouldn't be a tragedy. >> it's a miracle anyone survived now we're learning more about what went wrong in the plane crash that killed two teenaged girls in san francisco. did the pilot have enough
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there were two pilots, and many of you all have talked about those two pilots. it was a captain who was working on his initial operating experience in the 777. he was an experienced pilot and a prior captain, but he was working on getting his rating on the 777 and getting his initial operating experience in the 777. >> that was the ntsb's deborah hersman. the plane was flying far slower than it should have been. joining me is robert haguer, a former nbc correspondent who spent years covering airline accidents.
robert, let's cut to the quick here. why was this plane traveling so, as it turned out, fatally slowly? >> that's the $64,000 question. that's what investigators have got to try to find out. it's incredible, the slow speed. the target, the speed that they're supposed to slow down to just before touchdown was 157 miles an hour. now translating that, some might have heard it in knots but i like the miles an hour. 157 is what they're supposed to be going at touchdown, minimum speed. already that plane had got that slow a half minute out from the runway. why they let it get that slow, they let it slow down then for another 30 seconds after it reached that speed, got down to less than 120 miles an hour. so imagine this great big 777 aircraft, big, heavy aircraft like that, going 120 miles an hour. it's inevitable it was going to
stall. >> here's another $64,000 question, this pilot, though he is being accused of being inexperienced, had other ways of being experienced, 10,000 hours on the boeing 747. on the 777 he was still training but this was his ninth training flight, 11 flights short of getting a full license on that aircraft. this guy is not inexperienced enough surely to not realize he's traveling so much slower than he should have been. and he's got another very experienced pilot next to him. it does cry out for why did nobody realize? and if they did, could it be malfunction by the plane? >> well, that's still possible and sometimes these investigations take some strange turns as they go down the line but right now, clearly all the focus is on the performance of the crew and investigators can't say pilot error. but that's in essence what people are looking at.
but you never know, i mean, is there some automatic system? they did disengage the all the owe pilot about 1:20 out. there may be other instruments assisting. could be some instruments off. you never know. they're talking to the crew today. that should clear up a lot of things for them. >> the other thing i'd like cleared up as someone who flies a lot in america, are there lots of other pilots right now who are in that position of training way below their license number of training, are they out there doing this all the time? does the public have a right to know before they board a plane exactly who will be at the wheel and how much experience they've had? >> well, i suppose you could say that, that the public has a right to know it. i suspect they're with fewer pilots because business had been slow until recently that the pilots tend to be more
experienced now than they might have been let's say 15 or 20 years ago. but they are very seriously trained. i mean, before they assume the flying duties in a new kind of aircraft, they've done a lot of training on the ground in the simulators, then they fly along with the check pilot for a great while. even though they haven't accumulated a whole lot of hours with hands on, they still have had a fair amount of experience in the cockpit. >> finally, we believe that one of the two teen-agers who so sadly lost their lives may have been killed by being hit by a rescue vehicle speeding to the aircraft along with many others. is it anything other than a fact that it was a tragic accident that couldn't have been avoided? >> that would be a horrible tragedy and the coroner isn't going to release the full autopsy reports for a couple of weeks and that would just be awful if that is true. but a big part of this
investigation will be to look at the aftermath of it, how the crews responded on the runway. where it's a terrible tragedy to have lost two people, the incredible people is that 305 people are alive tonight. but that's a tremendous story. >> definitely when you see the simulation of this plane almost cart wheeling, it's almost miraculous so many got away. >> we'll be right back after the break. years ago, my doctor told me to take a centrum silver multivitamin every day. i told him, sure. can't hurt, right? and now today, i see this in the news. once again, centrum silver was chosen by researchers for another landmark study. this time looking at eye health. my doctor! he knows his stuff. [ male announcer ] centrum. the most studied. the most recommended. and the most preferred multivitamin brand. the choice is clear.
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"anderson cooper 360" starts right now. trayvon martin, a reluctant witness. good evening. welcome to another special report, self-defense or murder, the george zimmerman trial. the judge this afternoon allowing attorneys for george zimmerman to introduce evidence that trayvon martin had thc in his system, the active ingredient in marijuana when he died. how significant that is remains to be seen. prosecutors fought hard to keep the evidence out, calling it a back doorway of tarnishing trayvon martin's character in the eyes of the jury. zimmerman's drug use has always come up showing that he was on anxiety and sleep medications on the night of the shooting. and also powerful testimony as we.