Nancy Grace talks George Zimmerman trial, June 24, 2013 (videos, transcripts)


HLN host Nancy Grace spent a great portion of her show on June 24, 2013, following the George Zimmerman trial. She also discussed trial strategy in a previous interview with sister network CNN. Grace focused in on the 911 calls and how Judge Nelson ruled against the state's audio experts who were prepared
to testify that the voice calling for help on Feb. 26, 2012, was Trayvon Martin.

You may catch up on Nancy Grace through the videos below as well as read the show transcript from June 24, 2013.














NANCY GRACE

Bizarre Opening to Zimmerman Trial; Latest on Missing Child

Aired June 24, 2013 - 20:00:00 ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, live, Sanford, Florida. A 17-year-old heads home to his dad`s condo, gunned down by a the captain of the neighborhood watch.

Bombshell tonight. In the last hours, the all-female jury clearly stunned when the prosecution kicks it off with a mouth full of curse words in opening statements.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the second degree murder trial against George Zimmerman, the first thing jurors will hear...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) punks. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) they always get away. Those were the words in that grown man`s mouth.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, CHARGED WITH MURDER: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) they always get away. This guy looks like he`s up to no good or he`s on drugs or something (EXPLETIVE DELETED) (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prosecutors must prove that Zimmerman was the aggressor. They`ll argue that he profiled and continued to pursue Trayvon Martin even after a dispatcher told him not to.

DISPATCHER: Are you following him?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

DISPATCHER: OK, we don`t need you to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defense aims to show (ph) Zimmerman and the man who was in a fight for his life the night he admitted to shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Knock, knock. Who`s there? George Zimmerman who? Good, you`re on the jury.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The jury (INAUDIBLE) sworn (ph) panel of all women.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Zimmerman did not (ph) shoot Trayvon Martin. He shot him for the worst of all reasons, because he wanted to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: And tonight, live, Toledo, a parent`s worst nightmare, 18- month-old Baby Elaina last seen taking a nap. Minutes later, she`s gone, gone from the family`s own bedroom in the middle of the day and nobody sees a thing?

Did Mommy take off in a mystery van at midnight just before the baby vanishes? Tonight, as Feds search the muddy Maumee River and police seize video surveillance from Walgreen`s pharmacy, a mystery witness emerges claiming she sees Mommy, just Mommy, with baby Elaina at a Gas and Go just before the baby disappears.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was the next day (INAUDIBLE) The boyfriend`s mother changed the diaper and gave her a bottle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was told directly from my cousin Steven that Angela changed the baby`s diaper and gave her a juice cup before they left for the store, not my aunt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I seen that the back door was wide open. She had told me they had ran out the back door, the boyfriend and a friend of his.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Steven and I, both of us went running out the back door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My aunt and Steven went out the back door because everybody was out front arguing and carrying on. They knew clearly the baby didn`t go out the front door. They ran out to look and make sure that not just herself got out, but you know, nobody went out that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody in that house knows where...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.

Bombshell tonight. To Sanford, Florida. A 17-year-old boy heads home to his dad`s condo, gunned down by the captain of the neighborhood watch. In the last hours, the all-female jury clearly stunned when the prosecution kicks it all off with a mouthful of curse words in opening statements.

We are live and taking your calls. Straight out to Deborah Roberts, news anchor, Florida News Network. All right, the prosecution starts it off by yelling out (EXPLETIVE DELETED) punk, and these (EXPLETIVE DELETED) always get away. What did the defense do? How did a knock-knock joke get into the definitely`s opening statement? I don`t like it!

DEBORAH ROBERTS, FLORIDA NEWS NETWORK (via telephone): I don`t like it, either. Nobody can figure it out, and just feels it`s just in such poor taste to have started off a defense case like -- in this trial with a knock-knock joke. And the prosecutor -- those were George Zimmerman`s words that he used. But you`re right, Nancy, he shocked the entire courtroom, dropping no less than three F-bombs.

GRACE: Out to you Jean Casarez, joining us there in the field at the Zimmerman trial. You know, Jean Casarez, I remember the first time I had to say -- and I mean filthy, filthy, the worst things you could think of, the very worst curse words in front of a jury. And it was quoting what the defendant said before he raped and murdered somebody. And it was very hard for me to do.

And I actually recall seeing a female juror go like this when I said what I said. But those were his words, not mine. The prosecution had to do this not to show that Zimmerman has a bad moral (ph) because he uses curse words, but to go to intent, to motive.

JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: That`s right, and to show the state of mind of George Zimmerman because ill will, hatred and spite -- that is the "depraved mind" that the prosecutor must show. And out of the box, Nancy, as I`m sitting there, it was shocking, yes. I mean, you jumped when John Guy (ph) started to give his opening statement. But the passion -- and it was chilling as he described every step of that night, according to the prosecution.

GRACE: With me, Jean Casarez in the field. Let`s take a listen to what she`s talking about. Here it is from the horse`s own mouth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) punks. These (EXPLETIVE DELETED), they always get away. Those were the words in that grown man`s mouth as he followed in the dark a 17-year-old boy who he didn`t know. And excuse my...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: There you see just a portion of opening statements going down in a case that seems to be bringing down the courthouse walls around it.

With me right now, reporter/producer Michael Christian. Michael, you`ve covered a lot of cases, including some of mine that I tried. Weigh in.

MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, FREELANCE REPORTER/PRODUCER: Nancy, I want you to walk back with me 20 years, the O.J. Simpson murder trial. How many times in the last 20 years do you think Chris Darden has regretted, has woken up in a cold sweat, If only I hadn`t had O.J. try that glove on. I think Don West (ph) here may be going through a similar thing in the next 20 years. This knock-knock joke was outrageous. It was -- it fell flat. A lead balloon is being much too kind.

GRACE: Michael I didn`t get it. I didn`t get the -- it was something like, Knock, knock. Who`s there? George Zimmerman. Who? Fine, you`re on the jury. What was the point?

CHRISTIAN: You know, it might have made some degree of sense, not good sense, but some degree of sense if he had used it during jury selection. If he had a rapport with this jury that had developed during the trial, maybe, maybe he could have used it in a closing argument. But to start out his opening with this was just crazy. I don`t think...

GRACE: You know what, Michael?

CHRISTIAN: ... the jurors knew how to take it.

GRACE: I think you`re right. I don`t know how much damage it`s going to do to the defense. Let`s take a listen to what Michael Christian is telling us about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Knock, knock. Who`s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right. Good. You`re on the jury. Nothing?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Seemed to me right there, he was almost about to say, Well, you get it? Fine, you`re on the jury? Because it was dead quiet in that courtroom.

But opening statements, as we all know, are not evidence. Unleash the lawyers, Darryl Cohen, defense attorney, Atlanta, former prosecutor. Also with me, defense attorney out of Miami Eric Schwartzreich.

All right, Darryl, weigh in.

DARRYL COHEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: ... possible thing his lawyer could have done and could have said. He has an innocent client...

GRACE: I`m sorry, your mic wasn`t opened up. What did you say? Start at the get-go?

COHEN: I think it is the worst possible thing his lawyer could have done on opening statement. He`s got an innocent client. Make the state prove it piece by piece by piece. Absolutely don`t do what he did.

GRACE: All right, Darryl, remember the days when you were a felony prosecutor along with me in the same courthouse?

COHEN: I do.

GRACE: I could not agree with you more. If I were the defense attorney, which I of course would never be, but I would be saying, you know, to H-E-L-L with the knock-knock joke. I`d be standing on my ear -- My guy is innocent!

COHEN: You got it.

GRACE: All right, Schwartzreich. What about it?

ERIC SCHWARTZREICH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Grace, knock, knock. Knock, knock. Take the bait.

GRACE: Who`s there?

SCHWARTZREICH: Opportunity.

GRACE: Opportunity who?

SCHWARTZREICH: Opportunity only knocks once. Come on, Nancy.

GRACE: I like it.

SCHWARTZREICH: The problem is, is that opening statements, you get one shot...

GRACE: One shot.

SCHWARTZREICH: ... one opportunity.

GRACE: OK, put up Cohen...

SCHWARTZREICH: However, with that being...

GRACE: ... and Schwartzreich...

SCHWARTZREICH: With that being said, it`s not fatal.

GRACE: I got to tell you something. Little known fact. I would always write out word for word by hand my opening and closing. And just in case I needed them, I would old them like this down the middle. And if I needed them, I`d open them up and turn away from the jury and keep walking.

But one time I pointed with it, and my hand was shaking and I didn`t even know it. I learned from that. You get one swing at the ball in opening statements. And as I said, gentlemen, of course that`s not evidence, but it sets the tone, that first impression. When you stand up and you tell that jury what`s going on, what you believe, what you really believe, why you`re there, and that`s what we got.

Back out to you, Jean Casarez joining me there at the courthouse. Jean, what else happened?

CASAREZ: You know, I think that the defense, as they went through their opening statement, may have rehabilitated themselves from that knock- knock joke. And let me tell you my perception in the courtroom. There was so much emotion from that prosecution opening. I mean, it was just so riveting that I think the defense wanted to make it not lighthearted but to move on from that as they show a case of self-defense.

And that`s what they did as that opening progressed from the side of the defense...

GRACE: And another thing, Jean...

CASAREZ: ... to show that George Zimmerman was on the bottom, Trayvon on the top.

GRACE: What I thought -- yes, you know what? You`re so right, how crucial that positioning was, who was on the bottom. Really, who was the victim in this case is what that`s all about. But Jean, I think the 911 call said it all, said more than either one of those attorneys ever could. Let`s take a listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ZIMMERMAN: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) always get away. This guy looks like he`s up to no good or he`s on drugs or something. Something`s wrong with him. Yes. He`s coming to check me out. He`s got something in his hands. I don`t know what his deal is.

DISPATCHER: Are you following him?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

DISPATCHER: OK, we don`t need you to do that.

ZIMMERMAN: OK.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds like a male.

911 OPERATOR: And you don`t know why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know why. I think they`re yelling help, but I don`t know. (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: OK. Does he look hurt to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t see him. I don`t want to go out there. I don`t know what`s going on, so...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re sending.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

GRACE: OK. I`m not speaking as a lawyer. I`m not speaking as somebody propped up here on TV. I`m speaking as a mother. If I had heard my son cry out like that -- Jean, what happened in the courtroom?

CASAREZ: Nancy, when the defense said, We`re going to play the call for you, and I think they just started it, Sybrina Fulton (ph) who I saw, Nancy, had been shaking in her seat -- I mean, through the prosecution`s opening, I just saw her shaking. She stood up and she walked out of that courtroom so quickly. And a lady pastor who was there behind her got up immediately and followed her. And I heard the pastor say to the deputy, Is she OK? The pastor came back in. Sybrina Fulton did not come back in that courtroom before lunch.

GRACE: Jean Casarez joining me there in the field. And listen, people, we`re just in opening statements. I`ve got to hear the evidence before I make a call on this. But I do know this. If I had heard my son crying out like this on a 911 call, I don`t know if I could have stood up to leave the courtroom.

Listen to what this jury heard.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds like a male.

911 OPERATOR: And you don`t know why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know why. I think they`re yelling help, but I don`t know. (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: OK. Does he look hurt to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t see him. I don`t want to go out there. I don`t know what`s going on, so...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re sending.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he`s up to no good or he`s on drugs or something.

DISPATCHER: Are you following him?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

DISPATCHER: OK, we don`t need you to do that.

911 OPERATOR: So you think he`s helling help?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

911 OPERATOR: What is your...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s gunshots!

911 OPERATOR: You just heard gunshots?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

911 OPERATOR: How many?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and back of his head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) punks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The teenager and the neighborhood watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Zimmerman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Questions about Zimmerman`s story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These (EXPLETIVE DELETED), they always get away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He claimed the teenager bashed his head and broke his nose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened in the pursuit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who was on top?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe my son was defending himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the gun went off...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had a .9-millimeter gun. Trayvon Martin had a bag of Skittles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. He shot -- he shot the person. He just said he shot the person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He heard the screams continuously from the time he stepped out of the front of the house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Bombshell tonight. Opening statements in the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman trial landed with a blast, the prosecution starting off with a mouth full of curse words, and the defense starting with a knock-knock joke.

But Jean Casarez, there at the courthouse, there was a major, major ruling by the judge, Judge Nelson, in this case, that said VRT, voice recorded technology, cannot be allowed in this case. What was the ruling?

CASAREZ: That`s right, that experts cannot take the stand to say that through science, they determined that it most likely was Trayvon Martin`s voice who was screaming on that 911 call.

So what is left? The parents of Trayvon Martin, the parents of George Zimmerman, but in the prosecution opening, they did not say that you will hear from the parents as to whose voice that was on the 911 call, but you would hear the call.

GRACE: And Jean, it was a bitter fight and there were all these voice specialists. But even among specialists hired by the same side, they had different opinions. It`s very difficult to compare a scream to the person in their regular voice. Like, if you screamed, it would be very difficult for me to compare that scream and say that`s definitely Jean Casarez.

And Jean -- let me see Jean, please. Everybody, we`re talking about a Fry (ph) hearing. Think back to when I started trying cases. We didn`t have DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid. That was not allowed. There was a time when fingerprints had not been -- had -- were never used.

You have to show that it is a scientific method that is accepted within the scientific community, that you can rely on it. And right now, voice recorded technology is just not there, according to Nelson, Jean.

CASAREZ: That`s right. Speaker technology, speaker identification has been developed to a point, but screaming identification -- that has not. And particularly on this call, when the voice was in the distance, when people were talking over it, when it was on a cell phone and the microphone not equipped to get the accurate recording, the environmental conditions of wind and rain. And it just could not be determined whose voice that was scientifically.

GRACE: Well, some of the considerations, Jean, is absolutely right, Jean, was that the duration of the call was not really long enough to make an identification of the scream. Was it Trayvon? Was it Zimmerman. The circumstances -- it was scratchy. There were voices going on, as you said.

Also, one very esteemed expert said that in all of his many, many years, well over a decade of doing VRT, he had never heard a human scream compared to the known voice in speaking, in articulating regular conversation -- very hard to make a voice match between a scream and regular talking. Yes, no?

CASAREZ: That`s right. And -- yes. And what the prosecution`s expert had done is taken a little bit of a scream and looped it over to get those 16 seconds they needed, and then taken George Zimmerman voice and raised the pitch from that non-emergency 911 call. And the defense expert said that`s junk science. You can`t do that.

GRACE: With me now, in addition to Jean Casarez at the courthouse, Frank Taaffe, close friend, confidant of defendant George Zimmerman. Also with me, representing Trayvon Martin`s family, Daryl Parks.

Frank, I want a very brief answer. And I`m going to come back to you, so help me God in heaven. Taaffe, is that Zimmerman screaming?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go. Go ahead. You`re fine.

FRANK TAAFFE, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I`m sorry, Nancy, I couldn`t hear what you said.

GRACE: In the 911, Frank Taaffe, is that Zimmerman screaming?

TAAFFE: Of course it was George. I mean, if you were on the bottom on a rainy night, and you were being beat up MMA (ph) style, of course. You`d be the one yelling help. Why would you yell for help knowing that no one`s going to be there to -- unfortunately, no one was there to help him, but that was definitely George Zimmerman screaming.

GRACE: OK. Frank Taaffe, good friend of George Zimmerman, says it was absolutely George Zimmerman screaming.

Now let`s go out to Daryl Parks, the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family. I`m sure that Parks and Martin`s family is going to insist that it was the young man, Trayvon Martin`s voice, screaming on that 911 call. As you know, when that was played in front of the jury, Trayvon Martin`s mother and others had to get up and leave the courtroom.

Do I have Daryl Parks yet? OK. We`ll be right back with Daryl Parks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ZIMMERMAN: The (EXPLETIVE DELETED) always get away. This guy looks like he`s up to no good or he`s on drugs or something. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

(END AUDIO CLIP)

GRACE: Daryl Parks is with us, attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family. One question, Mr. Parks. One question. Is that Trayvon Martin screaming?

DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: Of course it is. And I think the judge had it right. The tape itself speaks for itself, and this jury will be able to use it.

So far in this case today, Nancy, we`ve seen time and time again both the prosecution and defense have played this tape over and over again. When you hear the tape -- but probably most importantly, the other recording that you heard where you go to the motive and the intent of Mr. Zimmerman when he got out of that car.

GRACE: You know, I appreciate that, Mr. Parks. I really do. And as I told Mr. Taaffe, God help me, I`m going to come back to you. I just wanted to hear from you that you believe that that is Trayvon Martin screaming because Taaffe says it`s absolutely Zimmerman.

PARKS: No, without question, it is Trayvon Martin`s voice you hear...

GRACE: OK.

PARKS: ... crying for help, a young voice desperately trying to get help.

GRACE: OK, you know what? Everybody, I`m going to let you be the judge. Take a listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds like a male.

911 OPERATOR: And you don`t know why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know why. I think they`re yelling help, but I don`t know. (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: OK, does he look hurt?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t see him. I don`t want to go out there. I don`t know what`s going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re sending.