OTR Interviews

'On the Record' Legal Panel Breakdown: Zimmerman alternate juror speaks out

'On the Record' legal panel breaks down alternate juror's take on the trial and acquittal of George Zimmerman

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 17, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a "Fox News Alert," an alternate juror telling all, all about the George Zimmerman trial! Tonight, you will hear what you have never heard before!

But first, did alternate juror E-54 agree with the verdict? He spoke exclusively with Fox Orlando's Valerie Boey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VALERIE BOEY, FOX ORLANDO: E-54, thank you so much for being here today. First of all, what did you think of the verdict?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I was -- I supported the verdict. I agree with it.

BOEY: And was there anything in the evidence, in the testimony that really came out at you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the things that I focused on when I was -- when I was -- when I was doing my own little -- my own little deliberation was the non-emergency phone call. I did pick up on some things out of Rachel Jeantel's testimony, Trayvon Martin's phone records, or her phone records when they were talking. The...

BOEY: Of course, Rachel Jeantel is the friend that Trayvon Martin was talking to right before the shooting, on the cell phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct. Yes. Yes. And the earwitness -- I call them the earwitnesses, the ones that heard the noises, which way the noises were going. They helped me fill the gap and then a couple of the eyewitnesses. And I think -- but I think the one thing that stands out the most is the injuries to Mr. Zimmerman.

BOEY: What did you think of neighbor John Good's testimony? Talked about MMA style, ground and pound.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I mean, you know, what I -- I got from that was -- was just the motions he saw, you know, whether it was ground and pound or MMA, you know, it didn't -- it wasn't relevant to me. It was just the motions and the fact that who he saw on top and who he thought was on the bottom. I think those were the more relevant features of his testimony to me.

BOEY: Did you think Rachel Jeantel was credible?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think -- oh, I did have some -- I did pick up some credible information from her, so yes, I do think she was credible.

BOEY: And whose voice do you think was on the 911 call?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I -- personally, I can't tell you who it was. But from the witnesses' testimonies and from the injuries to George Zimmerman, I believe it to be him.

BOEY: You believe that it was George Zimmerman voice?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BOEY: And so you would have voted not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.

BOEY: What did you think of B-37, the juror who spoke out? Did you see that interview?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did, yes. I'll be honest with you, I was surprised that anybody could come out that quickly and talk about this. I know that when I -- when I got done and was released and was asked about what I thought, I -- I didn't know where to start, I didn't know what to say.

And so I was a little surprised that she came out as quickly as she did. I'm not surprised that it might have been -- that it was her that came out. But you know, I just -- I just think that that was a little bit too soon.

BOEY: And what's your reaction to all the protests, demonstrations and talks of a Civil Rights complaint now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. I just don't understand the Civil Right complaint. I didn't see the evidence there that -- in the courtroom that would make anybody believe there's a Civil Rights case for this.

The protests -- you know, people are going to be angry no matter what the verdict was, and there's nothing we can do about that. So I just hope that they're peaceful, and you know, they just do it, you know, as calmly and as best they can, you know, and there's not destruction and not hatred and not, you know, a lot of anger towards the jurors.

BOEY: I know -- from the news perspective, you know, we talked about some of the key witnesses, whether it be John Good or Rachel Jeantel. Who to you were the key witnesses?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think one key witness to me was George Zimmerman during the non-emergency call. I mean, as far as I'm concerned, that was -- that was -- it was direct evidence of what he was doing and how he was communicating. And I think that was the key to his mentality at the time.

You know, there was a lot of emphasis on whether he was showing ill will, spite or hatred, and I didn't see that. There was no evidence to support that in that phone call.

BOEY: So you didn't think he was profiling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I didn't think he was profiling. No, there's no evidence to characterize that. I think he characterized Trayvon Martin as a suspected -- or as a suspicious character, suspicious person, and that was all.

BOEY: And then what else was there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, another key thing for me was the tying (ph) -- or Rachel Jeantel's testimony to when she was on the phone with Trayvon. And you know, you can't really -- you really -- you can't say what she was saying when except for when the phone disconnected. And then she called back and she called to talk to him again.

At that point, Trayvon said he had lost the man and he was at this -- this -- where his father was staying. He was at that place. At the same time of that -- that happening, George Zimmerman had only just gotten out of his car about 25, 30 seconds. So he was still up at the T.

And Trayvon, according to Jeantel's -- or Rachel's testimony, would have been down the other end of the buildings at that point. So somehow, those two got back together up at the top of the T.

And you know, we don't know how that happened but -- and in all likelihood, in my mind, you know, even if George Zimmerman had walked down to where Trayvon was, they both walked back up to the T. So that would have implied that Trayvon had followed George Zimmerman back up.

If George Zimmerman didn't walk down there, then Trayvon walked up, back up to the T somehow because then the earwitnesses heard the noises up there, most of the earwitnesses, I believe. One of them said the noises went the other direction. But the majority of them had the noises coming from the top of the T down to the truck where -- where John Good saw him laying on the ground, or Trayvon on top of George Zimmerman.

And I believe that John Good said that it was -- I believe -- I believed that it was Zimmerman because he had the color of the jacket that he had.

And so tying all those together and the injuries that George Zimmerman had, that's where I -- that's where I came to my conclusion that it was justifiable.

BOEY: B-37 criticized Zimmerman for not going back to his car. What do you have to say about that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, there's -- there's -- I was fine with that. I mean, you know, he was -- he was -- I think at the time, he was trying to keep an observation and communicate to the police and was not being confrontational. He had the right to be where he was. And you know, I don't have -- I don't think he had to go back to his car.

BOEY: When Dr. Bao, took the stand, the medical examiner, what was going through your mind?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was trying to figure out what was going on with -- you know, a guy in his -- with his expertise, I understand he can't -- I understand that they're not going to be able to remember their autopsies from two years ago or a year ago, every one of their autopsies that they do. I would think -- I would think that he would have prepared himself better with the notes from his autopsy, rather than spending time researching why people can't remember things, because that wasn't relevant.

So I was confused about what -- you know, about all that with him, you know. You know, that probably best stands out in my mind with him.

BOEY: Were there other witnesses that confused you just as much?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I should remember this. I'm just drawing a blank now.

BOEY: How about that DNA, going through all that DNA? Was that tough to follow?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was interesting. That's one of the things that I was focused on. You know, I'm -- it was looking -- looking for the evidence and looking for what's there, you know? And so no, it wasn't hard to follow that for me.

BOEY: Was it to tough to look at some of the pictures of Trayvon Martin's body, listening to those 911 calls of -- you know, the screaming of whether it was him or Zimmerman?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, for me, it wasn't. I was -- I was just focused on -- on what I was hearing and what I was seeing and not what it was, not who it was.

BOEY: Did you ever look over at the families when all that was going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No.

BOEY: Purposely?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes.

BOEY: What was the importance of that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Out of respect, my respect for them. You know, the -- you know, it was hard enough for them to see it. And you know, I had no right to be looking and seeing how they were reacting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us, our legal panel. In Orlando, Diana Tennis, in San Francisco, Jim Hammer, and here in Washington, Bernie Grimm and Ted Williams.

Ted, first to you because you sat through much of the trial, or some of the trial. Your thought?

TED WILLIAMS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY/FORMER D.C. HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: Well, I sat through the trial, and I've listened to this alternate juror. As a matter of fact, I think I know who this alternate juror is because I was very observant of the jury.

I think he called it the way he saw it. I mean, he focused specifically on the injuries. He apparently, you could see, looked at the "stand your ground" portion of it as here.

I don't have a problem with this juror, Greta. Look, The prosecutors and the defense had to present evidence to this jury. They presented the evidence. Some of this evidence was very flimsy, and to be candid with you, I don't believe some of this evidence should have come in. But the jurors did their job, I believe.

VAN SUSTEREN: Diana, you were also there listening to this juror. Do you think he paid attention and was weighing the evidence, or you think he's in any way irresponsible or anything else? You have respect for him or not?

DIANA TENNIS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it's not in me to not respect a juror. So that's a tough question, Greta. I mean, could...

VAN SUSTEREN: Me, too, by the way.

TENNIS: I think when you get the fresh perspective of a juror -- and keep in mind, this is not somebody who had the advantage of poring through 13 hours worth of reviewing the evidence and every single tape and every single video that the regular jury got to go through.

This guy put all this together alone, without anybody else helping with his memory or perspective or assisting his recollection in any way. So I think that's pretty impressive.

I think it's important for us to see the jurors' perspective. The first juror that came out -- I thought she seemed a bit racially biased just in the assumptions she made about Trayvon Martin and his motivation and what he was up to.

This juror really seemed to focus on just kind of, Here's what the evidence was, this is the pieces of the puzzle I had. I didn't hear from him anything that cued me in to he thought that Trayvon Martin should be blamed for anything or that he was up to no good or anything like that.

I'm hoping that the more the public hears about this, the more they'll get that there's validity, that this was a reasonable conclusion to come to.

VAN SUSTEREN: Jim, your thoughts listening to this alternate juror?

JIM HAMMER, FORMER ASSISTANT SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, the one thing to emphasize -- and Greta, you made this point -- is this is one of the jurors that the prosecution picked. So for all the grousing about this jury, this was a person hand-picked by the prosecutor in this case.

And having listened to him, you know, there's evidence in the case, there's the law, but there's also something -- jurors take sides at the end of the day. Do you think the defendant is culpable, think he's a guilty guy? And to quote this guy, he said, I don't think that Zimmerman was being confrontational, and he didn't have to go back to his car. He had a right where he was.

At the end of the day, this juror didn't find fault with Zimmerman. He thought he was a law-abiding citizen. He took the side of Zimmerman. And that's one of the big reasons the prosecution lost this case. The DA failed to convince this juror at least it was Zimmerman's fault.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, the added fact that he said -- he said that he believed Trayvon was on top of the defendant and that...

HAMMER: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... and he was -- paid attention to the injuries that George Zimmerman had...

HAMMER: Exactly.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... as bearing heavily on his thoughts. Bernie?

BERNIE GRIMM, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Great comments by the panel, but the one that struck me as the most compelling is Ted's comment, which is he thinks he knows who this alternate is. It's a man. There were six women on the jury, Ted.

(LAUGHTER)

GRIMM: You got a chance to be 50 percent right. But in answer to the question...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: I didn't want to give it away, Bernie.

VAN SUSTEREN: Should we both hit Bernie? Should we both hit Bernie?

HAMMER: He's a detective, Bernie. He's a detective!

WILLIAMS: I'm going to hit him...

GRIMM: I think I know who this is.

(LAUGHTER)

GRIMM: This is -- this is fascinating, though, Greta. You get...

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: It was so cold in there and so hard to see from where we were. But go on, Bernie.

(LAUGHTER)

GRIMM: At any rate, this is fascinating, to get inside the mind of a juror. People say jurors don't pay attention. This guy knew every single detail. He remembered testimony. He was able to weigh credibility. I mean, it's just simply fascinating.

This guy came to work. And whether you like the verdict or not -- I think Greta said it last week, there's no winners in this case. Nobody wins in this case. But this juror believes he would have gone with the verdict. And he did his homework, that's for sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: But if the goal of the jury is to listen and to weigh the facts and not listen to the noise or the emotion or the passion, which, you know -- I know people genuinely feel because, you know, this -- it's always terrible when there's a death. But this juror was actually very dispassionate. I mean, so far, we've only heard facts.

GRIMM: He's very objective, didn't think somebody was a liar, didn't like the way that person looked. That's something to evaluate. But I thought this -- I mean, he really did his homework. It was very impressive.

VAN SUSTEREN: You got the sense, too, Ted...

WILLIAMS: I got the same sense. I really wanted to punch Bernie Grimm, but I'll do that later.

(LAUGHTER)

WILLIAMS: But in a serious vein, I felt he was credible. And what I liked about this was -- everybody's been dumping on Rachel Jeantel, and at least this juror found her to be credible. And I think that when you look at that instance where this question mark is where Trayvon is either coming towards Zimmerman or Zimmerman is coming toward Trayvon, that appears to be the confusion with the jury.

VAN SUSTEREN: But the interesting thing about Rachel Jeantel, I thought, is that she actually didn't hurt the defense. You know, that's -- I mean, she was a -- she was sort of a -- you know, an interesting character -- interesting person on the witness stand, but not atypical. (INAUDIBLE) all walks of life on the witness stand.

WILLIAMS: Well, she didn't hurt them. I thought West was somewhat bullying toward Rachel Jeantel and I felt that that was unacceptable. I thought that he lowered himself when he started talking about her education and could she speak English.

VAN SUSTEREN: Manners. But that's manners...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: ... that was horrible for a lawyer.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... manners or tactic or strategy, whatever, but her -- what she said was evidence. And Bernie, she didn't seem to -- I mean, she -- I didn't think she hurt the defense. Obviously not.

GRIMM: No, I mean, a lot of the commentators said she was the star witness. I don't see how she was the star witness.

WILLIAMS: She wasn't.

GRIMM: And for our viewers at home, because you call that person first doesn't mean this is your star witness.

VAN SUSTEREN: And because someone may be sort of outstanding or dramatic or has some other, you know, aspect of it that stands out doesn't mean they're the star witness. It's what you say.