Zimmerman Interview on Fox Starts Media Storm

Posted July 23, 2012 in Crime Criminal Law by

George Zimmerman during his July 18 interview with Sean Hannity

With his attorney at his side, George Zimmerman gave Fox News an on-camera interview on Wednesday, July 18. Zimmerman is accused of the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin, and his case has generated widespread publicity across the United States because of issues involving race, guns, and the “stand your ground” defense.

The prosecution moved immediately to enter the interview into evidence.


Softball with Sean

The interview, conducted by Sean Hannity, was not particularly hard-hitting or difficult for Zimmerman. He didn’t press Zimmerman about the recent molestation charge leveled by a cousin, and almost every question was leading and easy. Notably, Hannity seemed very concerned with clearing his own name, getting Zimmerman to confirm that rumors Hannity had offered to pay his legal fees were untrue.  The entire 40-minute interview consisted of Hannity simply tossing Zimmerman softball after softball, while Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s attorney, nodded beside him.

At one point only did O’Mara need to step in and cut off a line of questioning – about the revocation of his first bail and whether his wife lied about their finances. “[R]ight now the state has charged his wife Shellie with a crime regarding that,” said O’Mara. “And they have also suggested or at least the court in its order suggested that George may well have committed a crime. Realizing that those potential charges exist against George and also that they presently exist against Shellie, I just don’t think that we can talk about those precise evidence.”

And speaking of finances, the media is already abuzz about Zimmerman’s motives for appearing on live television in the middle of preparations for what promises to be a long, contentious criminal trial. ABC News quoted defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh as noting that the interview will likely haunt Zimmerman’s defense, since it was full of inconsistencies with other statements he’s made. And Aliyah Shahid, on an MSNBC’s web page, says Zimmerman chose to go on Fox because the network’s audience is full of people who would support Zimmerman, and the defense coffers are getting low. Zimmerman is in fact actively soliciting donations for his defense on a new website, “The Real George Zimmerman.”

Then came the story that Zimmerman pulled the plug on an interview with “The View” because the show wouldn’t pay to house and ensure security for his wife, according to CNN. The whole thing is starting to look like the proverbial media circus.


Regrets? Oh Yeah, Those…

Money matters aside, Zimmerman makes a good witness – that much was clear. His only real misstep came when Hannity asked if he regretted anything about the night he shot Martin in what he says was a life or death struggle. “No, sir,” Zimmerman responded to Hannity’s line of questions including whether he regretted getting out of the car to follow Martin, carrying a gun, or anything else about that night. “I feel it was all God’s plan.”

Watch the full interview:

At the end of the interview, when Hannity asked if there was anything Zimmerman wanted to say to the American public, he took the opportunity to correct himself, saying:

First, I would like to readdress your question when you asked if I would have done anything differently. When you asked that, I thought you were referring to if I would not have talked to the police, if I would have maybe have gotten an attorney, if I wouldn’t have taken the CVSA and that I stand by, I would not have done anything differently.

But I do wish that there was something, anything I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life. And I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Stanford, and America that I am sorry that this happened.

I hate to think that because of this incident, because of my actions, it’s polarized and divided America, and I’m truly sorry.

The media storm came fast and furious, regardless. Jonathan Capahart, in an opinion piece for a Washington Post blog, said Zimmerman should “regret” the interview. Many jumped on his “God’s plan” comment, and Martin’s parents went on NBC’s Today Show afterwards to call his interview “ridiculous” and to say they had no interest in taking him up on his offer to talk.

Do you think Zimmerman should have given the interview to Fox News? If you saw it, how did you think he came across? Share your opinion below.

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