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Rachel Jeantel Wishes She’d Acted ‘Different’ During George Zimmerman Trial

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Rachel Jeantel blames herself for George Zimmerman verdict.


Reported by Kacie Whaley

Over a year ago, 19-year-old Rachel Jeantel testified on behalf of her slain friend, Trayvon Martin.  After the shooter, George Zimmerman, was found ‘not guilty,’ some followers of the case not only accused the prosecutors for being unprepared but also criticized Jeantel for her behavior in court.  The Huffington Post called Jeantel “dismissive” and “aggressive,” with a “seemingly hostile attitude” that may have hurt the case.  Some critics even questioned her intelligence.

Now Jeantel is speaking out and revealing that she, too, holds some regret about her behavior in court.  CNN spoke with Jeantel this weekend and asked her whether she blamed herself for the outcome of the trial.  “A little bit,” she replied.

When asked whether she wished she would have said something different or acted differently, she responded “Yeah, act different.”

Jeantel said she thinks the jury did not take her seriously because they were wrongly judging her.

“They judge how they talk, how they look, how they dress,” Jeantel said of how the jury formed their opinions.

After the trial, Jeantel, who was reading and writing at a 3rd grade level, became motivated to improve her education.   Miami attorney Rod Vereen organized a support group called The Village.  This group provided Jeantel with counseling to cope with the loss of Martin, as well as intense tutoring that would sometimes be as long as six hours per day.

In May, all of Jeantel’s hard work paid off when she graduated high school.   Jeantel said that she is proud that she collected her diploma because it was something that she promised Trayvon that she would do.

Jeantel, well aware of all the negative things that people have said about her in the past year, wants to let her critics know that it is wrong to make up assumptions about her based on what was seen during the trial.  “You can’t judge a book by a cover,” Jeantel told CNN.

Watch the full segment here.

Sources: 1, 2