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June 28th, 2013
02:13 PM ET

"Piers Morgan Live, Rewind": Breaking down Rachel Jeantel, her testimony, and it's impact on the jury

Whether you fell asleep early, stayed out too late, or simply want to watch it again, we realize it's not always possible to get your entire "Piers Morgan Live" fix from television. As an answer to this, we offer the below labor of love – "Piers Morgan Live, Rewind" – dedicated and designed to getting you caught up and connected to the conversation.

  • Martin family attorney on Rachel Jeantel: “This is a person that did not want to testify”

Following day four of the George Zimmerman trial – and a second straight day of testimony from Trayvon Martin's friend – on Thursday evening "Piers Morgan Live" invited Natalie Jackson to offer her insight into the background and experience of Rachel Jeantel, the state's supposed star witness.

"I've only met her once but I'll tell you this is a person that did not want to testify," explained Jackson, the Martin family attorney. "She didn't want to talk to Sybrina Fulton [Martin's mother] about this case, and she certainly didn't want to talk to police officers about this case.”

Describing the young woman who's been shoved under the microscope over the course of the past few days, Jackson continued:

“I think we have to put her into context, Piers. She's 19 years old. She heard her friend die. She heard the last moments of her friend's life and didn't find out about it until later that he died from that phone conversation," Jackson told Piers Morgan. "Since then, this is a national spotlight case, so everyone in the world is criticizing her testimony that's been all over the internet, her interview, the way she speaks, the way they thought she looked because they thought she was someone else. It not easy for a 19-year-old and even today, Rachel Jeantel had to go through it for a year and a half and will have to keep going through it.”

  • Rachel Jeantal on the stand: Examining her demeanor, age, and candidness

On the heels of another dramatic day in court at the George Zimmerman trial, on Thursday “Piers Morgan Live” invited a host of experts to discuss the impact ofstar witnessRachel Jeantel’s testimony, and the significance of the case's all-female jury.

Jury Consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius weighed in on Jeantel’s appearance and behavior, noting that such factors can greatly influence the opinions of jurors:

“She comes in in jeans and a sweater and a little blouse. It's not exactly creating the image of what I think the prosecution wants to present. It does not have the respect that usually a witness has when they walk into the courtroom, number one," detailed Dimitrius. "Number two, I think her demeanor in terms of how she responded to the defense yesterday, before she was worked with last night, certainly did not show again any respect for what happens in the courtroom. Jurors are painfully aware of a witness coming in. This becomes their home and when they see a witness react the way that Rachel did, that's going to be very disturbing, and we also know, finally, that women are much harder on other women than men are in evaluating a woman.”

Maya K. Francis however, pointed out that Jeantel is only human - and a young one at that:

“There was a lot of flak that Rachel caught with respect to her demeanor and what people expect of her. And I think that it's important to recognize that she's 19," said the writer, and brand strategist. "She's, you know, been a witness to a horrible crime, and she's sitting feet away from someone who’s admitted to killing one of her good friends.”

The “demeanor” to which Francis refers has manifested, in some people's opinions, as a blow to the witness’s credibility. But Judge Glenda Hatchett refuted such a conclusion, arguing that her candidness reinforced her reliability:

“I wouldn't go as far to say that she was consistent, but I would say, Piers, that I thought that she was authentic," sighted the the former star of the court show "Judge Hatchett." "Because she could have come in and said all these floury wonderful things and yes, I heard Zimmerman threaten to kill him. I mean, she really wanted to come in and say some things and really be a liar, she could have."

For the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. D

    What about trayvon's rights Jay. You and many others already decided the 17 year old kid was a criminal, base on color and a hoodie. Shame on us that actually want to know what really happened and not give Zimmerman a free pass to kill like this law has, not only on this case but several others.

    Why was his trial two year later then the event ?

    Next the fact that Zimmerman chased the kid down was not enough for the kid to defend himself? Then phone call from the girl proves the case is not self-defense. Trayvon was back in to a corner, If anyone had fear to use deadly force it would be Trayvon. What would you do if some random guy was chasing you down in the middle of the night.

    Then they tried to us trayvon had an MMA stance over Zimmerman. Come to find out t zimmerman was practicing MMA.
    Lets see MMA training = bump and bruises. Next anyone that watch MMA know in a defensive stances, I.E. if zimmerman was on the group the is a position called GUARD, Look it up. Really? Zimmerman was practicing MMA and he needed to gun to subdue a 17 year old kid? Let's not forget Zimmerman was a lot stronger 2 years ago then he is in court.

    June 28, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jim W

    The racism AGAINST George Zimmerman and Paula Deen is appalling. Piers Morgan goes on and on about Rachel Jeantel's humanity, her truthfulness, her ordeal of having to tolerate attacks against her...he talks about people stereotyping her, and not understanding she is a product of her generation. Can you imagine if we had 'freedom of speech' in this country, if we were allowed to talk about Paula Deen's humanity, her truthfulness, her ordeal of having to tolerate attacks against her...talking about people stereotyping her, and not understanding she is a product of her generation? I wish we had freedom of speech...

    June 28, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jas

      Obviously we have freedom of speech-Your ridiculous comments are proof of that-I guess GZ is supposed to have the freedom to kill too-

      June 29, 2013 at 2:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Robin Walkingbird

    Ms. Jeantel's testimony showed that Mr. Zimmerman was Stalking Mr. Martin. Contrary to what some of the people said about Mr. Zimmerman's right to follow Mr. Martin, people do not have the right to Stalk. Mr. Zimmerman's actions following Mr. Martin in his car and then on-foot even after Mr. Martin ran from him meets the definition of Stalking under FL Statute. Stalking made Mr. Martin experience a reasonable apprehension of a battery- which is technically called an assault. We know this because Ms. Jeantel indicated that Mr. Martin thought he might be "jumped." Therefore, Mr. Zimmerman was the first aggressor by his act of assault on Mr. Martin presented in the form of the crime of stalking. As the first aggressor, Mr. Zimmerman does not have the right to raise a self-defense argument. Thank you Ms. Jeantel. I hope the Prosecutor follows-up on this fact.

    June 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    I hurt for the parent's of Travon Martin. Too many are too quick to find him the guilty one in this situation. As the prosecution pointed out, there are too many discrepancies in Zimmerman's story. You must remember that. this started out with lies when he and his wife collected money for his defense on the Internet, only to say that they had no money. They used the money for themselves, in part. It may have purchased all of the new clothes he has worn during the testimony I think he is coward and a liar. Perhaps being a coward is why he was not hired by the police
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