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Tom Joyner Morning Show commentator Roland Martin talks with Rachel Jeantel’s attorney Rod Vereen about the 19-year-old’s crucial testimony in the George Zimmerman case, the misrepresentation of her character in the media and he reveals exclusive details about her friendship with Trayvon.

According to Vereen, Martin was one of the good guys who did not ridicule the teenager. Vereen recounted a prior interview with Jeantel where she explained their bond, “she said he was one of the few guys that never made fun of me, about the way I dressed, about the way I talked, about my hair, about my complexion… about my weight.”

Read the entire interview below to find out more details about Jeantel’s friendship with Trayvon Martin and Vereen’s opinion on how the trial has fared thus far.


ROLAND MARTIN :  Tom, so many people were discussing Rachel Jeantel on social media.  It was the commentary about her and unfortunately she can’t talk right now publicly because she is still under subpoena.  But Rod Vereen is her attorney, and we wanted to reach out to him because there are still so many questions about, you know, her testimony, the prosecution, how she is doing, he joined us right now.  Rod, good morning.

 ATTORNEY ROD VEREEN:  Good morning, how are you today, Roland?  Good morning.

ROLAND MARTIN :  Rod, let’s get right to it.  One of the things that so many people are talking about, there was a lot of criticism on her testimony the first day.  Was she prepared by the prosecution?  Was she walked through this process at all?

 ATTORNEY ROD VEREEN:  Well, to answer the question, the short answer is absolutely not.  And, you know, sometimes I think it was by design, and when I sit back and reflect on what took place in this case, you know, and watching Mr. De La Rionda, who is the prosecutor of the case, how he’s presented his case.  I think what he wanted from Rachel actually is exactly what he got.  He just wanted unrehearsed raw testimony.

 People don’t know why it is I got involved in this case.  About a week prior to Rachel’s testimony I was contacted by a member of the same church that she attends.  Who is actually the formal law enforcement officer who had grew up with me, who contacted me and said, Rod, listen, we think that Rachel needs some to assist her because she has not been, you know, vetted, if you will, by the prosecution concerning, you know, how testify in the court, her demeanor, things of that nature.  So when I got in contact with Rachel she and I sat down and I spoke with her, albeit briefly, about the testimony she had planned on giving.

 Because one, I didn’t have a chance to speak with the prosecution, I didn’t know what the strategy was going to be.  I didn’t know the total facts.  I mean I knew very little about the Trayvon Martin prosecution as far as the number of witnesses they were going to call, the strategy they were going to use to use in front of the jury.  So one of the things I did not do was, you know, sit down with her and go verbatim what she was going to testify to because Rachel had given a number of statements.  Okay, and I was not privy to those statements, so I didn’t want to go in and screw things up with the prosecution so what I did …

TOM JOYNER:  Well, how do you think it worked out?

ATTORNEY ROD VEREEN:  Well, you know, listen, every trial, no matter, you know, what the charges are, you’re going to have good witnesses, you’re going to have bad witnesses.  One of the things that I thought was good about Rachel’s testimony; it was one that was actually unrehearsed.  Her emotions got to her the first day and I think that’s because of the fact that Rachel, you got to remember now, she’s a 19 year old young lady who has had no experience what so ever with the criminal justice system.  All right?  And she didn’t understand that there’s a different dynamic in the courtroom concerning how you’re going to be treated by one side versus the other.  All right?  Whatever side calls you is going to be the side that’s really going to be the nicest to you.  They’re going to be, they’re going to coddle you, when you get on the stand they’re going to ask you questions that you’re familiar with what the answers are going to be. 

 She did not understand that there was going to be this good cop, bad cop type of personalities in that courtroom.  She didn’t – and when she came in contact with Don West, even at the deposition, she didn’t understand that he was going to be jumping all over her, because her question, to me, after, when she was, when we were sitting down speaking, she says, well, my first contact with Don West he was very hostile towards me.  And, you know, these aren’t the words she used, these are my words.  And then she inquired, she said, well, doesn’t he want to know the truth?  And I said, you know, unfortunately sometimes when we get to these cases they don’t want to know the truth.  They want to know what they need to know, and what they want you to, what they can manipulate to say that’s going to help them in their case.

ROLAND MARTIN :  Ron, how is she doing? How is she mentally because so many people, and unfortunately way too many African Americans were just trashing this young girl.  Is she off of social media?  Are people texting her?  How is she doing today?

ATTORNEY ROD VEREEN:  Well, she is doing just fine.  And I say that with reservation.  This was traumatic for her.  I was listening to the radio yesterday and there was some, you know, they had a town hall meeting somewhere here in Miami.  And one of the, I think they had psychiatrist, psychologist saying, oh, yeah, it is clearly obvious that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.  I differ with that.  I beg to differ.  What she went through was traumatic, yes.  You know, but she is dealing with it as best she can.  She lost a good friend. 

 And let me just say this, this is what a lot of people don’t know.  The relationship she had with Trayvon Martin, she was a close personal friend.  They had gone to elementary school together, separated over the years with regards they hadn’t seen each other, and then they connected again a couple of years ago.  But when I asked her, because I thought she was the girlfriend initially, that’s how it was brought to me, that she was the girlfriend.  She says, no, I was not the girlfriend of Trayvon Martin.  She said Trayvon Martin had another young lady he was dating. 

 But Trayvon was one of the few guys, okay, and this is what, I mean, this ripped, tore my heart apart.  She said he was one of the few guys that never made fun of me, about the way I dressed, about the way I talked, about my hair, about my complexion, you know, about my weight.  And she said, so we communicated, because Rachel was, she was pretty much an introvert and so for her to be a 19-year-old young lady, who speaks three different languages.  Now I hate to hear people talking, oh, she’s ignorant and she speaks three different languages, English being her third language.  Her education, yeah, is lacking in some …

ROLAND MARTIN :  Rod, what are the other two languages?

ATTORNEY ROD VEREEN:  She speaks Creole, she speaks Spanish.

SYBIL WILKES :  Her dad is Dominican and her mom was Haitian.

ATTORNEY ROD VEREEN:  Her father is from the Dominican Republic, her mother is Haitian, and she speaks English. She doesn’t read cursive well, but then again the officer that was testifying the other day on the stand couldn’t read cursive well either.  She was sitting there, you know, struggling over a letter.  All right?  They don’t teach that in school today.  All right, so when I hear these folks jumping all over her and castigating her in the court of public opinion, it makes me say to myself, now see this is why people do not want to come out and be witnesses in cases when they see things happen because they’re going to be ridiculed and just castigated in the court of public opinion.

TOM JOYNER:  And she liked Trayvon because he didn’t tease her.

SYBIL WILKES:  He was nice to her.

TOM JOYNER:  He was nice to her.

ATTORNEY ROD VEREEN:  Very nice to her.  Trayvon was a handsome little boy, all right?  He was a cute kid.  You know, and so here’s a young lady who’s infatuated the fact that somebody like Trayvon Martin befriended her and then she was just struck at the fact that their friendship was the way it was and they texted each other all the time.  They called each other all the time, you know?  And this is the way she communicated with them, you know. 

 And so she was familiar with his vernacular, okay.  And so when I heard that, you know, the testimony of Zimmerman on the audio tape and the video tape about the words that were used, one of the things I spoke about last night on Piers Morgan was the fact that, that was not the vernacular of Trayvon Martin, or any kid I’m going to, you know, the word ‘homie’?  I mean, c’mon man, we used that ten years ago.  Now that may have been something I would have used, okay, but Trayvon Martin?  No, that’s not something he’d use.

 And if you listen, okay, because as a defense attorney, and as a prosecutor, when you listen to the words that Zimmerman was saying on that audio tape, and on the video tape, he was trying to say every, you know, what we call, word, okay, hit word, that would be something that you would say, okay, this now authorizes him to use deadly force.  He says Trayvon Martin says to him, you’re going to die today.  No, no, no, no, no, you don’t go from running from somebody to why are you following me until oh, I’m going to kill you, you’re going to die today.  Because you’re trying to say all these key words to say this is why I did it.  Because he put this fear in my mind that he was going to kill me, or you’re going to die today.  Oh, then he put his hands on his nose, I mean, his hands over my mouth and over my nose, again, because if he cuts off my breath I can die.  Then it changes to he was pounding my head, okay, on the pavement.  No concussions, no hematomans.  I mean there’s too much lacking…

SYBIL WILKES :  You know what?  They need you on the prosecution.

 ATTORNEY ROD VEREEN:  You know what?  I wish I could go to Jacksonville today and they swear me in right now because I would tell Mr. De La Rionda just let me do the closing argument.  Okay?  Because what’s lacking in this case is that they don’t have anyone to sit here and decipher for that audio tape for them, that video tape for them, and show them, you know, where the problem is with regard to Zimmerman’s statement.  But here’s one of the main things I want people to realize.

 …Zimmerman said that he mounted Trayvon on his back.  And that he stretched his hands out while he still had his gun in his hand when the other gentleman says, hey, I’m about to call the police and call 911.  He says, no, don’t do that, help me with this guy.  If that’s the case, and we we knew that Trayvon Martin was dead, why is it that when they found the body both of his arms were tucked up under him?  Because Zimmerman is lying.  Because Zimmerman is lying.

“Million Hoodie” Candlelight vigil held in honor of Trayvon Martin in NYC
9 photos

54 thoughts on “Trayvon Martin Was One of the Few Guys Who Didn’t Tease Rachel Jeantel- ROD VEREEN

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  3. Annie Rayne on said:

    As far as this juror is concerned, on Piers Morgan … I do not want to hear her cry. I respect her right as a juror to decide whatever … but as for what it means to Trayvon’s family … I just do not want to hear her cry. If she is crying, then she should have decided manslaughter. It’s just upsetting. I feel like “don’t cry and then hit me at the same time.” Know what I mean?

    • JanCorey on said:

      It’s very hard Annie Rayne to know after the facts become more apparent that Trayvon was nothing more than a thug who the court has decreed deserved to die for his criminal actions against George Zimmerman.

  4. Annie Rayne on said:

    so glad to hear Rachel Jeantel tonight on Piers Morgan. the juror made me sad by what she said. Rachel filled me with happiness and peace. thank you Rachel. I agree with you, Rachel, I think Zimmerman is weak : ( I would ask this juror, but didn’t Trayvon have a right to defend himself?

    • Annie Rayne,
      Dang it! I keep missing Ms. Jeantel’s interview! I read some of her statements and it is OBVIOUS that she was NOT lying nor is she illiterate. Someone stated that the jurors were from Zimmerman’s world and could not grasp what Ms. Jeantel was saying. She can speak three (or four?) languages fluently; I only speak one while understanding a second. If she can speak more than two languages, I hardly deem that as illiterate. Yes, she is 19 years old and still in the 12th grade, but she can FLUENTLY speak three languages. I suppose they have to keep her until she can read and write cursive. And if you think about it that’s a good thing, as I am SO tired of the education systems passing our kids on to the next grade without proper education.

  5. Some of us have already decided that Zimmerman is guilty as well as some of us have already decided he is innocent. Some of us will hold to our beliefs no matter what the outcome, while some are willing to wait to see if we are wrong.
    While I currently believe Zimmerman is guilty, I am not willing to close my mind and stick with my original thought. I am willing to be acceptable and open to the idea that something could be discovered that would change my mind.

    • JanCorey on said:

      How many time would you allow someone to slam your head against a cement walkway while hearing that person said he was going to kill you? Once? Twice? Three times? Ten times?

      • I see you have already concluded Zimmerman is innocent.
        I SERIOUSLY PRAY that the people on that jury are not as narrow-minded as you are.

      • JanCorey on said:

        I agree with you Keeba that Mr. Zimmerman is not guilty of any crime in this case, and I hope also that the jurors are not narrow-minded either. This case could not be a more pure and simple case of self-defense if there ever was one.

  6.  It is unbelievable that the people who claim to be rational, reasonable, and more just than white people, can not see through the junk mail that their leaders are sending them. Rod Vereen is either a stooge, or a plant to sabatage Rachel Vereen’s perjury. First he claims that they could not prepare Rachel Jeantel for cross-examination, because they could not determine what questions the defense would ask. Please, any lawyer who is worth the weight of his jurisprudence diploma can put together a line of questioning for any witness for any case – that is apart of law school. I agree that public defenders are well versed in explaining to their clients that they cannot put together a defense and that they had better take the plea agreement and start serving their time, but if a case goes to trial the lawyers have to put together a decent defense.

    Mr. Vereen’s excuses for Jeantel are just silly, and meant to pander to ignorant people – blacks. Later in his Piers Morgan interview, he explains that the defense attorney, Don West, heard a deposition of Jeantel! What more preparation for trial testimony does she need?
    The court procedure has avoided adequately explaining what happened when police found Trayvon’s cell phone. If you were a cop in such a situation what are you going to do with his phone? Wait until someone calls, and trace the numbers in the memory – right? Trayvon’s people do not file a report until the next morning, and that is supposed to be acceptable for a wonderful and innocent child like Trayvon Martin???
    Rachel Jeantel testified that she believed that Trayvon got into a fight and that it was “no big deal, because he was near his daddy’s home.” She said she called back once and Trayvon did not answer. Her lawyer, Rod Vereen is claiming that she loved Trayvon, because he was kind to her, and did not make fun of her; but for some reason she is not concerned about his well being beyond not getting a response from him after she believed he got into a fight??? And we are supposed to accept that that is because black people are afraid to call the police, because they are afraid they are going to get arrested; yet we are supposed to be understanding when they call 911, because they did not get French fries in their Happy Meal???
    From testimony we learn that Trayvon’s mother checked out Jeantel several days after Trayvon’s funeral; police probably told Trayvon’s mother to request a written document. Jeantel gives her a letter that she claims she cannot read, because she doesn’t read cursive, and we are supposed to be understanding. In response to her seeming illiteracy, Vereen claims she speaks three languages, but she does not have an accent??? Jeantel probably wrote something to the effect that she stopped talking to Trayvon early in the timeline, probably when he was at the store where he told her what he had bought, as she wrote in the letter and found at the scene – when was that information publicly released? So, when Jeantel testified in court that she was talking to Trayvon further on down the timeline (at the mailbox area), Trayvon’s mother realized that Jeantel is lying; and she knows to suspect that she heard the whole thing, slipping and falling on the grass, the cries for help, and then the gun shot.
    It is a mistrial by design that is why the defense attorney, Don West, did the “knock-knock” joke, and there have been other disorderly procedures, because they are trying to extract the truth from Jeantel; eventually she will confess. It is a real shame we have to go through this, and it is not going to look good for all the celebrities who have pledged their allegiance in championing Trayvon and Rachel Jeantel as being innocent children. The whole world is watching this trial and they are not as dumb as the people who believe Rachel Jeantel.

    • I think you have a fabulous imagination!! Sooo much detail! LOL …. Ever consider being a writer?? With an active imagination like that, you could earn many $$$’s!! Sitting here shaking my head…

  7. False Equivalence on said:

    Jeantel is an uncouth and disgusting specimen and the idea that anyone would defend her is absolute insanity.

  8. Have I missed something or are the Prosecuting Attorneys, George Zimmerman’s attorneys, and everyone else totally overlooking the fact that Travon Martin was on his cell phone throughout most of this ordeal. I can’t recall having heard on statement that said Zimmerman saw him on his phone. However, based on the phone records that have already been introduced into evidence, it would almost be impossible for him not to have been seen talking on the phone at several of the incidences where he was in clear view of Zimmerman. I think this is an important, and very convenient ommision by the Defense..

    • You are the only one who seems to be able to figure it out. The trial is a farce – they are still trying to get Rachel Jeantel to fess up. By the way it is no coincidence that President Obama was on a flight to Africa when Jeantel was testifying.

    • Reality Bites on said:

      Zimmerman never saw a phone because Trayvon had a headset/ earpiece with his phone in his pocket. Zimmerman thought Trayvon looked suspicious with his hoodie up.. the hoodie protected the headset from the rain and blocked Zimmerman’s view of it. He also said.. this kid is acting weird like he is on drugs. Ever see someone walking down the sidewalk and think they are talking to themselves and then realize they are talking to someone through a headset? The phone records show she was talking to Trayvon right up until a few moments before he was shot. So then it comes down to it do you believe that Trayvon said “get off me” before the phone went dead and might have been fighting off GZ who may have wanted to try to detain him until the police got there or do you believe Zimmerman’s account of things. I sometimes have a hard time believing someones account when they are the only surviving witness trying to save their own bacon.

      • Reality Bites ,
        Good agreeable points.
        Did they say whether Zimmerman’s flashlight was or was not working?

  9. Alfred Jacobs on said:

    Everyone please listen to Zimmerman’s non dispatch call again and listen carefully. When the dispatcher asked for his last name he cocks his gun then says “Zimmerman”. Then he starts hitting his flashlight. He had his gun out and ready while still on the phone with dispatch. He committed Murder. He is a Lier!!!

  10. So far, I am convinced that George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin. However, I will not be surprised if he walks; I do not believe there will be justice.

      • teddymear on said:

        Jan are you a Mom? Do you have a teenage son? I didn’t think so. I have never read such heartless comments, especially your first one. My only hope is that Trayvon’s Mom doesn’t read them. If GZ had waited at his car for the police, Trayvon would have had time to make it home with his skittles and drink and we wouldn’t be here commenting. Such a waste. Such a tragedy. Trayvon was the one in fear of his life, not GZ. Remember, GZ followed TM AND had a gun. Why would he be afraid?

      • JanCorey on said:

        I am so thankful Trayvon was killed and not simply wounded. Praise the Lord he died.

      • JanCorey on said:

        I am so very glad that Trayvon got what he deserved. At least now he can’t smash any more heads into the cement walkways.

  11. LockupZIMMquick on said:

    I just can’t wait til that sucker gets locked up I hope he gets at least 25 years behind bars!!! That lying wanna-be cop. Didnt he and his wife lie about not being able to afford an attorney? Didnt he beat up a cop before this tragedy? I wish I was on that jury!!!

    • And in addition to that, he’s gained 120 lbs in a year! Over $65,000 just for accommodation for a year! Must be some pretty nice digs for that $$, and must be posh restaurants and bars too! Not easy to gain that much wgt in a year!! Living the good life off ppl that believe his BS story!!

      • JanCorey on said:

        Now that’s a point to make, although there was no was BS in his story, and his upcoming acquittal will prove that against your wrong assertions against victim-Zimmerman. You might become quite surprised if the prosecution fails to prove their case of second degree murder because it never happened in the first place cheena1..

  12. Jimmy Edwards on said:

    JanCorey where did you this info that she is a welfare recipient ,Rachel is the only one that hasn’t lied about the facts in this case. Her story never changed about the facts , Johnathans Good’s did

  13. Sharon Foley on said:

    It’s very sad that people get such joy out of hurting others Why? What do they get out of it? Does it make them feel better about them selves? Very sad!

    • Sharon,
      You’re right, it is sad. It is so easy to sit behind this computer and debase others. All of us must teach the children how to behave.

  14. Tina904 on said:

    My question is…was Zimmerman a self appointed Neighborhood Watch Captain? How is it that the witnesses that testified last week all stated that they’d lived in the community for years and not one said they knew Zimmerman and had never seen him before. That alone is suspect to me.

    • JanCorey on said:

      Do you know the name and have met your community watch captain Tina? Every community has one. Sounds like you are afraid of the facts that will certainly win an acquittal in this case as no person who defends their own life from an attack by an illegally-high-drug-doper should ever be questioned, let alone charged with a crime. I put the prosecution’s life-expectency in their future careers at about 5 months after trial, just like when the state failed to prove Casey Anthony was guilty of anything more than lieing.

  15. This is a classic example of “Judging a book by it’s cover”. I’m proud to know that Trayvon Martin was treating this young lady with kindness and decency. My daughters and I talk about the difficulties of not fitting into societies image of beauty from time to time and what I will say is that at no point in time should anyone assume that a person’s aptitude or education is linked to how they look. My summa cum laude best friend often says ” There are a lot of Pretty Girls and Boys in the nut house”. She teaches many of them everyday and I manage many of them everyday as well. We should never judge a book by it’s cover and if we do, shame on us.

  16. Tamara on said:

    That’s nice that Trayvon didn’t belittle Rachel. But the Defense didn’t either.

    Look, Rachel is a key figure in this case. Martin family attorney Ben Crump has told us for over a year that Rachel is the prosecution’s “star witness”. Angela Corey used Rachel’s statements in her probable cause affidavit charging Zimmerman with murder. Zimmerman is facing life in prison. It’s totally appropriate for Rachel to spend some quality time on the stand and be grilled by the Defense attorneys. The Defense attorneys were never inappropriate or disrespectful. They handled her properly, in fact quite gently considering her relative importance in the case.

  17. Just how uneducated is she if she speaks three languages? I know two languages but only speak one fluently.
    I wonder how many languages each juror speaks.

  18. People are so quick to judge others for their lack of something. Before finding fault in others, take a real good look at yourself because you are not flawless.Instead of our people trying to lift one another up, we want to ridicule. Just STOP IT because you are no better. Rachel speaks three different languages, how many can you speak and ebonics don’t count. I think Rachel did good considering the pressure she was under. Don West pissed me off and I wasn’t on the stand. And old saying goes “Think before you speak”. Put yourself in the other persons position and stop be so critical because you are not perfect either.

  19. JanCorey on said:

    If a person did not tease Rachel Jeantel, or at least encourage Rachel to get a good education, that speaks volumes of that person (which is not good for that person imo). Rachel is an excellent example of an uneducated welfare recipient.

    • pac4me on said:

      Jan – while, you are right in your comment about an uneducated young woman, that does not excuse people’s ridicule of her, this was a prime example of when it was necessary for people to come together and help this young lady – she has experienced something that I believe was traumatic for her – she was on the phone talking to her friend and the next thing he is dead

      • JanCorey on said:

        Thank you for at least reading even though you clearly do not understand the facts of the case.

  20. This was a good response to the defense trying to demonize Trayvon. But, I cannot help to be angered by the images in my head of this young lady being the ridiculed because of her differences. This speaks volumes to our intolerance as a people and underscores the essence of this entire case.

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