Reporter's Notebook: Former federal prosecutor's progress report

Day 10 of George Zimmerman trial testimony

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter
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David S. Weinstein is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.  He held that position from 1998 to 2009.

SANFORD, Fla. - Former federal prosecutor David Weinstein issues a George Zimmerman trial progress report Monday. 

"The defense started strong and finished even stronger.

The testimony presented to the jurors on Monday strengthened the defense's argument that the defendant was not the aggressor and was in fact the voice heard screaming for help.

The witnesses also testified about the defendant's character, helping to negate the State's argument that the defendant acted out of ill will, spite, hatred or evil intent.

The jury was shown a demonstration of MMA fighting, to highlight the argument that the defendant acted in self defense.

Putting aside the fact that the defense called the victim's father to bolster their case, the strongest moment for the defense occurred outside the presence of the jury.

That was when Judge Nelson ruled that the toxicology report performed on Trayvon Martin would be admissible.

This ruling paves the way for additional testimony regarding the character of Trayvon Martin to come into evidence. The prosecution will be able to offer evidence of Trayvon's peacefulness during their rebuttal case to negate the evidence introduced by the defense.

Nevertheless, in the end, the jurors will now be able to factor in the victim's prior marijuana use and his character when they decide if the defendant was the aggressor or was simply defending himself from the aggressive actions of the victim.

The few strengths that the prosecution had established over the past two weeks were virtually erased by the defense in one day of trial. Make no mistake about it, the case will get to the jury, because the issues in contention are factual issues that can only be resolved by the jury.

As Judge Nelson pointed out when she denied the defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal, there are still factual questions that are unresolved. Based on those factual questions she was unwilling to rule that as a matter of law, the defendant should be acquitted.

Whose voice was heard screaming on the tape? Who was the aggressor in the altercation? Did George Zimmerman act out of ill will, spite, hatred or evil intent? Did George Zimmerman act in lawful self defense?

The answers to those questions will allow the jury to determine the ultimate fact, did the state prove beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of Second Degree murder or if offered an alternate choice, manslaughter.

The trial is not over, the state can still present evidence to rebut the defense's presentation. However, from where things stand right now, a conviction does not appear to be likely."