With Thursday providing yet another dramatic and fascinating day in the George Zimmerman trial, as the state offered its closing argument while the jury – and much of America – hung on every word, tonight Piers Morgan invited J. Cheney Mason to join the program with his invaluable personal insight and specific legal perspective.
Two years since serving as co-counsel in the Casey Anthony trial, the man with more than 40 years experience handling homicide cases downplayed the introduction of manslaughter to the list of potential charges facing the defendant:
"Of course it's going to be on the table. It's automatic. All it takes, as I said, is one side or the other to ask for the court to give an instruction on a category one lesser included offense and it will be given. There's no reason to argue about it and discuss it," he explained. "Now, you have different categories – two, and three – and what the state was trying to do today was, indeed, pretty bizarre, to come in at the last minute and go to a non-category one lesser included offense of third degree murder. That was silly, and they wasted a lot of time and my friend Don West nearly had a heart attack over there, but the judge did the right thing."
With a verdict to come as early as next week, the "Piers Morgan Live" host asked his live guest to explain the possible outcomes, and to even go so far as to offer a prediction:
"It can be not guilty, murder two, manslaughter, or a hung jury," he detailed. "I believe the state has failed to prove a case of second-degree murder, and I don't think that the jury will buy that. Manslaughter is a different story."
Finally, in an era where name-checking has quickly become a source of pride and prominence, the 69-year-old attorney loosened up, and admitted a conversation with a couple of choice "Piers Morgan Live" staff members might allow for him to offer his uninhibited forecast:
"If I were to sit around with a glass of wine, and talk with you and Katie [Thomson, "Piers Morgan Live" Senior Producer] about that, I'd say I think there's a good shot at a manslaughter conviction," he revealed, referencing both the host, and the show's primary booker tasked with scheduling legal experts and analysts. "I also don't think the jury's going to be out that long."
Watch the clip for more of Morgan's interview with J. Cheney Mason, and for the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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