The main lawyer representing the family of Trayvon Martin in the George Zimmerman murder trial said on Saturday that it was “offensive” that defense attorney Mark O’Mara had launched personal attacks on him in an interview with CNN.
“It’s somewhat offensive when you think about personal attacks,” the lawyer, Benjamin Crump, told CNN in an interview. “I have never personally attacked attorney Mark O’Mara or any other lawyers in this matter.”
In an interview aired earlier on Saturday, O’Mara said his client would have never been on trial if he had not been “victimized” by Crump and other Martin family attorneys.
"They victimized him," O’Mara said. "George Zimmerman was victimized by a publicity campaign to smear him, to call him a racist when he wasn't, and to call him a murderer when he wasn't."
“Respectfully to attorney O’Mara,” Crump began in his response, “they seem to just disregard the fact that Trayvon Martin was just walking home from the store, when he was profiled and pursued and followed by his client for whatever reason.
“We will never know — I don’t know if George Zimmerman is a racist or not — but he profiled Trayvon Martin for something, whether the way he looked or this ethnicity,” Crump added. “We will never know, but I know that he got out of his car. He made the decision to pursue Trayvon Martin.
“So, if this was your child, would you just say, ‘OK. Police tell me that I’m not going to arrest the killer of my unarmed son?’ This is very personal to a lot of people. That’s why the whole world is watching this case, because you cannot have people kill unarmed teenagers walking home legally — whether they’re black, white, brown, or red — and say: ‘It’s okay. We’re not going to arrest you.’”
Crump’s remarks came as a six-woman jury deliberated for a second day in the Zimmerman case. Citing Florida’s “stand your ground” law, Zimmerman, 29, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of the unarmed Martin, 17, in February 2012.
The jurors may consider a manslaughter charge — and after nearly 12 hours of deliberation on Saturday, they asked Seminole County Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson for clarification on the issues of relating to the charge.
Meanwhile, Crump told CNN that the Martin family — particularly Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton — remained anxious on the eve of a verdict in the racially charged case.
“It’s been a long journey to justice, and they’re on the eve of getting a verdict,” he said. “You could imagine that their emotions are overwhelming.”
As for Fulton — who became emotional and left the courtroom several times during the trial, even during closing arguments on Friday — “she feels confident,” Crump said. “She has faith, a greater faith in a higher authority than this court.
“That’s still her child, her youngest son. There’s a bond between a mother and a son — and she was overcome with emotion,” he added.
The attorney also attacked Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
“There was nothing wrong with our self-defense laws,” Crump said. “For 200 years, it was working just fine. Stand your ground encourages vigilantism. It encourages people to take the law into their own hands — and that’s never good for anybody, and it’s too subjective.”
He praised prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda and said that the Martin family would be “heartbroken” if Zimmerman is acquitted.
“They don’t want the killer of their unarmed child to not be held accountable,” Crump told CNN. “They don’t want his death to be in vain.
“We’ve always said that we would accept the rule of law. The Martin family has asked everyone to be peaceful,” he added. “From day one, they have asked for peaceful justice — and nothing has changed. If they accept the rule of law, everybody should.”
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