The Corner

Defense Attorney: ‘I Will Prove To You That My Client Is Innocent’

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara began his closing statement in the George Zimmerman trial arguing that the prosecution failed to definitively prove that Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin.

O’Mara told jurors,“I will prove to you that my client is innocent.” It is the responsibility of the state, not the defense, to prove anything “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Nonetheless, O’Mara explained that he wanted to take up this larger burden to demonstrate just how thoroughly the prosecution failed to prove Zimmerman’s guilt.

“They are supposed to use words like ‘certainty,’ and ‘definite,’ and ‘without question’” said O’Mara, “these are the words and phrases of good prosecutors.” Instead, however, prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda used words like “maybe,” “what if,” and “could’ve been.”

O’Mara argued that the prosecution actually used the language typical of defense attorneys – trying to cast doubt on the narrative of the shooting, rather than to provide a “theory of the case” that proves that Zimmerman shot Martin out of hatred and ill-will.

Yesterday, Rionda argued that Zimmerman “profiled” and “made assumptions” about Martin that ultimately led to the shooting. Today O’Mara reversed that language, saying that Rionda is asking jurors to make their own assumptions that are not grounded in the evidence.

There is a notable clash of styles between the two attorneys. Yesterday, Rionda was animated in court, often raising his voice and pointing accusingly towards Zimmerman. O’Mara, on the other hand, speaks softly and thoughtfully to jurors, asking them not to jump to any conclusions, but to rely solely on the evidence. 

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