George Zimmerman’s defence team is not wasting any time in making the prosecution’s star witness seem completely unreliable.
During the second day of 19-year-old Rachel Jeantel’s testimony in the second-degree murder trial, defence attorney Don West was harsh and condescending toward her. At one point, he asked Jeantel if she can read.
Jeantel was friends with slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and was on the phone with him right before he died. She’s testifying about what he told her during their brief conversation about Zimmerman, and about what she told lawyers and law enforcement after Martin died.
West questioned Jeantel about a letter written for Martin’s mother after he died. Jeantel signed the letter with her nickname, Diamond Eugene, but West pointed out that she didn’t actually write it.
The letter gives a short account of Martin’s conversation with Jeantel the night of the confrontation with Zimmerman, and is written in cursive. Jeantel admitted that she can’t read cursive and that she told a friend what to write in the letter.
Later, West noted that Jeantel’s behaviour in court seems different from Wednesday, when she began her testimony.
“Did someone talk with you last night about your demeanor in court yesterday?” West asked her, implying that she had been coached for her second day of testimony. Wednesday, Jeantel seemed fidgety and impatient on the stand.
Jeantel responded “no” to West’s question and told him that she went home and went to sleep after her testimony on Wednesday.
West seemed frustrated with Jeantel during his questioning, and the judge had to continually ask him to keep his questions simple so Jeantel could understand what he was asking and how she should answer.
West has also pointed out some inconsistencies with Jeantel’s account of what happened. Her testimony is falling apart, and it’s not looking good for the prosecution if this is the best witness they have.
Jeantel has already been the subject of some character assassination outside of court — The Smoking Gun published an article earlier this week about tweets that have since been deleted from Jeantel’s account. She talks about drinking and getting high and comments on the case.
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