Role race politics played in George Zimmerman case

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," July 12, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: The case is now in the hands of the jury. Should the case have even gone to trial?

Geraldo Rivera says race politics forced Florida to pursue a weak case against Zimmerman and blames civil rights activists like Al Sharpton for getting Zimmerman prosecuted in the first place.


GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS HOST: This was a case brought because of political pressure. Race politics in this country, I hate to say it -- I hold Reverend Al Sharpton in higher regard than many of my colleagues, I won't speak for any of you presently, but I think I do. But I strongly believe that the Reverend Al is the catalyst behind the murder charge six weeks after the incident.


BOLLING: Here is what Sharpton said back in March of 2012.


REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We are tired of going to jail for nothing and others going home for something. Zimmerman should have been arrested that night. Don't talk to us like we're stupid, don't talk to us like we're ignorant, we love our children like you love yours.

Lock him up!


BOLLING: Greg, you're buddies with Sharpton, right?

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Yes, we go way back to the Tawana Brawley hoax. How this guy is allowed to be taken seriously after two major incidents, one that led to somebody's death, another one that ruined so many lives. Tawana Brawley hoax, where the woman claimed that she was raped by five men, which he helped propagate, and turned out to be a hoax.

What did he do? Nothing. He continued with his career as race- baiter. Then, you have the Crown Heights riots in which the death of Yakel Rosenbaum, because of a sheer anti-Semitism, and he is now out here doing this.

You know, the things he is saying might be legitimate. There should be anger. But he's not the person to express it. And now, we have unrest that is trumping arrest, justice is being influenced by fear, and he is one of the primary instigators. If there's death, if there's violence because of riots, he's got part of the blame.

BOLLING: Go ahead, Bob. You think --

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: First of all, I don't go to Brawley case, for example. Not only that, he ruined the career of that prosecutor.


BECKEL: I have known Sharpton for a long time, I guess I would consider him a friend of mine. But having said that, I don't think Al Sharpton was the one who single-handedly pushed this into trial. I hear what Geraldo is saying, but I don't buy it.

BOLLING: But on the one hand, you said leaders in the black community should be putting a calming tone on this, not inciting violence.

BECKEL: Yes, they should. But that was, remember, this was a year -- a long time ago, what Sharpton said.

BOLLING: How long ago? How long ago was that? I mean, he's been on MSNBC since then, hasn't he?

BECKEL: No, I think he should try to walk it back if he can.

GUTFELD: He can't do it on MSNBC because nobody is watching it.

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: He doesn't want to walk it back, though. This keeps him relevant.

Hitting the rewind button for the nation keeps Al Sharpton relevant, that's what he wants, even though it is completely unproductive. Roger Simon, who runs Pajama Media called this racial nostalgia. They long for the time of civil rights era. So, they continue to fight battles that hurt all of us.

I mean, Bill Lee, the chief of police, said he did not have suspicion to arrest Zimmerman that night. Should it have gone to trial, Eric -- I don't know. Maybe, but not in this way -- not to the court of public opinion first.

And I will say, it's not just Sharpton. You're exactly right. It's President Obama, speaking up, talking about how if he had a son, it would look like Trayvon, so that everyone watching pictures the president's son murdered.

It's stuff like that, it's rhetoric like that. That is not helpful to uniting this country.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: Well, I'm going to try to take the other side because I am going to give it a shot.

It had been six weeks. There had been no arrest made. We did have a 17-year-old kid was killed, and whether or not that was manslaughter or second degree murder, or it was in self defense, I think that's why there needed to be a trial.

And if not Al Sharpton, who else is going to step up? Up to then, nobody has.

GUTFELD: That's the sad part, what you said is correct. But there have to be better leaders. For hundreds of years whites have had charlatans as leaders. We've had incredibly corrupt leaders, you know? And now, we're in this modern period where blacks have their leaders.

They're entitled to have bad leaders, too, is what I'm saying. But let's get better ones.

BOLLING: Greta, you're there. You're seeing the people. You're seeing the groups getting bigger and bigger. You're hearing these words on TV.

Are you concerned, though, about people listening to an Al Sharpton?

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST OF 'ON THE RECORD': You know, well, yes, sure. I mea, anybody that's out there, if you're throwing fuel on the fire, but look, this is a great opportunity for Reverend Al Sharpton right now to merge and try to put everything at rest. You know, instead of looking back and like picking at old scabs, this would be a good time. We don't have a jury verdict. We don't know which way it will go.

Wouldn't it be great if leaders, you know, would come out and do the right thing, and starts saying -- look, you know, justice is when you have facts in a courtroom decided by a jury, a jury that both sides agree to. I mean, this is a perfect time for someone to emerge.

We don't need trouble, we need leadership. I will add one other thing that bothers me about President Obama, who is a lawyer -- let's back up to that little spot in Cambridge, early on, when he said the cops act -- he said I don't know much about the facts, but the cops acted stupidly.

You know, I expect more of lawyers. You know, Al Sharpton is not a lawyer, but he's certainly is a leader. And I expect more of him. I want him to emerge here as whatever the verdict is to do the right thing and we have to stop picking at old scabs and trying to cause trouble.

TANTAROS: Greta, does it bother you at all that President Obama said he wouldn't way in on the Gosnell trial, but he will weigh in on certain things, he'll cherry pick issues he feels are beneficial?

VAN SUSTEREN: I lived in Washington way too long to be disturbed by things like that, I say sort of jokingly. Look, you know, I think I would hope if the president had a chance to think about it would like a do over on both of those. You know, the president shouldn't be weighing in on these trials. I mean, maybe there's some trial that he should, I don't know.

But, you know, one that is likely to cause so much pain -- and we don't know the facts. But not one of us was out there. Not one of us.

That's the reason we have the courtroom. We piece it together by little bits and pieces, whether it's coming from statements of the defendant has made, challenge in video tapes, whether it's forensic evidence, we do have a system to try to resolve it, rather than the microphone.

The microphone is not where you're supposed to seek justice. And, you know, we don't know what happened that night, but we have all agreed, these six people are going to decide it for us. Lawyers in the courtroom agreed, the prosecutor did. So maybe we ought to let that happen, after that happens, we accept it whether we like it or not.

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