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Natalie Jackson, Dave Knechel and Benjamin Crump

The maelstrom that's surrounded George Zimmerman since February 26 of last year reached a crescendo in the courtroom last week. Sort of. Then it waned. That his defense team has worked hard for him is something worthy of recognition, but little has been achieved during the course of the O'Mara reign -- not that I'm doubting the defense team's crowning victories; removing two judges from the bench.

What's so interesting about the hearing to compel Benjamin Crump to be deposed (MOTION REGARDING DEPOSITION OF BENJAMIN CRUMP, ESQUIRE) is not so much that it was a loss to Zimmerman's attorney, Donald West, who argued for it; it was that, even with a grant by the judge, what would have been gained? What would Crump have to offer other than opinion laced with innuendo?

In his response affidavit, Crump stated that he telephonically interviewed Witness 8, but before making the statement, he laid a foundation explaining what brought the interview about. For anyone to believe that he did so for the prosecution's sake would be a fool. He did so at the behest of Trayvon Martin's parents -- for future civil litigation against the defendant. It is the interests of his clients that he considers. Yes, this includes some semblance of justice, but, to be specific, he was under no legal obligation to make the interview public, nor was he bound by law to turn it over to the prosecution or defense. Certainly, he was right when he did so.

6. On or about February 28, 2012, after local authorities refused to arrest Defendant, my law firm and I were engaged by Trayvon's parents to, inter alia [Latin for "among other things."], zealously pursue, defend and protect their rights as the next of kin of a homicide victim, as well as any wrongful death and other civil claims that they or Trayvon's estate may have -- including, but not limited to, statutory, common law and constitutional claims against Defendant and others arising out of or related to Trayvon's tragic death, access to public records, and the criminal prosecution of Defendant (collectively, the "Litigation").
In essence, this means Trayvon's parents have every right to legally pursue in civil court the person who admitted to shooting and killing their son. Whether this was murder or self-defense will be decided in criminal court.
7. The broad scope of my engagement in regard to the Litigation has remained the same at all times material to the instant case and, since February 2012, my reputation has been continuous and remains ongoing. From the outset through the present, I have gathered factual information and performed legal research from which I have formed -- and continue to form -- my own legal opinions, conclusions, mental impressions and theories of liability in regard to the Litigation.
There it is, in stark black and white -- OPINIONS! As noted by Bernie de la Rionda at the hearing on February 22, there was never anything substantially factual to be gained by deposing Crump and Judge Nelson soundly agreed. She continued to badger the defense, West, in particular, about relevance. To what purpose would it serve?

In my opinion, the judge took Crump's affidavit at face value. She believed him. (It's also interesting to note that West rebuked Crump's title of Esquire in open court, yet used it in the title of his deposition motion.) She reminded the defense that, while Crump did interview Witness 8, he was not present at the shooting. He wasn't listening in on the phone call between Trayvon or Witness 8, either.

In her order, Judge Nelson cited several cases supporting her decision. I believe this is to back her up later on if there is an appeal.

One of the problems West brought up about Witness 8 was the way Crump described her age. Was she 16 or 17 at the time of the recording? While I agree with the defense on this one, I side more with the judge. She scolded West and O'Mara by telling them they've had 10 months to depose that witness. Why haven't they done so? You see, and this is my thought, why put the cart before the horse? Why not ask the witness first? Then, if you have questions, file a motion to depose Crump. Now, it's too late. The defense lost this round.

But did they lose? Not really. While I understand the motion, I saw nothing to be gained had they won; nothing at all. The relevancy precluded it. Crump never had much more to offer than opinion, and there still remains that strong element called attorney/client privilege. And neither side would dare put him on the witness list.


Along similar lines, tomorrow will mark the one-year anniversary of Trayvon's untimely death. Battle lines are drawn, although there are no real fights in the physical sense. We've got www extremists on both sides that believe they are the one true authority. Well, that's simply not true. The court is the only one that counts. Period. The rest is pure conjecture.

Zimmerman's supporters believe Tracy Martin verbatim when he was questioned about the horrible cries for help heard on at least one of the 9-1-1 tapes. No, he initially said, that's not Trayvon; however, he was under duress at the time, having just lost his son. Later, he rescinded that statement. What matters is what he will say on the stand, under oath, not what Internet people opine online.

What no one seems to relate to is that fathers have no intuitive instincts compared to mothers. What, you say? What is it about mothers waking up in the middle of the night before their babies start to whimper, let alone cry, yet fathers sleep right through it? Trayvon's mother immediately recognized her son's voice in those calls, so why isn't that an important piece of the puzzle to Zimmerman loyalists? When Trayvon was growing up, did Tracy hear the cries of his son like Sybrina, who mended his cuts and bruises; who rocked him in her arms?

This is my point completely. Simply said, it's wrong to make any assumption based on nothing more than presumption. Who knows for a fact right now whose voice screamed out in the dead of night clouded by light rain? The witnesses that spoke first and later changed their minds? George certainly knows. Sybrina, too, in her mind, and she will say so when it matters most -- in the courtroom.

Why is it that the Treehouse stumpers question where Trayvon was "lying in lurk" when he had plenty of time to run home, yet couldn't care less that George had nearly a minute to get back to his truck after crossing the "T" on the rebound where he claimed he was attacked? What was he really doing? He was still on the phone with dispatch!

You see, it's not my point to prove what happened that night because I can't, although I have walked the walk inside the Retreat at Twin Lakes and recorded it on video. I see what adds up and what doesn't. Because of this, I think it was totally wrong for the defense to seriously consider that Crump could have offered anything more than his opinion on the homicide. Other than Zimmerman, the next best thing has been Witness 8. All along.

Pay attention to 4:56 in on the following video, NEN Call and Trayvon's Walk. It documents the time based on statements given to the Sanford Police Department by George Zimmerman.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I heard Crump on the radio today (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marinade Dave, joynow

    and he's looking ahead to Zimmerman's Stand Your Grpund hearing in late April. Apparently the judge will rule whether the law applies in this case, and if she decides it does then the trial will be over, no chance for a jury to hear evidence and rule on the facts of the case.

    Scary thought.

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 06:26:04 PM PST

    •  Very scary thought indeed... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Interestingly, according to the gzlegal Website, it WAS going to be a SYG hearing and now it isn't. Apparently, the "fact" that Zimmerman was on the ground and could, therefore, not retreat if he wanted, means that he only needs to claim self-defense immunity. We'll see about that.

      Go here: A RESPONSE TO JONATHAN CAPEHART’S EDITORIALS IN REGARDS TO THE ZIMMERMAN CASE and scroll down to the section titled, 'STAND YOUR GROUND' ELUDES ROBERT ZIMMERMAN. That explains the defense team's latest strategy.

      Thank you, litho!

    •  even if she does, he could still be up for a civil (0+ / 0-)

      suit?  SYG laws don't provide civil immunity do they?

      •  Civil immunity? (0+ / 0-)

        Only if the case is thrown out, entlord, and that would mean one thing; that Zimmerman won his self-defense immunity hearing. Then, he could turn around and sue. He would be held blameless.

        •  whom would he sue? (0+ / 0-)

          I apologize but I am a bit confused because OJ (albeit he did go to trial) was sued in a civil suit.  SYG in FL if certified by a judge as self defense can immunize a defendant not only against future criminal charges but against civil lawsuits as well?

          Wouldn't he still be open to federal charges on violation of his victim's civil rights?  FL sometimes seems an alien world to me

          •  Yes, OJ went to trial... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ... and that's the key. If Zimmerman is granted his immunity motion, there will be no trial. He would be completely exonerated. It would mean he shot and killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense. It's not an issue over SYG, it's all about self-defense. Sad, but true.

            There are no federal charges pending. This is a state case. Every homicide victim loses his civil rights, but that's not the fed's problem. The federal government cannot prosecute every person killed in a car accident, yet the death is a homicide. Same thing here. What would be the point of local and state courts if we expected the feds to prosecute everything? Even OJ went to state court. Certainly, his victims' civil rights were taken away, but that's not the way the law was written. Was it a hate crime? And, so far, no one can prove racism in the Zimmerman case.

            I hope that makes sense, entlord.

            •  thank you for your patience in explaining (0+ / 0-)

              I was unaware that no charges meant no civil suit against him; I had always heeded the old saw, "anyone can sue anyone else for anything at any time"  Thanks for the clarification

  •  wasn't that a work product? My understanding (0+ / 0-)

    is that once a civil attorney is engaged by a client, any sort of ongoing investigation or review of facts is a work product and privileged.  Otherwise, the IRS could haul your tax attorney into court to testify about the process he and you went through in preparing your taxes.

    RE: esquire, what is it with wingers and this honorific?  I have seen other attorneys attacked for using it properly.  I have some vague recollection of someone being "called out" in previous months for using the title

  •  Not a SYG hearing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, admitted several months ago that the SYG law doesn't apply in his client's case. If I understand it correctly, and I may not, since so many in the media or others connected to this case keep referring to it as a 'SYG hearing', it's an immunity hearing based on Zimmerman's claim that he couldn't retreat.

    However, if the defense does go forward with the hearing that's to take place in April, the burden of proof will be on the defendant. In order to have any chance of winning, he has to take the stand, and in doing so, will open himself up to cross-examination. The prosecution will be able to use his own contradictory statements against him, as well as what he said during his interview on Sean Hannity's TV show, the forensic evidence and evidence from Trayvon's phone records and cell phone analysis against him. In other words, it would be like a mini trial, but I think the judge, if she decides against immunity, simply lets the case proceed to the trial that's scheduled for June.

    O'Mara has indicated that he might request a 'roll-in' of the immunity hearing with the regular trial, but that doesn't seem likely to happen.

  •  The real tragedy on this anniversary is that.... (0+ / 0-)

    (Former) Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, Jr and local prosecutor Norm Wolfinger believed no charges should have been filed against George Zimmerman in the wake of the killing, yet now the state's Special Prosecutor Angela Corey charges Murder 2.   IMO these two persons should be the subject of a credible outside investigation since it seems they were either corrupt, incompetent or racially biased when they should have taken action on this tragic incident and failed to do so.  The DoJ is NOT seemingly conducting such an investigation, and in fact announced at the time of their initial involvement that they were starting a probe to see if George Zimmerman violated Trayvon Martin's civil rights (ie, could be charged with a federal hate crime.)  

    The real tragedy here is that these two elected public officials have not faced the light of day for their curious actions/ inaction.  Within 48 hours of the killing, the Sanford Police investigators knew that George Zimmerman was lying about his whereabouts in the moments leading up to the killing, because of the inconsistencies, contradictions, omissions and obfuscation comprising his many statements to police.  Yet both Wolfinger and chief Bill Lee, Jr, refused to arrest and prefer charges against George Zimmerman.  

    Society will always have  "bad actors" like GZ, wannbe cops with easy access to handguns and less common sense than is good for the world.  But we have a duty to hold those on the public payroll to higher standards and Florida is a "sunshine state" where these principals of open government records and accountability are enshrined at the highest levels.  But don't be fooled: there is currently no evidence in the public record that any sort of credible outside agency is investigating the duo, or the actions of the Sanford Police Department in general.  And on this anniversary, THAT is what I am mourning and outraged about most.  

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