O’Mara: canny defense attorney or buffoon? The verdict is still out

As reported everywhere, Mark O’Mara has said that he apologizes for allowing George Zimmerman to say at the bond hearing last week that he is sorry about the death of Trayvon Martin.

The reasons why O’Mara thought this was a good idea, and why he then realized, too late, that it was a bad idea, are too complicated and trivial to go into.

However, a continuing media lie must be refuted. All the stories say that O’Mara has “apologized for Zimmerman’s apology.” This is false. As I pointed out last week, Zimmerman did not apologize. He did not say that he was sorry for killing Martin, which would be absurd, since his position is that he killed Trayvon in self-defense. He said that he was sorry that Trayvon is dead. That is a reasonable statement, but it is not an apology. Of course the media keep calling it an apology, because the word apology suggests that Zimmerman is admitting that he did something wrong.

- end of initial entry -

April 24

Matt writes:

I think it was all rather clever and dignified. O’Mara called the Martin’s bluff when they tried to demonize Zimmerman, and they rejected Zimmerman’s condolences when he directly and quite specifically answered Sybrina’s questions. It turns out that the Martins didn’t really want an answer to their questions: the questions were rhetorical and intended to paint Zimmerman as a monster. The best the Martins can do in response to Zimmerman’s forthright answers to their questions is to claim that those answers are insincere and self-serving. So Zimmerman’s lawyer expresses regret over giving them precisely what they asked for, and now everyone knows that the questions were insincere.

Of course it is probably obvious to VFR readership that Sybrina’s questions were inflammatory as opposed to the sincere uncomprehending searching of a distraught mother who can’t believe her angelic nonviolent perfect honor student could have been the physical aggressor. But now everyone knows it.

All in all a big win, showing Zimmerman to be implacably reasonable and the Martins unappeasable. Indeed the extent to which Zimmerman has, to all appearances, been absolutely forthright throughout this whole sorry tale, is breathtaking.

LA replies:

In July 1991, when President Bush the elder named Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court, I saw Thomas make his first appearance as an appointee. He had gone up to Kennebunkport to be introduced by Bush to the press. As he was about to speak, standing in front of a microphone, he seemed to have a nervous, self-conscious moment and he suddenly clapped his hand in front of his mouth in an awkward gesture. When he did that, I immediately liked him. I felt his sincerity and goodness. And let me add that liking public figures, particularly Supreme Court nominees, many of whom are dried-up little clerks (think O’Connor, Kennedy, Souter), is not one’s usual reaction. But I liked Clarence Thomas, felt a human connection with him, from the first moment I saw him. I felt he was a good person.

Something similar happened when I watched George Zimmerman in the video of his court appearance last week. I felt this is a sincere, good person. Leonard D. (below) has described Zimmerman as “soulful and earnest.” I agree. Also, we have endless supplies of criminal types in this society with whom we are all too familiar and with whom we can compare George Zimmerman and see that he is not that type.

Paul Nachamn writes:

The word “dignity” is way overused, but I think Zimmerman has it.

That was my impression upon seeing a video during the last week of Zimmerman, in jail garb, entering some arraignment or pre-arraignment hearing through a security checkpoint. Watch within the first 15 seconds how he moves with his head up, alert, and matter-of-fact (no preening at being the center of attention or other overt demonstration).

He’s the opposite of those dull-eyed non-moral actors you wrote about when discussing the faces on some new American $100 coin. (There were a dull-eyed black man, Asian-from-Asia woman, and American Indian, along with this shining-eyed, vibrantly alive white woman, the only moral actor among the four profiled.)

And I see Zimmrman’s dignity again in this six-minute video of him being badgered during his bond hearing, presumably by some “public servant,” about his “apology to the Martins.”

At some point, I’ll have to send a contribution to his defense.

Leonard D. writes:

My current guess about Mark O’Mara is: canny.

Part of that is based on how successfully he made the prosecution look like idiots. But the “apology” worked too.

This is a PR war, in addition to a normal trial, and O’Mara appears to know it. By putting the soulful and earnest young Zimmerman up there to “apologize,” he scores PR points in two ways. First, the public (minus, perhaps, many blacks and the true-believing left) get what they seem to want — and which Zimmerman evidently wanted to give. The jury pool will know it. Second, the family looks a bit churlish to reject such a heartfelt offering, thereby losing PR points. (They’d have been much better served saying nothing at all about it.)

Also, although Mara is quoted as using the word “apologize,” you have to parse his “apology” closely to see that it’s not much of one. I get a rather lawyerly passive-aggressive feel off of it. It feels to me like he is saying to the Martin family’s lawyer: you’d better deal with me or else I might make “mistakes” that make you look bad.

Matt writes:

It is strangely synchronistic that you would mention Clarence Thomas, because I happen to have an oddly similar loose personal connection to both Zimmerman and Thomas.

I used to go regularly to the same Latin Mass in Northern Virginia as Thomas and his family. I’ve never spoken to him, but our usual place to sit was just a short distance from where they typically sat. I believe his son was an altar boy. I have the same impression you do: this is a very good man.

It turns out (I discovered this from the news) that many years ago, before we moved to the area, Zimmerman was an altar boy where I attend Mass now (a different parish in Northern VA).

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 23, 2012 07:57 PM | Send

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