Ben Crump, the attorney representing the family of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, joined Tom Joyner Morning Show commentator Roland Martin to discuss the recent leaks of damning information regarding Martin that’s been purported as evidence through the media and Zimmerman’s legal team.
Crump believes Zimmerman’s camp intentionally leaked the “so-called” evidence to “vilify” Martin and to influence prospective jurors, saying, “it’s a pathetic attempt to pollute and sway the jury pool.” (Read the full interview below)
ROLAND MARTIN: Tom, two weeks, two weeks from now, the trial, the murder trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin will take place in Florida. It is much-anticipated. But it’s quite interesting, you’ve been hearing about all this so-called evidence that has been released last week, his attorneys released so-called evidence in this case. And so we want to turn to Ben Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family to get his perspective on this. Is Ben there
ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP : I’m here, Roland. Good morning.
ROLAND MARTIN : Ben, good morning. So for our audience who heard about this evidence, that they released a photo of someone holding a gun, a photo of a marijuana plant, they say it came from, these images from Trayvon’s cellphone. That’s not actually evidence in this case, correct?
ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP : Absolutely not, Roland. This information released by Mark O’Mara, and the press has not called it that. They’ve accepted everything that he has released as the gospel. All these photographs did not come from Trayvon Martin’s phone. They got these photographs from different social media outlets. This information is not admissible. It is not irrelevant. It is brady evidence which means it’s scopatory. It does nothing to do prove George Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence in this matter. And we think it’s a pathetic attempt to pollute and sway the jury pool.
ROLAND MARTIN : So what the attorney is really trying to do is the attorney is hoping that the judge will allow them to put Trayvon on trial because they want to create this sort of image of him being a thug, of him being somebody who was a criminal as opposed to what took place to lead up to Zimmerman to look at him and say, man, he looks suspicious.
ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP : Absolutely, Roland and Tom, it’s nothing new that George Zimmerman’s lawyers are doing. They’re trying to vilify the victim to say it was justified what George Zimmerman did. Trayvon Martin did not kill anyone. He did not have a gun. He did not get out of his car and chase anybody. He’s not on trial here. But they are trying to play on the fears of America of young black males and they have engaged a stereotypical racist mentality which is right in line with what George Zimmerman did the night he got out that car to chase Trayvon Martin.
TOM JOYNER: Hey Ben, I don’t understand this. I’m just a DJ. How are you going to select a jury with all of this so-called evidence leaked to the press?
ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP : Well Tom, you know, you’re just a DJ. I’m just a country lawyer. And I get it. In the information age everybody knows everything about cases. But what we believe in the jury system if people are truthful and tell us about their biases during jury selection. And they answer the judge truthfully, they say they can follow the evidence. And only the evidence that comes in this court then we believe that if they follow the evidence they will convict George Zimmerman of killing Trayvon Martin. But it’s going to rely on them being honest and truthful. And we will then get a correct verdict in this matter.
SYBIL WILKES: Can you stop them from bringing this evidence out? Or is there anything to be done before this, Ben?
ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP : This evidence is not coming into court. They knew this evidence was not coming into court. They wanted to pollute the jury pool, pollute the mentality of America play on the biases of young black men, trying to paint all young black men as thugs. And it’s so unfair to Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.
TOM JOYNER: And it can’t be stopped?
ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP : Well, unfortunately they can be called on it, but it is up to the Bar Association to determine whether they violated the ethical rules. Now there is no question, Tom, that this was deliberate. They waited until after the jury notices had been sent out to the 500 prospective jurors who got it in the mail saying, oh, I might be in the jury, so they are all watching the news more now. And then they put all this garbage out. And it’s unethical, unfair and is just an attempt to confuse people.
ROLAND MARTIN : And let’s be clear, it is not evidence they have released. It is information. The judge has not even ruled that this information can be presented in trial.
ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP : And that’s so important, Roland, as Attorney Natalie Jackson keeps saying, they took this, Mark O’ Mara put out as state evidence, and they would never do that if the shoe was on the other foot. When you think about the other victims in the Jodi Arias trial, they treated his family with the utmost respect. Why is it when it’s a black victim they have a double standard?
TOM JOYNER: Right.
ROLAND MARTIN : Ben Crump. We certainly appreciate it. Thanks a bunch. And obviously it is a case that we will be following every step of the way. Thanks a lot.
TOM JOYNER: When does the trial start, Ben?
ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP : June 10th. Right now there are motions to continue, the judge is going to decide today.
TOM JOYNER: Will it be on television?
ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP : All day long, Tom.