After another dramatic day of dicey testimony and legal maneuvers in the George Zimmerman murder trial, the prosecution rested and the judge denied the defense’s request for Judgment of Acquittal based on lack of evidence.
I guess there’s just no way judge Debra Nelson was going to make the call on her own, given the ominous gravity of promised violence and even murder from mobs and mobs of “Trayvonistas.”
The day started out with dishonesty under oath on the witness stand from Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sabrina Fulton, during opening testimony.
When asked, under cross-examination by defense attorney Mark O’Mara, about the first time the audiotape of a witnesses’s 911 call was played for her, Fulton eventually said something utterly preposterous (I’m not merely referring to her claiming that the screams for help on the tape were from Trayvon).
The tape was first played for her, allegedly, at the Sanford mayor’s office in a room full of lawyers and others, including Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump and the mayor of Sanford. O’Mara asked her if anyone in the room had told Ms. Fulton (known by some bloggers as “TradeMom” for trademarking/commercializing her deceased son’s first name) anything regarding the contents of the tape before they played it for her, as a way of preparing her for what she was about to hear. Fulton said no, nobody gave her any indication of the nature of what she was about to hear.
If anyone reading this actually thinks that that gathering of schemers all got together in the mayor’s office to play the tape for Martin’s mother without first at least giving her a description of what it was, where it was from, and why it was important, then I have a health care plan to sell you.
The obvious prevarication didn’t end with that. O’Mara moved on, posing the idea to Fulton that if she were to consider the alternative, that the screams on the tape were not those of Trayvon, then of course she would have to conclude that they were from the accused, George Zimmerman; and therefore that her son had caused his own death–wouldn’t she?. Fulton hemmed and hawed, then indignantly claimed she didn’t understand the question. Where I come from, we call that bovine scat; of course she understood the question. She just refused to answer it, pretending she didn’t get it.
O’Mara then slightly altered the approach, suggesting very gently that it would naturally be her hope that her son would not have caused his own death, wouldn’t it? Fulton again evaded, pretending to need O’Mara to repeat the question and clarify it, which he very politely did. Again, Fulton tried to deflect by defiantly saying she would instead hope that the incident never happened, that her son would still be alive, etc.–and when O’Mara asked one more time, she stubbornly insisted that she didn’t understand the question. O’Mara tenderly gave up, ending his cross-examination there.
Now, before you go thinking O’Mara was some kind of callous bully beating up on a grieving mother who lost a son, be advised that he had tried to open his cross examination with a heartfelt statement of apology for her loss, but that he was cut off mid-sentence by an objection from the prosecution’s table–on the grounds that his gesture was not an actual question to the witness–and judge Nelson sustained the objection. You tell me who is heartless in that exchange.
Trayvon Martin’s older brother, Jahvaris Fulton, then took the stand, and said not what he’d originally said when he’d first heard the tape. He had originally said that he couldn’t say that it was his brother’s voice yelling for help, but in court he testified that it was. O’Mara began a meticulous impeachment of his testimony on a related timeline of a previous statement captured on an audio recording, but judge Nelson interrupted O’Mara and declared the impeachment to be inappropriate, forbidden for O’Mara to carry out.
Next we saw a train-wreck of non-testimony from the Chinese immigrant medical examiner who did the autopsy on Trayvon Martin. It would have been comical if it wasn’t so annoyingly awful and pointless. Dr. Shiping Bao’s English was halting and heavily-accented, which was not the real problem. Incidentally, the state of Florida apparently finds and hires medical examiners (remember Dr. Rao from last week? Rao & Bao, eh) by importing the most culturally-incompatible foreign voodoo practitioners from all corners of the planet, with whom attempting communication is worse than dying itself if you are a creepy-azz, English-speaking cracka such as myself.
From the witness stand, Bao basically tried to hijack the proceedings, going rogue and actually trying to argue about trial procedure and the nature of legal testimony with defense attorney Don West and whoever else might try to get him to cooperate. Instead of just answering questions, Bao wanted to speak up whenever he felt like it, and ask questions of his own! He tried to lecture the court about the way things should go. I was ready to murder the guy myself just to get him off the stand.
Bao balked at answering questions regarding his professional, medical opinion, protesting defiantly that he was under oath (to West, “I’m under oath, do you understand? If I give my opinion, it’s not fact! It’s not fact!”) and that he could change his opinion at any time from what it was weeks ago, to what it was an two days ago, from hour to hour, and so on. Again and again, he tried to interrupt his testimony to pontificate on the difference between opinion and fact, as if the attorneys before him needed to be told. West grew visibly incredulous at the piece of work before him, and made me respect him even more for his sheer patience. Even judge Nelson, normally willing to endlessly indulge any witness’ difficult conduct if it caused problems for the defense, sort of tried to get the guy to shape up.