July 22, 2013

Alternate Juror E54 opens up about Zimmerman acquittal

Guests: Juror E54

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 22, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: We begin tonight with a "Hannity" exclusive, for the first time on national television one of the four alternate jurors in the George Zimmerman murder trial is breaking his silence. He is known only as Juror E54 and his agreed to appear on this program in silhouette in order to protect his privacy. Sir, thank you for being here.


HANNITY: All right. You were an alternate. Were you disappointed you were an alternate?

JUROR E54: Yes, I was. I was hoping to be able to go back and deliberate with the other jurors.

HANNITY: And you would have agreed with them. I know Valerie Boey interviewed you and you agreed with what the jury verdict was?

JUROR E54: That's correct. I did. Yes.

HANNITY: All right. What evidence stood out the most in your mind?

JUROR E54: Well, you know, it's several things. One was the non- emergency call by George Zimmerman. His mannerisms on the call. The Rachel Jeantel's testimony. The 911 call. The ear witnesses. The John Good's eyewitness testimony but mostly, I think the biggest thing was the injuries.

HANNITY: Yes. Tell us why were the injuries so important to you? Because you didn't need injuries in this case for justification or use of force.

JUROR E54: Well, that's true. But I think it demonstrated that there was a physical attack going on by Trayvon Martin to George Zimmerman.

HANNITY: Are you convinced the 911 call was George Zimmerman?

JUROR E54: I am by the -- by using some of the other testimony and some of the other evidence that I am convinced that that was him, yes.

HANNITY: Yes, the law and the jury instructions that were given were very clear. It says you have to believe force is needed to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm. Do you believe that George Zimmerman believed that in that moment?

JUROR E54: I think that he did and I base that on the fact that I believe that's him screaming. Just the nature of the screams made me believe that he was -- he felt that he was in imminent danger.

HANNITY: What did John Good, the only eyewitness in the case, what did his testimony mean to you?

JUROR E54: Well, I think that gave convincing evidence that Trayvon Martin was on top of George Zimmerman. John Good identified that George Zimmerman was the one on the bottom.

HANNITY: Yes. All right. Rachel Jeantel. Her testimony, she's got a lot of criticism by some, a lot of commentary, you said, her testimony was important to you, why?

JUROR E54: Well, I was able to take some of her testimony based on when her call with Trayvon Martin ended and when she reconnected. Some of the conversations that she was having with him at that time placed him out down by where his father was staying and at the same time -- and George Zimmerman's phone call with the no-emergency at the same time frame he was still up at the top of the tee.

HANNITY: Yes. Now, let me go back to the 911 call for just a minute. Because there was conflicting testimony and you think it was the injuries and John Good's testimony that told you it was probably George Zimmerman screaming?

JUROR E54: Yes. The screaming and John Good's eyewitness testimony.

HANNITY: You know, there was a weekend of protest I'm not sure if you're aware. But I assume probably you are and there's a push for civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. What is your reaction to that?

JUROR E54: Well, as far as the protests go, I completely understand and I can appreciate the public's passion towards Trayvon Martin. You know, but the public has the opportunity to judge the case on the basis of using their emotions and feelings and sympathies. And jurors -- as a jury you're not allowed to do that. And I think it's important for the public to realize that the jurors in this case had to use just the evidence that was presented to them in court. Had to apply it to the law.

And that was applicable to the case and then the jury instructions. There was no place -- and even the jury instructions specifies that there was no place in there for your returning a verdict for the use of your emotions and your feelings and I know it had to be hard for those jurors to overcome that.

HANNITY: You know, some are now even calling for the release of these jurors names. What is your reaction to that?

JUROR E54: Well, I think that should stay -- they should stay private as long as they can. As long as the court will allow.

HANNITY: You know, you're not identifying yourself here tonight. Are you concerned for your own safety?

JUROR E54: Yes. I am concerned still. My family is still concerned. I think -- and there's no reason to add -- you know, to add anymore risk to, you know, by becoming public.

HANNITY: How aware -- I'm just curious, how aware, during the trial, were you that the country was watching? You knew there were cameras in the courtroom but how aware were you that the country was watching?

JUROR E54: Well, I think we knew that they would be watching. We knew it was a high profile case. But there was no -- we had no visibility into it other than the cameras in the courtroom. We could not see what was going on outside. And we did not get any news or anything at all while we were being sequestered. We had no information at all coming in.

HANNITY: You had no radio, no television, no access to the newspapers?

JUROR E54: Correct. Whatever we had was monitored. If we got a newspaper, pieces were clipped out of it that were pertinent. TV was, you know, was monitored on what we could watch.

HANNITY: Did you gather any information of any racial animosity or racial profiling in this case.

JUROR E54: No. I didn't see anything on the evidence that was presented in court that there was racial profiling. He just identified Trayvon Martin as a suspicious and guy and, you know, I don't see anything in there at all related to race.

HANNITY: There was two -- one interview in this case was my interview with George Zimmerman and the other one was when the day after when he went with the police without a lawyer. Did George Zimmerman's testimony in his own words have an impact on you?

JUROR E54: No, I did not use those testimonies in my evaluation. I based it solely on his actual direct evidence of his telephone conversation in the non-emergency call.

HANNITY: What about the -- a lot of people saying, well, George Zimmerman should have just stayed in his car. You know, at one point, the 911 operator said where is he now and then later he said, we don't need you to do that meaning following him. How did you interpret that?

JUROR E54: Well, I think he got out of his car to observe. He lost sight of him and he just wanted to get an idea of where he was headed. He did tell the operator when he got out of the car, that he was headed down to the back entrance and he lost sight of him and I don't think he followed him. And he had every right to be there where he was.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this and it will be my last question to you. I have my own theory because I think this is a terrible tragedy but I do believe the jury came to the right verdict legally based on the evidence, the injuries, et cetera, as you do. I actually think it was a terrible misunderstanding that night. I think George Zimmerman, his neighborhood had a lot of crime, and so he saw somebody he didn't know close to a house and I think he was rightfully suspicious.

I have in my own head an idea that maybe Trayvon Martin was next to the house because it was raining heavy that night and then for whatever reason Trayvon felt threatened or didn't want to run away and he attacked George and this is what the result is. Do you have any thoughts on my theory or your own theory?

JUROR E54: Well, you know, both parties had the right to be where they were. Trayvon was innocent, you know, up until the point where he physically attacked or punched, you know, or beat George Zimmerman. And, you know, so he might have just been staying out of the rain. He was just talking to Rachel Jeantel and you know, just -- it just -- for some reason he came back to meet up with George and things happened the way they happened but they both had an opportunity to make decisions, other decisions and they didn't do.

HANNITY: All right. Thanks for being with us. I appreciate it. And I hope they don't release the names of jurors. I think it's unfair, especially in a high profile case but thank you for being with us.

JUROR E54: Thank you.

HANNITY: And thank you for serving.

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