I have to admit at the outset that I have not watched every minute of the Zimmerman trial, but each time I have turned if on I have assumed the prosecution has rested and the defense is now presenting its case. Wrong! I realized with utter dismay that the prosecution was presenting as part of its case the video re-enactment produced, directed and starred in by the defendant himself, George Zimmerman. In every major criminal case the defense agonizes over whether or not to have the defendant take the stand. I think it is a little early for the defense to pop the champagne corks, but there had to be a celebration of some sorts when the prosecution ran this video. And they didn't stop there; Zimmerman's version was repeated in an audio interview as well and through a variety of other witnesses.
So the defense need never confront the decision to testify or run the risk of facing cross-examination, because the defendant's version is out there time and time again, even in a video with the defendant himself speaking -- all offered by the prosecution. Today, the prosecution called Zimmerman's "closest friend" and darned if he didn't go through the whole story again -- Zimmerman's version of it. He is even writing a book about it. One of the talking heads on HLN opined that this was a necessary strategy because if the prosecution didn't call him, the defense would and claim that the prosecution was withholding evidence!
I know I have been out of the law for a while, but it would be news to me if a defendant could go around proclaiming he was innocent to friends and relatives and then they could come in and verify it based upon his statements to them. Usually the government presents statements by the defendant that contain confessions and admissions, not ones that exonerate him and support his defense. They produce witnesses who contradict the defendant's version of events, not those who confirm it. Maybe I am missing something here, and the prosecution has a strategy that has eluded me. I suspect that they are going to take all of these repetitive self-serving statements and cull them to find some discrepancies -- but to me that is as lame a strategy as defense counsel's opening joke. The government has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the absence of self-defense. The story in support of self-defense has been told so many times in this trial by the prosecution that I would not be surprised to hear at the conclusion of the prosecution's case: "The Defense Rests," because the defense may believe that the prosecution has more than adequately proved rather disproved the defense.
In watching the prosecutors, I have no doubt as to their good faith and desire to obtain a conviction. I am concerned because this case has received nationwide if not worldwide attention and has a racial component to it. If it should end in an acquittal or hung jury, it would be unfortunate if the prosecutor's strategy rather than the facts (or their absence) should be the cause.