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Tuesday
Jul022013

Zimmerman Judge Strikes Cop's Statement

Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- Prosecutors in the George Zimmerman trial Tuesday asked the judge to strike a comment made by their own witness who had told the court that he did not believe Zimmerman was lying when he described his fatal fight with teenager Trayvon Martin.

The testimony by Sanford, Fla., investigator Chris Serino on Monday seemed to bolster the credibility of Zimmerman's claim that he shot Martin in self defense because the teenager was banging his head into the sidewalk.

In commenting on the consistency of Zimmerman's story as well as Zimmerman's apparent relief when falsely told there was a video of the confrontation, Serino said Zimmemran had to be either a pathological liar or telling the truth.

"If we were to take pathological liar off the table…do you think he was telling the truth?" asked defense attorney Mark O'Mara.

"Yes," responded Serino.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda started Tuesday's court hearing by asking Judge Debra Nelson to have Serino's comment stricken from the record and the judge agreed.

Nelson ruled that one witness cannot offer an opinion of another and instructed the jury to disregard the exchange.

It remains to be seen if the prosecution's move actually drew more attention to Serino's testimony, or whether jurors will be able to ignore it.

De la Rionda moved to the heart of the state's case by asking Serino if Zimmerman's use of a crude epithet shortly before the shooting on Feb. 26, 2012 showed ill will and spite.

Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second degree murder in Martin's death. Florida law requires the state to prove a defendant acted with ill will, spite or hatred to convict on second degree murder.

"In your opinion calling somebody and referencing them, pardon my language, as f***ing punks ill will and spite?" asked de la Rionda. Zimmerman muttered the phrase while talking to the Sanford police dispatcher when he called to report Martin as a suspicious person.

"Yes sir, it is," responded Serino.

Courtroom theatrics punctuated the day with de la Rionda approaching Serino and mock punching him while asking Serino if he would have defended himself.

"if somebody is hitting would you have your hands like this or would you be fighting," the prosecutor asked as Serino looked back with some discomfort and answered, "I would be fighting you."

The lawyers took so many turns re-examining Serino, they were reprimanded by the exasperated judge.

"You're about to go into re-re-redirect," she told the state.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio