Published April 25, 2012
Legal legend Alan Dershowitz blasted the special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case, accusing her of hiding evidence favorable to defendant George Zimmerman and committing perjury.
“If I were this prosecutor, I’d be hiring a lawyer at this point,” Dershowitz said of Angela Cory, the Florida state attorney and special prosecutor who Gov. Rick Scott appointed to handle the case.
Dershowitz leveled his bombshell charges in an interview Wednesday with Fox News' Megyn Kelly. The Harvard law professor, noted for winning an acquittal of Claus Von Bulow in the case that inspired the film “Reversal of Fortune,” said Cory overreached by charging Zimmerman with second-degree murder. And he said the affidavit she filed in support of the charges was illegal because it did not include evidence favorable to Zimmerman.
“This affidavit submitted by the prosecutor in the Florida case is a crime,” Dershowitz said. “It’s a crime.”
Zimmerman, 28, is a neighborhood watch captain who admits shooting the unarmed 17-year-old Martin on Feb. 26 after a confrontation in the gated community where he lives, but Zimmerman claims he acted in self-defense.
ABC News recently aired a photo purportedly taken minutes after the shooting that shows a bloody wound on the back of Zimmerman’s head. That photo appears to support Zimmerman’s contention that he was being beaten by the teen when he shot him.
But Cory made no mention of Zimmerman’s wounds or photos that might substantiate them when announcing the charge on April 11. Dershowitz said she was obligated to include any and all pertinent evidence.
“If she in fact knew about ABC News’ pictures of the bloody head of Zimmerman and failed to include that in the affidavit, this affidavit is not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Dershowitz said. “It’s a perjurious affidavit.”
Even worse, Dershowitz warned that by overcharging Zimmerman, Cory may have planted the seed for riots if he is acquitted, as Dershowitz predicted will happen.
“If there are riots, it will be the prosecutor’s fault because she overcharged, raised expectations,” Dershowitz said. “This prosecutor not only may have suborned perjury, she may be responsible, if there are going to be riots here, for raising expectations to unreasonable levels.”
He said it is quite possible Zimmerman was guilty of a lesser charge, but the affidavit does not support a second-degree murder charge.
“There’s nothing in this affidavit that suggests second-degree murder. The elements of second-degree murder aren’t here."
Dershowitz is not the first legal expert to question the second-degree murder charge. The Florida statute requires proof that the defendant acted in a manner that was “evincing a depraved mind.” Prominent Miami criminal defense attorney John Priovolos told The Associated Press the charge was a “huge overreach” and said Corey will be hard-pressed to show Zimmerman had the “ill will, spite, malice or hatred” needed to prove a “depraved mind.”
If convicted of the second-degree charge, Zimmerman could face a maximum sentence of life in prison. Cory could still add charges, and a jury could eventually convict him of a “lesser included” charge, such as reckless manslaughter.
When announcing the charge, Cory expressed confidence in her team’s case.
"We have to have a reasonable certainty of conviction before filing charges," Cory said.
But Dershowitz said Cory is the one who should be facing charges, arguing that her prosecution of the case has already taken a political turn.
“She was appointed to get Zimmerman,” Dershowitz said.