Dershowitz: Zimmerman Prosecutors 'Should Be Disbarred'

Friday, 12 Jul 2013 06:22 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz says the prosecutors in the George Zimmerman murder trial should be charged with "prosecutorial misconduct" for suggesting the defendant planned the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

"That is something no prosecutor should be allowed to get away with … to make up a story from whole cloth," Dershowitz told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"These prosecutors should be disbarred. They have acted absolutely irresponsibly in an utterly un-American fashion."

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Zimmerman, a 29-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with gunning down Martin, 17, as the two fought following a confrontation in the gated Sanford, Fla., community where Zimmerman lives — an act the defendant said was in self-defense.

In the prosecution's final argument on Friday, lawyer John Guy said Zimmerman deliberately followed Martin and "shot him because he wanted to."

Dershowitz called Guy's statement "such speculation. How does he get into the mind of Zimmerman? He hasn't cross-examined him, he hasn't met him.

"To ask the jury to believe that is to ask the jury to convict based on complete and utter speculation and that's not the way the law operates."

A day earlier, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said Zimmerman — whom he labeled a "wannabe cop" — "followed" and "tracked" Martin after profiling him as a criminal.

Dershowitz said not only should Zimmerman have not been charged with second-degree murder, but prosecutors should not have pushed to have manslaughter and child abuse added to the list of possible jury verdicts.

"[It's] utterly irresponsible. … The idea that the prosecution can try the case on a murder theory and then, at the last minute, substitute manslaughter, even though it seems to be permitted generally under Florida law — it's a big mistake to allow it in a case like this,” he said.

"And then the very idea of even suggesting child abuse in a case like this is so irresponsible."

Dershowitz praised the closing argument of defense lawyer Mark O'Mara.

"He did the right thing by being methodical and factual because this is a case where the prosecution's case is all emotion and the defense case is all factual," the famed civil-rights lawyer said.

"Emotionally, obviously everybody can identify with a young, unarmed 17-year-old who ends up dead, and emotionally, as President [Barack] Obama said, he's all of our children."

Dershowitz — whose clients have included Claus von Bulow, Mike Tyson, Patricia Hearst, and former televangelist Jim Bakker — said the case has "reasonable doubt" written all over it.

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"Nobody knows who started the initial physical encounter, who threw the first blow — and if you don't know that you have to have a reasonable doubt," he said.

"Nobody knows for sure who screamed, 'Help me, help me.' You have to have a reasonable doubt about that. Nobody knows for sure who was on top and who was on bottom, though the overwhelming forensic evidence suggests that Zimmerman was on the bottom having his head banged by a younger, stronger man. You have to have reasonable doubt there."


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