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Alan Dershowitz: I Would Find Zimmerman 'Not Guilty'

By    |   Tuesday, 09 July 2013 06:38 PM

The verdict is in from Alan Dershowitz: if the renowned Harvard Law professor were on the jury hearing the George Zimmerman murder trial, he would find the defendant not guilty.

"I would say there's reasonable doubt. I would say nobody knows who started the initial fight," Dershowitz told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"Remember, it's monumentally irrelevant who's morally guilty here."

Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager in Sanford, Fla.

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Zimmerman, a 29-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer for his community, says he shot Martin, 17, in self-defense during an altercation. But prosecutors charge that Zimmerman profiled the African-American youth as he walked back from a convenience store to the home of his father's fiancée.

"Whether or not Zimmerman was a racist and racially profiled and shouldn’t have been doing it and didn’t listen to police, that's all irrelevant in Florida law," Dershowitz said.

"The case begins when the first blow was struck, essentially. And we don’t know who struck the first blow. We don’t know if Trayvon Martin came out from behind of a dark area and jumped him and got him down.

"And as long as we don’t know that, [and] we don’t know whose voice it was who was yelling, 'Help me! Help me!' That's reasonable doubt."

He said reasonable doubt boils down to percentages.

"If you think it's 60 percent likely or 70 percent or even 80 percent likely that Zimmerman is guilty and doesn’t deserve self-defense, you have to acquit," Dershowitz said.

"It has to be much higher than that. It has to be certainly like 90 percent likely before you can say there's no reasonable doubt. So, if I were on the jury, I would find reasonable doubt."

But that doesn't mean Zimmerman is a choirboy, according to Dershowitz.

"I might not want to be friendly with George Zimmerman at the end of the case … I certainly would not declare him innocent. There's a big difference between declaring him innocent and declaring him not guilty," he said.

As to the possibility of violence in the streets should Zimmerman walk free, Dershowitz believes calm will prevail.

"The Martin family are very decent people. They seem to have, in every way, indicated that they would not want that kind of a response," he said.

"So, unless some irresponsible people come from out of town to try to stir something up, I don’t think we're seeing a Rodney King-type response."

Dershowitz said there are many differences between the cases of Zimmerman and King, who in 1991 was beaten by Los Angeles cops who were later acquitted — a verdict that sparked six days of riots in which 53 were killed.

"This is not a Rodney King case. Rodney King, you saw it on video. There was no justification for doing what they did to that poor man," Dershowitz said.

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"In this case, it's very confusing. It's very conflicted … Self-defense is a very important principle in American law and people forget, too, that the government has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he didn’t act in self-defense. They have to prove a negative beyond a reasonable doubt which is not easy to do."

The Zimmerman case could go to the jury as early as next week.

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The verdict is in from Alan Dershowitz: if the renowned Harvard Law professor were on the jury hearing the George Zimmerman murder trial, he would find the defendant not guilty.
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 06:38 PM
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