TODAY   |  July 14, 2013

Expert: Future litigation for George Zimmerman unclear

TODAY’s legal analyst Lisa Bloom talks to Lester Holt and Kate Snow about whether George Zimmerman could face a civil suit.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> in "today" analyst lisa bloom . lisa, good morning.

>> good morning.

>> you've been following this all along. surprised by this verdict or did you see it coming?

>> not surprised at all. i think the only decision that this jury could reach based on the way the case came to them, not the evidence, but the way the case came to them, was a defense verdict.

>> you know, i asked mr. crump, were there missteps by the prosecution, they were criticized along the way. was it the way they handled the case or was it simply the evidence that wasn't strong enough?

>> i was so surprised by many decisions that were made by the prosecution in had this case. chief among them in closing argument asking questions instead of giving an alternate nar it tirative to the jury, explaining a different story than what the defense was giving. essentially the jury only had one picture at the end of the fight, george zimmerman on the bottom, trayvon martin on the top. the prosecution missed throughout the trial that george zimmerman had said on video that the gun was holstered behind him inside his pants. if so lying on his back it would have been impossible for trayvon martin to see it. throughout the trial they were silent on that point. they mentioned it once only briefly in closing argument . they didn't do a demonstration. they didn't show the video. the prosecution was squeamish on subject of race. they didn't want to talk about race. they didn't want to challenge a defense witness late in the game who was a young woman who had been burglarized by an african-american man. what did that have to do with this case? it wasn't trayvon martin. are we to say that one african american burglar means that all african americans are suspect? in fact, that is what the defense essentially argued in closing argue frlt that trayvon martin was a match to that burglar. in other words, he had the same race as that burglar. in other words, it was aproep appropriate to be suspicious of trayvon martin. totally unclhallenged by the prosecution.

>> do you suspect, do you anticipate there will be a civil case , and how does that work?

>> right. so a civil action has already been filed. now that george zimmerman has been acquitted, of course, he can never be retried for the same charges. but in civil court he no longer has the fifth amendment right against self-incrimination so he can be raequired to testify, he can be required to answer questio questions. we recall the o.j. simpson case where he was acquitted in the criminal case . the civil case he was held liable.

>> i may have misheard this in the flurry of news conferences. i thought the i heard mark o'mara say he would go to court and try to get immunity for george zimmerman . is that something possible to get immunity in a civil --

>> i heard that, too. he would not have immunity in a civil case . perhaps when he meant was in another criminal case . the fbi opened an investigation some time ago, that investigation hases been on hold. the fbi could bring civil rights charges if they were different rights charges. we saw that in the rodney king case in the 1990s . if the charges are different, substantively different, they could go forward.

>> lisa bloom , thank you very much. appreciate it.