Okay, let us pretend that George Zimmerman wins his appeal and the case is sent back to the trial court. He could not be deposed or forced to testify in the criminal case because of the 5th Amendment. That does not provide a safe harbor in a civil suit. Truth is an absolute defense to libel or defamation. So, if the NBC could show that Zimmerman is a racist with a preponderance of the evidence, which is the standard in a civil lawsuit, they would win. Even if NBC is be found to have acted maliciously, there will be the issue of the amount of damages that should be assessed, i.e., how much damage did they do to Zimmerman’s reputation, snicker. I would say NBC drilled a hole in a boat that was already sitting on the ocean floor. Anyway, NBC attorneys will be given wide latitude regarding the questions they can ask Zimmerman. One can believe that NBC has much more competent lawyers than the state prosecutors, who appeared to be in the courtroom just because their clown car took a wrong turn.
During the criminal trial, in closing arguments, Mark O’Mara, indicated that one of the reasons Zimmerman found Martin suspicious was because he was a young, African-American male…just like the perpetrators of the burglaries that had been taking place in the neighborhood. He stated that “unfortunately”, Martin “matched the description” of those burglars. That “description” was based solely on his race, age and sex. That sounds like a form of racial profiling to me. Read: Mark O’Mara Wants to Have An Honest Dialogue on Race? Cough!
George Zimmerman never testified or was cross-examined in the criminal trial. The state saved him that inconvenience by putting all his self-serving statements to detectives and Sean Hannity into evidence. The defense simply relied on those to tell Zimmerman’s story. Hannity treated Zimmerman with a reverence befitting of a visiting deity or alien. The Sanford detectives simply allowed Zimmerman to tell his story with minimum intervention.
The one interrogation where Zimmerman was actually challenged about some of the more incredulous aspects of his story was not videotaped. Here is the transcript Transcript of 3rd Tape of Investigators Serino and Singleton interviewing Zimmerman. I highlighted some of the incredulities the detectives challenged in this post: Zimmerman Ultimately Killed Martin Because Unknown Young Black Males Were Burglars To Him
In that interview, Zimmerman admitted that he did not immediately return to his vehicle for almost 90 seconds, despite the fact that it was only 30 feet away. He claimed he was still looking for an address, however, he never gave the dispatcher an address. The detectives suspected that he was looking for Martin with a flashlight. They also expressed concern that though Zimmerman claimed that Martin covered his mouth and nose, the screaming on the 911 tapes never stopped as if he were being smothered. Please read the post: Trayvon Martin’s Killer Trolls for More Dollars by Offering to Sell his Signed Autograph, Frederick Leatherman Law Blog
How credible will George Zimmerman appear testifying and being cross-examined as NBC will most likely have his deposition videotaped? He will be forced to explain why much of his rendition is in conflict with the evidence. In addition to questions surrounding Zimmerman’s decision to leave his truck and not immediately return to it, he could be questioned on other aspects of the tragedy. Ironically, this lawsuit could be a proxy for what should have happened in the criminal trial.
Zimmerman claims Martin ambushed him, slammed his head on the concrete 12+ times, saw his gun, reached for it, and only then did he shoot him. However, the evidence suggests that if Martin struck Zimmerman, it did so once because he saw Zimmerman as a threat, understandably. Remember that Martin had only one abrasion on his finger and Zimmerman had no defense wounds. Zimmerman’s injuries to his face and back of his head simply do not reflect what he claims Martin did to him.
•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, Rene Stutzman and Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel
Moreover, the DNA evidence does not support Zimmerman’s narrative and actually contradicts it. Additionally, it would have been very difficult for Martin to see Zimmerman’s gun in the dark and the rain. Zimmerman claims he shot Martin as he was slamming his head on the sidewalk yet Martin’s body was found several feet from the sidewalk. I have highlighted many of what is incredulous in Zimmerman’s story in many of my posts and why I, and others, do not believe he shot Martin in self-defense. Read my post: George Zimmerman Did Not Kill Trayvon Martin In Self-Defense and Andrew Branca Has Never Seen a Self-Defense Claim He Did Not Embrace?
Zimmerman’s deposition, should it occur, will force Zimmerman to do more than simply tell his story. He will also have to defend it and I believe it is indefensible.