So pro-Zimmerman blogs and websites are excoriating Judge Nelson’s granting of summary judgment against Zimmerman in his defamation lawsuit against NBC. One however, stands out: Zimmerman Libel Suit Against NBC Thrown Out, Posted by Andrew Branca, Monday, June 30, 2014, Legal Insurrection
Mr. Branca opines “In my nearly 20 years of focusing my legal practice exclusively on self-defense cases, Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin is by far the cleanest, legally speaking, self-defense shooting I have ever seen brought to trial.”
That is an astonishing statement considering just how feeble George Zimmerman’s self-defense claim was. What kinds of self-defense cases Mr. Branca has experienced if this is the cleanest one he’s seen? Let’s look at the evidence that supports Zimmerman’s version of what happened!
1. George Zimmerman’s un-cross-examined statements to Sanford police detectives & his friendly interview with Sean Hannity.
2. John Good’s testimony that he believes he saw Trayvon Martin on top of George Zimmerman with his hands moving up and down.
3. Zimmerman had some abrasions on the back of his head and a bloody nose.
4. Dr. Vincent Di Maio’s expert opinion that George Zimmerman injuries were caused by concrete and that Martin was leaning over him when he shot him.
Did I leave something out? This is the “cleanest, legally speaking, self-defense shooting?” Mr. Branca has ever seen?
There is a great deal of evidence that contradicts Zimmerman’s self-defense claim, much more than supports it! My post George Zimmerman Did Not Kill Trayvon Martin In Self-Defense lays out much of this. I don’t want to be redundant so, I’ll attempt to highlight some of the more blatant absurdities contained in Zimmerman’s “story.”
1. Zimmerman claims that Martin viciously attacked him punching in the face and slamming his head on the concrete over 12+ times.
•Zimmerman had injuries but not ones that matched the severity of the attack he described, according to Serino. If Trayvon had been banging Zimmerman’s head on the sidewalk, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer should have had skull fractures, not just cuts, Serino said.
•There were no defensive wounds on Zimmerman’s hands and just one small scrape on a finger of Trayvon’s left hand, Serino said — little evidence of life-and-death struggle.
Zimmerman changes details, makes claims inconsistent with other evidence, June 27, 2012, By ene Stutzman and Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel
Zimmerman’s injuries did not even begin to reflect what he claimed happened to him, not even close! His own attorney in closing argument admitted that he had exaggerated what had happened. Another word for exaggerated is “lied.” So Zimmerman’s credibility is so low it might scare earthworms who would wonder what that thing is moving among them! That is a problem when his story is the “best” evidence of what happened!
2. Zimmerman claimed that he only shot Martin because he was pounding his head on the cement and saw and was reaching for his gun, thus he feared death or great bodily injury. He said once he shot Martin, Martin fell forward on top of him.
As can plainly be seen in photos of Martin’s body, his head’s final resting place was several feet from the concrete. That contradicts Zimmerman’s claim that he shot Martin as he was pounding his head on the cement. Martin was killed instantly and Zimmerman claims he fell forward on top of him. So, Martin’s head would have been right next to the sidewalk. Well it’s not even close.
It is very hard to imagine how Martin could have seen Zimmerman’s gun in the dark and rain, when it was behind his hip. Remember neither Martin’s fingerprints nor DNA were found on the gun and only two stains on Zimmerman’s jacket could be attributed to Martin.
3. Zimmerman claimed that he only left his vehicle to get an address to give an address to the dispatcher.
Zimmerman left his vehicle as soon as Martin ran, pursued him and did not return to his car for about 2 minutes. He arguably initiated the confrontation. This action of course completely violated the principles laid out in Mr. Branca’s book Law of Self-Defense however that means nothing to him. Read my post: Andrew Branca’s Embarrassing Wager Contradicts His Book. Moreover it completely violated the Neighborhood Watch regulations against being armed and chasing suspects. One would think that would cause some “legal” considerations especially since Zimmerman did not identify himself and legally speaking could be seen as the aggressor. Read: Zimmerman Killed Martin Because All Unknown Young Black Males Were Burglars To Him Cops: Zimmerman had 2 chances to talk to Trayvon, June 27, 2012,Rene Stutzman and Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel
4. Rachel Jeantel testified that Martin was frighted about Zimmerman and Zimmerman initiated the confrontation.
Now, you don’t have to believe her testimony but it surely called Zimmerman’s self-defense claim into question and also Mr. Branca’s superlative that it was the best he’d ever seen!
5. Dr. Vincent Di Maio’s is an expert witness who simply offered an expert opinion which could be rejected or accepted. Keep in mind that his expert opinions have been rejected in two high-profile cases. Read: Is Dr. Vincent Di Maio’s Expert Opinion Fact? No!
6. John Good said that he saw Trayvon Martin on top of George Zimmerman.
Well his testimony diminished in its breadth from his initial statements to law enforcement and what he testified to at trial. In his initial statement to the police he claimed he saw Martin raining blows down on Zimmerman MMA style and heard Zimmerman crying for help. Read John Good’s Statements to Law Enforcement. However, during the trial he said he saw Martin’s hands moving up and down but could not be sure he was striking Zimmerman. He also could not say that they were on the concrete. He did not see the beginning or the end of the fight. He could not say for certain that it was Zimmerman screaming for help. If Martin had been raining blows down on Zimmerman, Zimmerman would have much more serious injuries! Remember, Martin had one abrasion on his knuckle and Zimmerman had no defensive or other wounds on his hands. Additionally, other witnesses claimed they saw Zimmerman on top of Martin. Read my post: Does John Good’s Testimony Support Zimmerman’s Story? Nope!
The point here is not to relitigate the Zimmerman case. It is to appraise Mr. Branca’s claim that Zimmerman’s self-defense case was “by far the cleanest, legally speaking, self-defense shooting [he] [has] ever seen brought to trial.” That is a ludicrous. He must not have seen many self-defense claims or he has a gift for hyperbole! His total embrace of Zimmerman’s self-defense claim is breathtaking in its certitude when one considers just how tenuous that claim was!
No, you do not need to have injuries to make a SD claim but George Zimmerman volunteered that his head was viciously slammed on the concrete 12+ times. Does it not matter that there is no evidence for this but Mr. Zimmerman’s story? That’s good enough for Mr. Branca who is not high on critical or dispassionate thinking!