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Monday may have marked the start of the second week in the George Zimmerman trial, but few have forgotten about the star witness of week one, Rachel Jeantel.
A friend of the late Trayvon Martin, who was on the phone with the Florida teen prior to his death, many felt Jeantel's testimony yielded more questions than answers, leaving experts and observers alike to wonder if she hadn't actually helped the defense more than the state.
With rumors swirling surrounding a potential return to the stand for Jeantel, on Monday evening "Piers Morgan Live" invited her attorney – Rod Vareen – to offer his perspective on her appearances thus far:
"It was my job to try to explain to her what the dynamics of the courtroom were going to be. She didn't understand that there was going to be this good cop/bad cop mentality amongst the lawyers," explained the man who only last week began representing Jeantel.
In preparing their witness to take the stand, the prosecution was able to go over the precise questions they planned to ask. However, predicting the cross-examination of the defense proved challenging, and ultimately left Jeantel open to an intense, and lengthy, verbal onslaught:
"They usually try to play the devil's advocate and ask the questions. But in this particular case, trying to decide what questions Don West was going to ask, was pretty hard for the prosecution," noted Vareen. "This is a witness that should have been on the stand for no more than an hour. However, she ended up being on the stand for five and a half hours over the span of two days."
Joining the program live out of Davie, Florida, Jeantel's lawyer explained the extreme resistance his client had shown in even participating in the trial, and the ways in which the defense took advantage of her inexperience:
"Her testimony was completely unrehearsed and it was obvious that it was unrehearsed, the demeanor that she had in the courtroom was the result of a confrontation that she had with Mr. West at the prior depositions of the two days that she sat down with him when he tried to brow beat her then," he revealed. "She tried to maintain her composure. And Mr. West did exactly what he did in the depositions, is that he attacked her, and put her on the defensive. Now, she's a 19-year-old young lady from the inner city and had no experience in the courtroom whatsoever, she's not trained to be a witness. It took a lot of courage for her to come out of her shell to be a witness. She tried to avoid being in the limelight at all cost."
Watch the clip for more of Morgan's interview with Rod Vereen, and for the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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