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Rachel Jeantel, Key Trayvon Martin Witness, Admits To Errors, Defends Testimony

Submitted by on June 28, 2013 – 9:36 amNo Comment

In a contentious two days of testimony, the last person ever to speak to Trayvon Martin was forced to confess inaccuracies in her previous statements, while clashing frequently with George Zimmerman‘s defense lawyer. Rachel Jeantel was talking on the phone with Martin when he noticed and was later confronted with Zimmerman.

Jeantel testified that Martin said he was being followed by a “crazy-ass cracker.” Jeantel claims she told him to run, but that he said he was near his father’s girlfriend’s home

Jeantel claims she then heard a confrontation, and Martin saying “get off.” Zimmerman defense attorney Don West challenged Jeantel on this point, saying she was pressured to say this. Though Jeantel has confessed to other discrepancies, and admitted she does not now if Zimmerman hit Martin, she has not changed her statement about Martin saying “get off.”

West and Jeantel clashed frequently during the two days. At various points, Judge Debra Nelson asked West to lower his voice, step away from the witness, and not interrupt her.

West pressured Jeantel about several issues not directly related to what happened on the night of Feb. 26, 2012. Jeantel was forced to confess that she initially lied about her age to investigators, claiming to be a minor because she did not want to be involved; and she falsely claimed to be in the hospital on the day of Martin’s funeral, because she did not want to see his body. In an emotional moment in court, Jeantel confessed she could not read cursive handwriting, and therefore did not write a letter (now in evidence) to Martin’s mother about that night. But Jeantel still maintains she dictated the letter to someone else.

Jeantel also confessed that she did not entirely understand what was going on during her initial deposition, and did not want to be there.

Jeantel has become a flashpoint in the trial, dividing spectators along lines similar to those already dividing opinions about Martin and Zimmerman. Critics see her as a surly and unreliable witness. Cruel comments about her weight and language have also flooded social media.

But others see Jeantel as a normal, working class teenager, thrown into unimaginable circumstances.

Zimmerman, now 29, has confessed to shooting Martin, then 17. Zimmerman claims self-defense; he is on trial for second-degree murder .

[image by Reuters/Jacob Langston/Pool]

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