Listening to Randi Rhodes earlier today I was reminded of this particular story, which was extremely disturbing when I read it, but, because of the modern miracle of disallowed testimony, it seems most of us have forgotten about it. The story reported by Trymaine Lee, who was on staff at the New York Times before he landed at Huffpost, describes the testimony given by a Puerto Rican/Argentinean woman (referred to as Witness 9), identified as his cousin in this Reuters report, that George Zimmerman had molested her several times.
I remember reading this story back then and finding the testimony credible, for the usual reason. When women go to the police to make an accusation about molestation or rape, it’s not something that’s easy to do. You have to ask yourself, what did this woman have to gain by coming forward? Not a book deal, like one of the jurors blew when she gave that abysmal interview to Anderson Cooper. If you listen to this audio you’ll hear someone who is re-living the horror and dismay related to her experiences with Zimmerman, as well as some revealing insight into his family.
An extended excerpt from Lee’s piece:
“I was afraid that he may have done something because the kid was black,” the witness told investigators. “Because growing up they’ve always made, him and his family have always made statements that they don’t like black people if they don’t act like white people. They like black people if they act white and other than that, they talk a lot of bad things about black people.”
The woman said that Zimmerman’s Peruvian mother was among the more boastfully racist of the clan.
“His mother protested it very loud,” the woman said. During one incident, the woman said that Zimmerman’s mother had come to the witness’s workplace, and during a discussion about President Obama, made it clear how she felt about him and his ethnicity.
“I don’t like Obama,” the woman claimed Zimmerman’s mother stated. “She said, ‘because he is black and I am a racist.’”
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara successfully argued that this testimony should be excluded because of Zimmerman’s right to a fair trial. Last August, O’Mara had Kenneth Lester, the previous judge in charge of the case, removed because he “had flaunted the system and practiced “deception upon the court” after it was revealed that Zimmerman and his wife Shellie had not told the court he had two passports and tried to hide the amount of money their defense fund had raised.” Lester was also behind releasing the tape of his Zimmerman’s cousin’s testimony.
When asked why she was making this statement, Zimmerman’s cousin provided an emotional response. From Lee’s article:
“This is the first time in my life that I’m not afraid of him,” the woman said. “[H]e cant get to me. If I saw him on the street or saw him anywhere it would just make me break down in tears, but now with everything going on I know that he’s not going to be out in public. I won’t go to Target and see him anymore. I’m not afraid of him anymore.”
Maybe, just maybe, if witness 9’s testimony were allowed, no one would be afraid of George Zimmerman and his stand-your-ground gun again.