>By Sarah Seltzer | Sourced from AlterNet |Posted at April 11, 2012, 11:12 am | [Watch the video below on: Zimmerman defense bolts! Gbismarc!]
Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey on Wednesday announced that George Zimmerman will be charged with second-degree murder. She confirmed that Zimmerman… is in custody after turning himself in.
“It is the search for justice for Trayvon that brought us here to this moment,” she said at the opening of the press conference.
Updated, from the AP:
BREAKING: Official tells AP: Trayvon Martin’s killer to be charged with 2nd-degree murder; is in custody. -RAS
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 11, 2012
From the Washington Post’s Sari Horwitz, after over 40 days, there is finally the beginnings of what looks like justice for Trayvon Martin:
Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey plans to announce as early as Wednesday afternoon that
In the meantime, here’s Ed Schultz’s segment last night on the latest twists and turns of this case that has gripped the nation. Much of the public pressure and the huge wave of activism has aimed to get this very result: Zimmerman, who killed a young unarmed teen will be ordered to go into court to face a jury of his peers:
The shooter in the Trayvon Martin case, George Zimmerman, has lost his representation. His former attorneys held a press conference announcing they would no longer represent Zimmerman after he stopped responding to their phone calls and began ignoring their advice. Zimmerman did reportedly speak with Sean Hannity.
Transcript: Zimmerman defense bolts
SCHULTZ: Good to have you with us tonight, folks. Thanks for watching. The word is “bizarre” — a very bizarre twist in the Trayvon Martin case. The shooter, George Zimmerman , has gone rogue and his lawyers have had enough. Late today, they cut ties with their client .
SONNER: As of now, we are withdrawing as counsel for Mr. Zimmerman . We’ve lost contact with him. Up to this point, we’ve had contact every day. He has gone on his own. I’m not sure what he’s doing or who he’s talking to. But at this point, we’re withdrawing as counsel.
UHRIG: It’s not so much that we’re resigning. We’re just announcing to you that we can no longer represent him, until such time as he may come forward and ask for that help more formally and in a different context than we’ve had so far.
SCHULTZ: Not only has Zimmerman stopped responding to his attorneys, they don’t even know where he is. They said he’s still in the United States , but apparently he’s not in Florida anymore.
UHRIG: So I will not tell you where George Zimmerman is, because I don’t know. But for those who were engaged in the late Easter egg hunt looking for him, they can stop looking in Florida . Look much further away than that.
SCHULTZ: That statement is a huge concern for the Martin family. One of their attorneys, Benjamin Crump , addressed it in an interview earlier tonight on this network with Al Sharpton .
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY LAWYER: They are concerned that George Zimmerman , the man who killed their son, Reverend Sharpton , is unaccounted for. His lawyers can’t account for his whereabouts. He won’t return their calls. And is he a flight risk? Will he ever be brought to justice, if and when he is charged, for killing their son?
SCHULTZ: Zimmerman seems to be taking matters completely into his own hands. He apparently defied his lawyer’s advice and personally called the special prosecutor in charge of the Trayvon Martin case.
UHRIG: One of the things every defense attorney tells his client is: don’t talk to the prosecutors, don’t talk to the cops. Frankly, don’t talk to anybody until we get control of the situation and do it through counsel. We were a bit astonished and had some conversations back and forth with the special prosecutor ‘s office. And they told us what was expected was, we’re not going to talk to a criminal — potential defendant or suspect or target of an investigation without counsel. We’re just not going to do it. And they told him that.
SCHULTZ: But there is one guy who’s taking Zimmerman ‘s calls.
UHRIG: We learned that he had called Sean Hannity of FOX News directly, not through us, and we believe — I can’t confirm this — but we believe we spoke directly with Sean , off the record, and he’s not even willing to tell us what our client told him.
SCHULTZ: Zimmerman is ditching his lawyers, but he’s talking to Hannity ? I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. Hannity has made it clear whose side he was on when he played the role of defense attorney in a softball interview with George Zimmerman ‘s father last week.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Do you think this has all been a rush to judgment by the media? You obviously have spoken to your son. Tell us his side this of story on this night. Is it true that your son would tutor African-American and minority children on the weekend? Trayvon confronted him, he reached for his cell phone, and Trayvon — this is confirmed. He broke — his nose was broken. And is it true that he had lacerations and injuries to the back of his head, sir? None of us were there and I know people are trying to put this together, but I would argue that there’s been a rush to judgment.
SCHULTZ: What was the question, Sean ? Get your questions out, folks, I want to know what you think. Tonight’s question: will George Zimmerman ever face justice? Text A for yes, text B for no, to 622639. You can always go to our blog at Ed. MSNBC.com , and leave a comment. We’ll bring you the results later on in the show. I’m joined tonight by Mike Papantonio , attorney and host of ” The Ring of Fire ” radio show . And Dan Gelber , former Florida state senator and former federal prosecutor . Gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight. Mike , is this a reasonable move by Zimmerman ‘s attorneys to step out after not being able to get in contact with him for some 48 hours?
MIKE PAPANTONIO, “RING OF FIRE” HOST: Ed , the safest thing these guys should have done is just said, these are irreconcilable differences. Whether it’s safe or not, it’s tough to say right now. What they’ve potentially done is prejudiced Zimmerman by these statements. Understand, he’s going to face a bond hearing in front of a judge at some point. The judge is going to be asking him about this idea of his own attorneys not being able to find him. Second thing they’re going to be asking is this description that they have a client that’s suffering from posttraumatic stress syndrome. So the best thing to do in a situation like this is simply say, we have irreconcilable differences, we’re pulling out. The last thing you want is a loose cannon like Zimmerman talking to another loose cannon like Sean Hannity . Sean Hannity is a polarizing character. And any defense lawyer is going to tell you, you want to go into a trial as neutral as you can. Sean Hannity may not believe this, but there are many jurors that are appalled by Sean Hannity . And simply having his name associated with this is a problem for Zimmerman , as I see it.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Gelber , what would motivate a potential defendant to want to make direct contact with the prosecuting attorney after his attorneys hold him not to do that?
DAN GELBER , FORMER STATE SENATOR: An utter lack of judgment. And that’s the some way to explain it. I mean, if he’s going to represent himself, then he truly has a fool for a client , because he doesn’t have any of the expertise to navigate these waters and the idea that he would go directly to the prosecutor, and equally confounding, to go to someone like Sean Hannity , as if that’s going to help him, is just so — I mean, it reflects that this man really is irresponsible and has no judgment.
SCHULTZ: Well, Mike , what about Sean Hannity ‘s involvement now? How legally involved is he? Because it would seem to me the question by anybody in the legal community would be, Sean , what did you ask him and what did he say?
PAPANTONIO: Exactly. There’s no client — attorney/ client privilege here. What he — everything this man says, every utterance becomes what they call an admission. And that admission can come in many different forms. Hannity can try to spin it however he can, but a good prosecutor can take any admission and usually make it work against the person accused. This guy is looking at potential life sentence , with second-degree murder with a firearm in Florida is a potential life sentence . If it’s manslaughter with a weapon, Ed , he’s looking at 30 years. And you have him out there like a crazy man, talking to other crazy people , like Sean Hannity , who has the potential to deep six his defense . He has a great defense right now. Zimmerman has a plausible defense , because of the incompetence of the state attorney’s office, because of the incompetence of the police department . But he’s losing that edge, and no matter what these defense lawyers do, to try to advise him, he’s not going to listen to him. Both your other guests and I have seen it many times in criminal defense cases. They simply don’t listen.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Gelber , as a prosecuting attorney, how important is it that someone has spoken to George Zimmerman and asked him questions?
GELBER: Well, listen, prosecutors often will go to trial without any statement from the defendant. So the idea that there are people out there who are going to be given the account that he’s given means that he’s tethered to that. It makes it much harder for his defense lawyers to put on a defense . It helps the prosecution immensely. And remember something — this is a tough case to begin with, because of the ridiculous ” Stand Your Ground ” law in Florida . So this at least will maybe swing that pendulum a little bit back in the other way if those statements are ever revealed to the prosecutors.
SCHULTZ: Here’s Hannity on his radio show , revealing that he has spoken to the shooter.
HANNITY: People are trying to make this all about George Zimmerman . And I spoke to George Zimmerman . And I ‘m not going to reveal the contents of that conversation. But I have confirmed, yes, he was a mentor to minority children. Now, if you were a racist, I think you’d be a mentor to minority children.
SCHULTZ: Mr. Gelber , I have to ask — as a prosecutor, if Sean Hannity is saying that he’s not going to reveal the conversation, that would only pique my interest into, what did he the tell you?
GELBER: And the lawyers may get involved. And who knows who else he’s spoken to? I mean, I think it just — you’ve got an out of control client at this point, and I understand why the lawyers want to get out of the case. I agree that laying out their client may not have been the best way to do it, but I understand why when they were communicating with him, they were lawyers without a client for all intents and purposes.
SCHULTZ: All right, Mike , let’s say you’re defending George Zimmerman . I mean, this guy has disregarded the advice of his attorney, just like he disregarded the advice of the 911 operator who told him not to follow Trayvon Martin . How difficult does it make for the defense attorney ?
PAPANTONIO: The defense has — the best defense here, Ed , is that the forensics on the case, the lack of real police work, the lack of what the state attorney’s office did gives Zimmerman a plausible defense . The ” Stand Your Ground ” law gives him a plausible defense . Right now, it’s very defensible. But as Mr. Gelber ‘s pointed out, the more he talks, every word he speaks just gives the prosecutor another edge. What he has now, Ed , he has a bunch of flying monkeys flying around his case. He even has a Web site out that really attracts like skinheads, white supremacists to give to his defense . The whole point of the prosecution is, is this is a murder that took place and racism was part of the reason the murder took place. He has flying monkeys all over his case right here, his defense lawyers — I’m certain that, look, they messed up in saying too much at that press conference. No question about it. But, really, they have an out of control client . Mr. Gelber ‘s had him. I’ve had him before. They’re tough to control. And Zimmerman is his worst enemy. It’s getting worse by the day, every time he speaks.
SCHULTZ: One of the attorneys, Mr. Uhrig compared the Zimmerman case toot famous Florida case. Here it is.
UHRIG: We hope the best for George Zimmerman . We hope for the best for the Martin family as well. When this case is eventually over, and just like Casey Anthony , it will eventually be over, it’s our hope that the Martin family can begin completing the grieving process for their son and that George can get his life reinstated a little bit.
SCHULTZ: Dan , what does it tell you about Zimmerman ‘s lawyers that they’re comparing this to Casey Anthony ?
GELBER: Well, I hope there are no book deals in the offing for anybody. But, listen, this guy is out of control. And, unfortunately for him, and fortunately for the prosecution, he’s acting right now with the same kind of lack of judgment that they’re going to claim, if they do charge him, that he exercised on the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin .
SCHULTZ: Mike Papantonio , Dan Gelber , great to have you with us tonight. Appreciate your time on THE ED SHOW . Thank you. Remember to answer tonight’s question there on the bottom of the screen. Share your thoughts on Twitter @EdShow. We want to know what you think. Up next, did Zimmerman ‘s former attorneys affect a potential case against George Zimmerman ? Former Miami homicide detective John Butchko joins me. And former President George W. Bush , he’s back at it. And he’s trying to explain why the Bush tax cuts shouldn’t be called the Bush tax cuts anymore. But he seems to be a little confused. Stay tuned. We’re