[I WILL BE IN FLORIDA on MONDAY in COURTROOM. OTR at 10pm will air live from Florida Monday night.]
First, as it stands now, (and ONLY my guess and it is early and much can change) do not expect George Zimmerman to take the witness stand (although he has a Constitutional right to do so if he wants to do so.)
This re-enactment video will help you understand the scene of the shooting according to George Zimmerman and is in his words. It is also a horrible video for the prosecution.
Right after the shooting, Zimmerman took the police to the scene and talked to them….walked them through the incident. You will have to sit through a short ad to see the video — but this video is worth watching as it is George Zimmerman in his own words, showing you the scene and before he has a lawyer. Of course at the time of the video, he (like anyone involved in a shooting) had a motive to slant the facts in his favor but it is noteworthy that the reenactment with the police was done right after the incident and before he had a lawyer.
Here is a potential pitfall Zimmerman faces: he did several interviews with the media (including on Fox News.) I have not sorted through all his interviews but if in any interview he said something materially different from this one, expect the prosecution to use the material inconsistency (lie?) to argue to the jury that he is a liar. This is one reason lawyers don’t want their clients talking to the media. It locks them in.
Will the jury see this re-enactment video? Maybe not. If the prosecution wants to show it, the prosecution can. I doubt the prosecution wants to show this video to the jury. It damages the prosecution’s case.
Can the defense present it? Probably not. In all likelihood, absent Zimmerman taking the stand and subjecting himself to cross examination, the defense can’t just pop it into a player for the jury to see since the prosecution can’t ‘cross examine’ Zimmerman’s statements on the tape and the prosecution has a right to ask questions of evidence / witnesses presented.
The prosecution has the right to introduce the re-enactment video themselves (and other video statements of the defendant) as a statement of the defendant. However, I doubt the prosecution would want to present this video to the jury (but, see below the red text and you will note the prosecution may be backed into a corner and showing it or risk having the jury think it is hiding evidence from them.)
If the prosecution does not present the video to the jury during the trial (and they won’t want to unless there are other videos out there in stark contrast to make this video look dishonest), here is what I would do as the defense lawyer for Zimmerman: I would make sure the police officer in the re-enactment video with Zimmerman was asked about it on the witness stand when called as a witness to discuss the investigation. By doing that, I would make sure the jury was aware that the video existed. I would specifically ask the officer (detective) if the re-enactment had been taped (and of course the answer is yes.) I would also ask if the prosecution / police have the tape (and the answer is yes.)
Then…in closing argument….assuming the prosecution had not shown the re-enactment video, I would, as Zimmerman’s lawyer, argue to the jury: “why didn’t the prosecution show you this re-enactment tape in their possession…taken on the day after the shooting when Zimmerman did not yet have a lawyer? There is a reason and you Members of the Jury all know it….are they hiding something from you?”
(PS Ted Williams reminded me of this video this morning and I just re-watched it. Ted, thanks for the reminder.)