The lawyer for the family of Trayvon Martin said the prosecution’s case against George Zimmerman was likely to be helped by the testimony of a woman who accused the teenager’s shooter of molesting her and of not liking Black people.
“I don’t know how much her statements will be used in the trial,” said Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the family, in an interview with BET.com. “But it certainly helps to paint a fuller picture.”
The woman, who has been identified only as "Witness 9," told investigators that Zimmerman had molested her when they were children. He is about two years older than she is.
People with familiarity with the case say the unidentified woman is a Zimmerman cousin. On an audio recording released on Monday, Witness 9 said the molestation started when she was 6 years old and continued until she was 16.
In one recording, Witness 9 said that Zimmerman and his family discussed race frequently, and they often disparaged African-Americans. She said George Zimmerman and his family often stated that “they only like Black people if they act like white people.”
The unidentified woman also told investigators she did not recall specific racial remarks or any example of racist behavior on the part of Zimmerman. “I can’t remember...” she said. “It’s just a known thing that that’s how their family feels.”
Crump compared the allegations of molestation against Zimmerman to the recent child-molestation case involving former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
"She certainly would be a rebuttal witness very similar to that in the Sandusky trial, showing that he has a history of violence and manipulation," Crump said. "Zimmerman’s mentality is very relevant to this trial."
Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 killing of the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. He has pleaded not guilty, saying he shot the teenager in self-defense. He invoked Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, which allows citizens to use deadly force against another person if they consider themselves to be in danger.
Prosecutors in the case, as well as Trayvon's parents and their lawyers, have contended that the teenager was racially profiled by Zimmerman. Trayvon was Black. Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Peruvian.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)