Washington, DC (June 28,2013)- In the trial of George Zimmerman, the so-called "star witness" for the prosecution, Rachel Jeantel, ended two days of testimony.
Members of the Project 21 black leadership network are commenting.
Jeantel, a friend of Martin since elementary school, spent several hours on the phone and texted with Martin on the day of this death, including during the moments before the altercation with Zimmerman that ended in Martin's death.
In the long cross-examination, Jeantel was reported by the Miami Herald to be "annoyed and confused" during portions of the questioning. She was also caught in several lies. Jeantel also revealed that Martin referred to Zimmerman as a "creepy ass cracker," a term some may consider a racial epithet.
Project 21 member Kevin Martin believes Jeantel's testimony, despite her alleged value to the prosecutors in the case, actually might have benefited Zimmerman's legal team. Martin said: "To say that Miss Jeantel's testimony was anything other than a fiasco would be a understatement. The prosecution did a real disservice to the memory of Trayvon Martin in apparently not preparing Rachel Jeantel well enough to testify. To the causal observer, it seems that Miss Jeantel did not have any understanding of the gravity of testifying in this trial. Her seeming contempt for the proceedings of the court itself was detrimental. While some outside observers were very critical of the defense's tactics early on, it must be remembered that the burden is not on the really on the defense here as much as it is on the prosecution to prepare their star witness. It seems that did not happen here."
Commenting more generally about the events that preceded Martin's death and lead to the current trial, Project 21 member Stacy Swimp noted many ambiguities will likely never be answered. Swimp noted: "I ask myself whether or not Trayvon Martin had seen that George Zimmerman had a gun before he punched Zimmerman. That is a question that will likely never be able to be answered. If Martin saw the gun, I expect he would certainly have been in a frame of mind that he had to be aggressive to save his life. My point is that, because Martin is dead, we will never really know his side of the story. And there is no amount of evidence that can be presented in the courtroom that can possibly answer all the questions that would truly shed light on what happened that tragic night."
Charged with second-degree murder, Zimmerman could be sentenced to life in prison if jurors determine he is guilty.
Project 21 was formed in 1992 after the riots in Los Angeles and elsewhere following the verdict in trial of the police officers accused of unlawfully beating Rodney King revealed a need to highlight the diversity of opinion within the black community. For over 20 years, the volunteer members of the Project 21 black leadership network have provided conservative and free-market perspectives that, until that time, were largely unknown or ignored by the establishment media.
During the course of the Zimmerman trial, which is being heard in the Seminole County (FL) Circuit Court, Project 21 members will provide commentary and be available for interviews about the case and the issues surrounding it.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly app