July 15th, 2013
11:58 AM ET

Family, Friends and Nation React to Zimmerman Verdict

Update: Tune-in to this morning's "New Day" to hear reactions from last night's interviews with Juror B37 who spoke exclusively to CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," and Rachel Jeantel who appeared on "Piers Morgan Live."

"New Day" is on from 6-9am ET on CNN.


“New Day” is covering reactions across the country over the “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial this morning.

The acquittal came late on Saturday night after the jury deliberated for 16 and a half hours. The shock that struck the nation was felt most strongly by Trayvon Martin's family.

Following the case from the very beginning, George Howell tells their story in the above video.

“Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton said in a tweet, quote, ‘Lord, during my darkest hour, I lean on you. You are all that I have,’” Howell reports.

“Martin's father wrote, ‘Even though I'm brokenhearted, my faith is unshattered. I will always love my baby Tray.’”

The somber sentiment was also felt at the Martin family’s home church in Miami Gardens.

“We're very concerned and very hurt and very disappointed at this point,” Martin’s relative Roberta Felton said at a press conference. “But we know in the end, God will prevail and justice will be served....”

The verdict even stirred a response from President Obama, who released a statement saying, "...We are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.”

CNN's Athena Jones has more on the response in Washington.

While Zimmerman's criminal trial may be over, his legal troubles may yet continue. In addition to any future lawsuits by Martin's family, the Justice Department is considering whether there is sufficient evidence to bring a civil rights action.

Attorney General Eric Holder may discuss the case as early as today, when he speaks before a black sorority in the nation’s capital, Jones reports. And she explains that it is not a clear, open and shut case.

“There’s a very high bar when it comes to federal civil rights charges here,” she says. “They have to prove that George Zimmerman acted out of a state of racial animus or racial hatred when he shot Trayvon Martin.”

Whether further legal action is taken against him or not, Zimmerman likely faces a difficult road ahead trying to lead his life as a free man.

CNN's David Mattingly has more on the challenges Zimmerman faces in his future.

“George Zimmerman is free to go wherever he can,” Mattingly says. “The question is where, when anger is sure to follow?”

Mattingly explains that being acquitted doesn’t necessarily mean that he is free. The fear of encountering violence is palpable for the former neighborhood watch volunteer.

“There have been tweets, email and letters wishing him bodily harm or death,” Mattingly says.

“Experts advise Zimmerman to disappear if that's possible, be contrite and try to not give the appearance that he beat the system.”

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July 15th, 2013
11:24 AM ET

Latest on Cory Monteith Death

Cory Monteith entertained millions as the singing football player "Finn Hudson" in "Glee." Sadly, his voice was silenced on Saturday when the 31-year-old actor was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room, CNN's Nischelle Turner reports.

As Canadian authorities investigate what killed him, his on and off-again girlfriend and "Glee" costar, Lea Michelle, is grieving privately. In a statement her rep asked "that everyone kindly respect Lea's privacy during this devastating time."

Unlike his clean-cut character "Finn Hudson," Monteith had a troubled youth. He described himself as an "out of control" drug and alcohol-abusing teen.

Despite all the success from "Glee," Montieth continued to battle substance abuse, even checking into rehab earlier this year. His friend, "Glee" director Adam Shankman, spoke to Monteith hours before he was found dead.

"I had several interactions with him yesterday where he said he was feeling amazing and even said I'm feeling fantastic again," says Shankman.

Monteith's autopsy is being conducted today. Check out CNN.com for developments.


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July 15th, 2013
08:20 AM ET

Martin Family Attorney Speaks Out

Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family, told CNN Anchor Kate Bolduan that the family is processing the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman, and will be talking about further legal action soon. Crump added that because he thinks racial profiling took place, the Justice Department should investigate.

When Bolduan asks if Trayvon Martin’s parents will pursue a civil lawsuit, Crump responds, “We’ll be talking about all of that in the days to come. Right now they are trying to make sense of this criminal verdict. As Sabrina Fulton said, we have to roll up our sleeves because even though we’ve come a long way, we’ve got a long way to go to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anybody else’s child, especially after this verdict.”

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July 15th, 2013
07:51 AM ET

Zimmerman's Lawyer on Reaction to Verdict

George Zimmerman’s defense attorney Mark O’Mara spoke to CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo about the public’s reaction to the not-guilty verdict, if Zimmerman regrets killing Trayvon Martin, Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law and racial profiling.

“… George had an absolute right to be where he was and he had a right to see where Trayvon Martin was,” O’Mara says. “People want to say it was improper profiling, but the reality is I think George had a reason to be concerned. It was Trayvon Martin who was the aggressor, at least by the forensic evidence, because Trayvon Martin did not receive any injuries, but the gunshot 45 seconds after George Zimmerman was screaming for help. So I understand people's frustrations, but it would seem to be that Trayvon Martin overreacted to what he perceived to be something going on, and he overreacted in a violent way.”

Later in the interview, O’Mara defends self-defense claim.

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