This Friday evening, CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke to the attorney for George Zimmerman, Craig Sonner, about the Trayvon Martin shooting, and I think this interview just raised more questions than it answered. We found out that Zimmerman's attorney is claiming his client is supposedly in the United States, but he couldn't say where, or that he'd met with him face to face.
He claimed Zimmerman suffered a broken nose during the incident and that he was acting in self defense. This reminds me of the arguments being made by Larry Pratt on Cenk Uygur's show the other night, which is that basically if Martin was getting the better of Zimmerman after Zimmerman was stalking him in a scuffle, it was all right for Zimmerman to then shoot him because he's now the one defending himself.
Sonner also used the "I have some black friends" defense as proof somehow that George Zimmerman is not a racist and claimed the crime was not racially motivated.
Here's more from MSNBC on potential charges against Zimmerman — Trayvon Martin family attorney confident state charges coming in shooting death:
An attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin said Saturday he expects that state charges will be filed against the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot dead the unarmed black teenager.
Attorney Daryl Parks, in an interview by Skype with the board of the National Association of Black Journalists, said the family and its attorneys met Thursday with officials from the U.S. Justice Department.
“I think the focus is not a federal arrest over a state arrest,” Parks said told the journalists. “We want an arrest, period. And I think that the state aspect of that is the one that's most feasible, that's most attainable in this matter.”
Asked his sense that state officials will press charges, he said, “Oh, they will.”
More there so read the rest, but it appears they're worried the bar may be too high to prove a hate crime at the federal level but seem fairly sure the state is going to prosecute instead.
Transcript of the CNN interview below the fold.
h/t Raw Story
COOPER: Mr. Sonner. First of all, how is your client, George Zimmerman, doing?
CRAIG SONNER, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S LAWYER: Well, I think he's doing all right considering - I mean, considered all the stress that resulted all the things that transpired in the last few weeks.
COOPER: Where is George Zimmerman now?
SONNER: I don't know. My conversations have been on the telephone. I don't know his exact location. I believe he is in the area.
COOPER: You believe he's still in the United States?
COOPER: There had been some indication that maybe he was in Peru or a report he's in Peru. That's not true?
SONNER: No, that's not true. COOPER: What has he told you about the night he shot Trayvon Martin.
SONNER: That -- I believe he made -- he should have made a statement to the police at that time, I think he did. I don't know for a fact because I have not seen the police report on this case. I have not discussed the evening of what occurred at that time. I think that will come out through the investigation process.
COOPER: You haven't discussed the details of that night with him?
SONNER: Even if I had, that would be attorney-client privilege and I wouldn't be able to disclose that tonight. But at this point there is an investigation going on. And I advised him to cooperate with that investigation. And as far as what did or didn't happen that night, I think there have been interviews with different witnesses and so on to suffice the answer to that question for you.
COOPER: 911 tapes have been released. Do you know -- has your client heard the 911 tapes?
SONNER: Other than what's being played on television?
COOPER: Or has he heard what is being played on television?
SONNER: I don't know. I don't believe he heard what is being heard on television nor have I.
COOPER: OK. You have not heard them.
COOPER: There are some people who believe that your client may have uttered a racial slur. Some heard the 911 tapes. They believe they may have heard that muttered under his breath. Has he made any indication to you about whether or not he did utter a racial slur?
SONNER: I don't believe he did utter a racial slur. I asked if he uses racial slurs. And he has denied that. And as well as -- he's been involved in a mentorship program which I think the funny was that he actually mentored two African-American -- he was a mentor to African-American boy age of 14 and his wife was a mentor to the 13- year-old girl from, you know, via their parents.
And in this -- I talked with the mother of the two children. And she indicated -- I asked her, you know, did he make comments to you that indicated he was a racist? And she said, no. And she is African-American. And for the things he's done, you know, as far as taking the children to the mall, you know, he took them to the mall, took them to the science center. Did the kind of outings to help, you know, to help the children have time out to be a friend to them. I don't believe that's the indication of a person that is a racist to do that.
COOPER: Has he given you any indication why he found Trayvon Martin suspicious?
COOPER: Because on the 911 tapes, he says these a-holes, they always get away. He also seemed to indicate he believed that perhaps Trayvon Martin was high or on drugs.
SONNER: I don't know. What is your question on that?
COOPER: Again, I mean, he seemed to indicate on those 911 tapes that he found Trayvon Martin suspicious based on something he saw. I'm wondering if he gave you any indication or if you have any sense of why he may have found Trayvon Martin suspicious.
SONNER: No. Again, I haven't listened to that 911 tape. And I haven't discussed that with him either.
COOPER: You said your client had injuries. There had been reports that he had a bloody nose and there was perhaps blood on the back of his head, grass stains on his back. What can you say what injuries if any he had?
SONNER: I believe that -- his nose was broken. He sustained injury to his nose. And on the back of his head, he sustained a cut that was serious enough that probably should have had stitches. There was a delay him getting to the emergency room so they -- by the time they got there, got to the doctor, there was an option not to stitch it up because it already started healing is my understanding.
COOPER: So reports indicated that the police didn't give him a drug test or didn't test for alcohol in your client. To your knowledge, was your client drinking or using drugs the night he shot Trayvon Martin?
SONNER: To my knowledge, he was not. I don't know whether -- what the results of any police report were. I haven't seen them. I don't know that they've been released.
COOPER: Did he indicate to you at all about how his nose got broken or his nose got hurt or the back of his head got cut?
SONNER: Well, it was an injury done by Trayvon Martin.
COOPER: Do you know if it was during a tussle? Does he describe at all how that injury occurred?
SONNER: I have not discussed with him the incident of that night other than the injury he sustained were from Trayvon Martin. I assume he hit him in the face and caused him to fall back and hit his head. I don't know how all the -- how it all came down. That is not something I discussed. I would not. That would be at this point attorney-client privilege and I wouldn't disclose that now if I did know it which I don't.
COOPER: Sure. I understand. Is there anything else you want people to know?
SONNER: Just to -- let's look at the facts of what happened and I'm not -- I really think there are other issues and it's not an issue of racist -- racism. And I don't believe that George Zimmerman is a racist, or that this was motivated by a dislike for African Americans.
COOPER: What do you think are some of the issue is this case?
SONNER: Well, the ultimate issue is that there was some kind of scuffle took place and there was a gun that was discharged and now there is a young man dead. So the issue is whether it was -- whether it will be -- the ultimate issue is was it self-defense in his case? And that's what all the evidence will hopefully lead us -- lead a jury to discover or, you know, is going to a grand jury was what actually - what can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt occurred that evening.
COOPER: And your client tonight is standing by saying this was absolutely self-defense?
COOPER: Craig Sonner. I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much.
SONNER: All right. Thank you. Bye-bye.
COOPER: I also asked the attorney if his client George Zimmerman has a message for the Martin family and he says no, not at this time.