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Video: Zimmerman legal team says he is ‘distraught’

  1. Transcript of: Zimmerman legal team says he is ‘distraught’

    GREGORY: Kerry Sanders , thank you. Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig are George Zimmerman 's attorneys. Good morning to both of you.

    Mr. HAL UHRIG (Attorney for George Zimmerman): Good morning.

    Mr. CRAIG SONNER (Attorney for George Zimmerman): Good morning.

    GREGORY: Nice to both -- have you both here. Mr. Uhrig , let me start with you. When do you expect to meet with Mr. Zimmerman face to face, and are you getting closer to the point where you think it would be beneficial to have him tell his story publicly?

    Mr. UHRIG: Well, two things. Number one, we expect to meet with him very soon, perhaps this week. In terms of the timing for when he's going to be able to tell his story, we're constrained. We've got a special prosecutor who's still in the process of completing an investigation. The last thing we want to do is get sideways with her or do anything that would compromise her decision-making process. So we've got a little problem with that. As soon as he is either dismissed or they decide not to charge him, or if he's eventually vindicated, he'll come out. If they charge him, then you're not going to hear from him till it's over.

    GREGORY: What do you think they're looking at, the special prosecutor ? Where is the real focus of the investigation? Will it be on this Stand Your Ground law and whether that's applicable here?

    Mr. SONNER: I think that's going to be one of the -- one of the main things they're looking at. You know, was it self-defense? Did he -- was the use of force lawful? And they're going back through all of the investigation. I think there are different forensic reports. There are, you know, different articles of evidence that are -- that they're going to review, as well as statements made by the different witnesses as well as George Zimmerman .

    GREGORY: One of the issues here is whether there was a rush to judgment , a rush to not arrest. Is that going to be a factor here? Why in such a short period of time did they make a decision that none of these factors being what they were would warrant additional questioning or even apprehension? Could they make a decision that quickly...

    Mr. UHRIG: Sure.

    GREGORY: ...that he was within the bounds of Stand Your Ground ?

    Mr. UHRIG: Yeah. If you understand the law, you understand the rush to judgment was the rush to afterwards complain that he wasn't arrested. The Florida statute actually prohibits law enforcement from making an arrest under circumstances where self-defense is claimed, and it's not absolutely clear that the use of force was unlawful. So if you claim self-defense and some of the forensics support that...

    GREGORY: Mm-hmm.

    Mr. UHRIG: ...it would be improper to make a defense. We heard one of the attorneys for the family say, 'Well, they should arrest him and let him prove in court that he's innocent.' It doesn't really work that way in this country.

    GREGORY: What is it that you think we're going to learn from the actual face-to-face encounter?

    Mr. SONNER: So that part is probably not answered at this point, and that's going to be part of the investigation. And again, we're not going to go into that part until it's released.

    Offscreen Voice: Mm-hmm.

    Mr. SONNER: People have jumped to conclusions, wrongful conclusions, I believe. And I think once the investigation comes out I think the country will see why the Sanford Police Department made the decision they did at that time.

    GREGORY: Mr. Uhrig , does Mr. Zimmerman regret, does he feel remorse for what happened?

    Mr. UHRIG: He's remorseful for the unintended consequences of what happened out of this incident. I believe that everything he did was justified, but he is distraught over the fact that a life was taken. He recognizes, and we recognize, that the Martin family are going through excruciating pain and grief. We feel for them, we pray for them. We pray also for the Zimmerman family that's been destroyed by this incident, as well.

    GREGORY: All right, more to come on this. Thank you both very much. Craig Sonner , Hal Uhrig , thanks. And once again here's Ann.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 4/9/2012 9:13:46 AM ET 2012-04-09T13:13:46

A special prosecutor is set to present her findings from the investigation into the Trayvon Martin shooting as early as Tuesday.

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Unless those findings don't result in a charge, George Zimmerman is keeping quiet.

“As soon as he is either dismissed, or they decide not to charge him, or he is eventually vindicated, he’ll come out,’’ said attorney Hal Uhrig, who is defending Zimmerman along with Craig Sonner. “If they charge him, then you’re not going to hear from him until it’s over.’’

Video: Zimmerman legal team says he is ‘distraught’ (on this page)

Uhrig and Sonner expect to meet with Zimmerman this week. The neighborhood watch volunteer, who shot 17-year-old Martin in what he claims was self-defense, has been in hiding because of threats against his life.

Zimmerman's quick release by the Sanford police and the state attorney — just seven hours and 50 minutes after the shooting — has come under scrutiny. Within a week, the state attorney had ruled that Zimmerman feared for his life and should not be charged.

Prosecutor: No grand jury for Trayvon Martin case

Experts told NBC News that they believe that timetable appears unusually fast. An autopsy and toxicology report, one of the standards in investigating a fatal shooting, could not have been completed in that short period of time, Kerry Sanders reported Monday.

“When a man with a gun kills someone who is unarmed, it certainly should take a lot more than seven hours to reach the bottom line as to whether there’s a crime,’’ former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey told NBC News.

Story: Website to raise funds for Zimmerman defense

Uhrig, who was a legal analyst for Fox Orlando during the Casey Anthony trial and recently joined Zimmerman’s defense team, believes local authorities observed proper procedure based on Florida's self-defense laws.

“The Florida statute actually prohibits law enforcement from making an arrest under circumstances where self defense is claimed and it’s not absolutely clear that the use of force was unlawful,’’ Uhrig said. “We’ve heard one of the attorneys for the family say, ‘Well they should arrest him and let him prove in court that he’s innocent.’ It doesn’t really work that way in this country.’’

Video: Grand jury to mull Trayvon Martin case (on this page)

“People have jumped to conclusions, wrongful conclusions I believe, and I think once the investigation comes out, the country will see why the Sanford Police Department made the decision they did at that time,’’ said Sonner.

Much of the investigation revolves around whether or not Zimmerman’s shooting was lawful under the Stand Your Ground law in Florida.

“I think that’s going to be one of the main things they’re looking at — was it self defense?’’ Sonner said. “Was the use of force lawful?’’

Zimmerman's defense team said that he has expressed remorse.

“He’s remorseful for the unintended consequences of what happened out of this incident,’’ Uhrig said. “I believe everything he did was justified, but he is distraught over the fact that a life was taken. He recognizes and we recognize that the Martin family is going through excruciating pain and grief. We feel for them, we pray for them, and we pray also for the Zimmerman family that’s been destroyed by this incident as well.’’

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