Lawyers for The Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel and other news media argued for the release of the statement and about 150 of Zimmerman’s recorded jailhouse calls. At a hearing last month, assistant state attorney Bernie de la Rionda said he might call “witness 9” as a rebuttal witness at trial.
“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,” the attorney for the slain teen’s family, Benjamin Crump, said in reference to the child-molestation case involving former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. “Zimmerman’s mentality is very relevant to this trial.”
Crump and his team have known about the woman from the early stages of the case because she approached them after calling the police and prosecutors. Orlando attorney Natalie Jackson, who also represents Trayvon’s family, spoke to witness 9, but declined to discuss what she said.
Reached earlier this month by The Miami Herald, “witness 9” declined to be interviewed.
Erin Russell, a Chicago lawyer who has been blogging about the case regularly, said the woman’s testimony is so damaging to Zimmerman that prosecutors are probably hoping that Zimmerman is so worried about her that it will keep him from testifying at his trial. In a self-defense case, his testimony would be vital — and witness 9 could then be called to challenge his testimony.
“The minute he says he is a person of good character, that opens the door to, ‘Really?’” Russell said. “They’re trying to pressure him off the stand, and to take a deal.”