The prosecution’s “star witness” against former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, accused of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, endured an embarrassing grilling both inside the Florida courtroom and in the national media. From potentially incriminating social-media posts publicized by reporters to major gaffes during her testimony, Rachel Jeantel, 19 (shown in photo), has sparked even more criticism of what legal experts say appears to be an overzealous bid to convict Zimmerman regardless of the evidence supporting his claims of self-defense.
First, reporters uncovered a Twitter account used by Jeantel, who was on the phone with Martin shortly before he was killed and has been repeatedly described as prosecutors’ “star” witness in the case. While dozens of the expletive-laced and potentially incriminating messages were deleted or “scrubbed” in recent days, the controversial posts were captured by journalists before being taken down. Jeantel tweeted about everything from “getting high” and drug use to underage drinking and apparent drunk driving.
Inside the courtroom, matters went even worse for prosecutors. Among other controversies, the key witness was forced to admit in cross-examination that she could not understand the handwriting in a letter that she supposedly “wrote” about the killing. “I don’t read cursive,” she responded when Zimmerman’s defense attorney asked Jeantel if she could read the document. The witness claimed that a friend had helped her write it, but media accounts said the explosive revelation sent a “hush” through the courtroom.
Jeantel’s testimony also revealed other major holes in the prosecution’s case. For example, while the establishment media and race-profiteers have been fiendishly trying to paint Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, as a racist, Jeantel said that Martin had in fact made a racist comment about Zimmerman over the phone. According to the witness, Martin told her there was a "creepy-a** cracker" following him. Cracker, of course, is generally considered a racist term used to describe whites.
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Photo of Rachel Jeantel: AP Images