If you've been waiting to hear from George Zimmerman at his trial, it's not happening. Just a while ago he made his decision and announced it to the judge and the court: Zimmerman will not take the stand. "What is your decision, sir," Judge Debra Nelson asked. "After consulting with counsel, not to testify, your honor," he said.
We got a hint that Zimmerman's lawyers would advise him not to testify earlier in the day. Judge Nelson asked Zimmerman repeatedly if he would testify and his lawyer, Don West, kept interrupting her. Nelson scolded him for it: "I'm asking your client a question. Please, Mr. West. Over ruled." Why was West worried about allowing Zimmerman to talk?
Oh, maybe because West thinks Zimmerman doesn't represent himself very well. Remember how he blew his interview with Barbara Walters -- before it could even happen? And there was the Sean Hannity interview that led to Zimmerman's first lawyers dumping him as a client when they learned he'd agreed to that interview without consulting with them (i.e. behind their backs). And who can forget Zimmerman's fund-raising website. And his courtroom apology to Trayvon Martin's parents? The guy hasn't done himself many favors. No wonder his lawyer wants to keep a lid on him.
Just because Zimmerman showed exceptionally bad judgment in these (and many other) situations doesn't mean he's guilty... But it doesn't help him, either. I think West truly fears for what Zimmerman might say if given the chance. He seems to be impulsive, and that's the last thing West needs in this high-stakes case.
I'm sure the jury will be told not to hold Zimmerman's refusal to testify against him in their deliberations. But you know they're going to wonder about that. They can't help it. Refusing to testify does almost as much damage as testifying might. We'll find out soon -- the defense just rested its case today.
Are you surprised George Zimmerman chose not to testify?