The Justice Departmnt and FBI have picked up the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case. Zimmerman can't be cleared before the election, so unless they can come up with convincing new evidence (audio wizardry on the 911 tapes?) this case goes into pre-election limbo.
I still think Zimmerman ought to be guilty of something, but under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self defense law (aka "Shoot First"), the other party to their scuffle is dead and no other witnesses seem to contradict the self-defense alibi.
We get a new version of Zimmerman's story:
Zimmerman said he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck, police said. He said he feared for his life and fired the semiautomatic handgun he was licensed to carry because he feared for his life.
The self-appointed self-important neighborhood watch captain wasn't sure what street he was on? Or was he just double-checking?
The police captain had offered this (possibly hypothetical) version of events last week:
“Mr. Zimmerman’s claim is that the confrontation was initiated by Trayvon,” Police Chief Bill Lee said in an interview. “I am not going into specifics of what led to the violent physical encounter witnessed by residents. All the physical evidence and testimony we have independent of what Mr. Zimmerman provides corroborates this claim to self-defense.”
To claim self-defense, someone has to show there was danger of great bodily harm or death, Lee said. “Zimmerman had injuries consistent with his story,” Lee said.
Zimmerman had a damp shirt, grass stains, a bloody nose and was bleeding from a wound in back of his head, according to police reports.
“If someone asks you, ‘Hey do you live here?’ is it OK for you to jump on them and beat the crap out of somebody?” Lee said. “It’s not.”
Since we have the "not going into specifics" disclaimer it is not clear that the bit about "If someone asks you..." is Zimmerman's actual alibi.
Or, I suppose, Zimmerman could have asked that question, turned around, and gotten jumped.
The Feds will sort this out. Either they clear Zimmerman next December or they indict him in October; there is no way they bring this to trial and risk an acquital or dismissal before the election.