For the first time, George Zimmerman is coming face to face with the people who could decide his fate. The complicated task of selecting a jury is underway in the trial for the neighborhood watch volunteer facing murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin.
CNN's George Howell is covering the trial.
Criminal Defense Attorney Danny Cevallos is on 'Starting Point' talking with John Berman and Christine Romans about the present complications facing the prosecution in George Zimmerman's trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin. Cevallos says this 'will be a very tough case for the prosecution,' despite all the media attention this case has received.
Jury selection in the case will begin on Monday.
Jose Baez weighs in on the Trayvon Martin case on 'Starting Point' with John Berman and Christine Romans. Defendant George Zimmerman's attorney will ask for an additional six week delay for the trial. The Defense's requests were denied. Zimmerman's trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin will begin on June 10, 2013.
The brother of the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year is now embroiled in some controversy of his own. Robert Zimmerman recently sent a series of tweets that many found controversial or even racist.
Zimmerman posted side-by-side images of Martin and De'Marquise Elkins, one of the teens arrested in the shooting of a baby in Florida, giving the middle finger, with the caption, "A picture speaks a thousand words: Any questions?"
George Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara joins Starting Point this morning to discuss the outrage over his client's brothers tweets.
"I’m not sure where his heart was but I’ve always said that we have to have a conversation about race and the Zimmerman case has brought it to the forefront, particularly the way young black males are treated in the system," O'Mara says. "These types of tweets, these types of comments were insensitive to that and quite honestly were the opposite of what I hope the conversation would be to try to figure out what’s wrong with the system and a good way to fix it."
When asked whether or not he's concerned about Robert Zimmerman's comments affecting his case, O'Mara responds "absolutely."
"Quite honestly, I worry about everything and how it may affect the case. Everything that happens in this case is, if not overblown, hyper focused upon so that everything George says or does is important. Certainly, when a family member for my client says something that comes across as wholly insensitive if not much, much worse then it’s going to have an effect and we’re going to have to deal with it" O'Mara explains.
George Zimmerman's brother Robert is facing a major backlash over controversial tweets he sent comparing Trayvon Martin to De'Marquise Elkins, one of the teens arrested in the shooting of a baby in Florida.
In one tweet, Zimmerman writes that the liberal media should "ask if what these [two] black teens did [to] a woman&baby is the reason [people] think blacks might be risky."
Zimmerman has apologized, saying that he was simply trying to generate discussion about the media and it's portrayal of his brother and Trayvon Martin.
Trayvon Martin's family attorney Benjamin Crump discusses Robert Zimmerman's tweets on Starting Point this morning and comments on the content of an interview from "witness 9," revealed to be a cousin of George Zimmerman.
In the interview, Zimmerman's cousin says, "growing up, they've always made - him and his family have always made statements that they don't like black people, if they don't act like white people. They like black people, if they act white. And other than that, they talk a lot of bad things about black people."
Crump discusses Robert Zimmerman's tweets in relation to the interview from "witness 9," saying, "within 72 hours after Trayvon was murdered, she called the Sanford police department to say that she knows George Zimmerman, she knows he’s confrontational, she knows he doesn't like black people. She went on farther to say that his brother, mother, sister and father don’t like black people. So when you look at these tweets of Robert Zimmerman... he didn't say Trayvon Martin, he said blacks, meaning the entire black race, that tweet tends to be very consistent in supporting what his cousin said when she first called the Sanford police department."
Vigils across the country marked the first anniversary of the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. On Tuesday in New York City, Trayvon's parents were joined by hundreds of supporters for what they called the "Million Hoodie March." Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx was among those who spoke.
George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing Martin on February 26th of last year, is awaiting trial for second-degree murder, which is set to begin June 10. This morning, Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara talks with Soledad on “Starting Point” to discuss the anniversary of the shooting as well as the next steps in the murder trial.
In April, O’Mara and his client will have the opportunity to ask the court to dismiss the charges under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law at an immunity hearing. O’Mara says the case is “a self-defense case” because his client “did not have the chance to retreat; so calling it a "Stand Your Ground" law is really not accurate.”
Regarding the public opinion of his client, O’Mara says things have improved since the initial reporting of the story.
Over the past year O’Mara says, “people have finally decided to wait or they've looked at the other information that has come out to see there are not only two sides to the story.” He adds, “it really looks at though the evidence supports George did not do anything wrong and that he was after the initial coming together confronted and injured by Trayvon.”
“It’s horrible to say when you’re talking about a young 17-year-old who’s now passed away that he may have caused his own death but the injuries that George had support nothing but that he was attacked by Trayvon and that he was fighting for his life,” O'Mara says.
"The evidence doesn't support anything that George is the aggressor in the fight. Trayvon had no injuries on him but for the fatal gunshot and George had significant injuries to his face and to his back. I know the prosecutor's position but they have to have the forensic evidence to support it,” O'Mara adds.
One year ago today, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot to death by George Zimmerman, who claims he was attacked and shot Martin in self defense. Martin's family, however, claims that the unarmed teen was racially profiled.
Since their son's death, Martin's parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton have been advocating against gun violence and they sit down with Soledad on Starting Point this morning to discuss their efforts.
"We're doing this for Trayvon," Fulton explains. "We're doing this so we can help other kids, the other teenagers who have been shot and killed through senseless gun violence. We feel like we need to do something about it as parents. I have a son on earth and a son in heaven, and I'm going to do my best as a parent to work on both."
Criminal defense attorney Anne Bremner on George Zimmerman's first interview & breaks down the conflicts in his claims.
Trayvon Martin's parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, along with attorney Ben Crump, react to George Zimmerman's interview with FOX News's Sean Hannity.
"My first thought was that I wish that Trayvon was here to tell his side of the story," Sybrina Fulton tells Soledad. "We're just hearing one side of what actually happened."
Family attorney Ben Crump says the FOX interview will be 'a gift' to the prosecution in the case.
"I think George Zimmerman's credibility is at issue," Crump says. "Everybody in America like the judge has said his credibility is completely in question."
See more clips from the interview below. Transcript available after the jump.
In an exclusive interview on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Trayvon Martin's parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin say that the "Stand Your Ground" law needs to be fixed, and George Zimmerman's wife Shellie Zimmerman's perjury charge shows her "intentions were to hide things."
Fulton and Martin were on "Starting Point" to discuss the first meeting of the "Stand Your Ground" Task Force, set up by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, to review the state's law. Zimmerman has repeatedly claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot 17-year-old Trayvon on Feb. 26th, and legal experts pointed to the state's "Stand Your Ground" law as possibly granting him immunity in the case.
"I'm not opposed to the law," Fulton says. "I just think they need to take a look at the law...and really fix it."
Attorney Benjamin Crump says that the law encourages vigilantism, and an amendment is needed to clarify the law. "You can't initiate a confrontation and then say 'I was standing my ground,'" Crump says.
Soledad asks Tracy Martin about his new initiative to enlist dads across the country to repeal "Stand Your Ground" laws in their states. He says he's continuing Trayvon's legacy through this work, and he has to continue to spearhead this initiative.
"I fell that I have to stay out in front, and make sure this reaches the heart of America just to be that leader for the dads out there that don't have a voice right now," Martin says.
The family also responded to the arrest of George Zimmerman's wife Shellie, who was charged with perjury for lying about the couple's finances during her husband's April bond hearing. A review of bank records shows Shellie moved $74,000 from her husband's account into her own just a few days before that hearing.
"The court system was betrayed...[Shellie Zimmerman's] intentions were to hide things," Martin says.
See more from the interview in the clips below.
Trayvon Martin's parents Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin ask dads to help repeal "Stand Your Ground" laws in their states.
Trayvon Martin's parents Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin and attorney Ben Crump on Shellie Zimmerman's arrest for perjury.