When the state called Mark Osterman to the stand Tuesday afternoon the Twitterosphere began virtually scratching their heads. This is a man who describes himself as George Zimmerman’s best friend and wrote about book detailing his BFF’s account called: “Defending Our Friend: the Most Hated Man in America.”
It turns out - not even David Weinstein could understand the state’s strategy here, and he’s a former federal prosecutor. Here’s what he told me via e-mail:
“Not sure where the State is going with this witnesses.
Other than eliciting some additional out of court hearsay statements made by Zimmerman and/or comments that Osterman made on talk shows, this is another witness who is friendly to the defense and will help present testimony that will keep Zimmerman from having to testify.
The only potential upside would be to show pre-existing bias on the part of Zimmerman, proper crime watch techniques, or proper firearms use.
Perhaps the State will attempt to have him declared a hostile witness which will allow them to use leading questions.
He is a potential land mine for the prosecution.
There is only one gem in his interview with Dr. Phil. That is that Zimmerman should have stayed in the car. Not that he was wrong to have left his car, but that if he had stayed in the car, none of this would have happened (paraphrasing).,
Other than that, he is a defense witnesses.
He also knows that Zimmerman took a polygraph examination. If the prosecution asks the wrong question and opens the door to that answer, that will be grounds for a mistrial. If the defense can argue that it was intentional and not inadvertent, potentially a double jeopardy argument barring any retrial.
Here’s the quote from his Dr. Phil interview:
Mr. Osterman: If I can have one moment. George--the injuries that he had to his head could not be sustained for any period of time without either becoming unconscious or dying. He said. ‘I’m blacking out, I feel i’m going to die.’ And he told the police that, he said that in a lie detector test, all of which they have. They’ve connected all this together and from George’s perspective he felt ‘I am going to die.’”