I like Lawrence O’Donnell. I think he’s a good writer and has been a pretty good advocate for liberal causes throughout his career in the Senate and as a pundit. But sometimes he goes off the rails a little bit, and last night was one of those times.
Last night he was supposed to interview Craig Sonner, the lawyer for George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin in Florida. But Sonner ditched the interview leaving Lawrence with an empty chair to yell at. Which he did.
Look, I’m not defending George Zimmerman. And I don’t really care one way or another about his lawyer. I think the police have completely botched this case, and I think the Stand Your Ground law in Florida is a recipe for the disaster we are seeing here. I think people should be angry and I’m glad the local authorities have asked for help from state and federal investigators to get to the bottom of what happened there.
But yelling at his lawyer for ditching a hostile interview? His lawyer should have ditched that interview. Like it or not, Craig Sonner has one responsibility, and that is to his client. Short of suborning perjury or obstructing the investigation, his lawyer should be vigorously defending his client and protecting his interests. That probably doesn’t include appearing on news shows facing hostile interviewers.
How would you like it if you were accused of something and your lawyer went on a news show and was grilled by some pundit for twenty minutes, making you look worse? If he explained to you that he needed to protect his reputation and didn’t want to look scared to give an interview, how long would it take you to fire him?
I hope that George Zimmerman will be arrested soon for the death of Trayvon Martin and that he will stand trial for his actions. At that time, there will be some tough questions asked of the police who responded to his call and their police chief. Maybe Zimmerman will take the stand in his defense, to give his side of the story, although he can’t be compelled to do so. At that time, the people will be represented by an attorney tasked with asking tough questions, and revealing the truth to the jury. I doubt anyone will be yelling at empty chairs.