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George Zimmerman trial: Defense grills Trayvon Martin's friend on her account of phone conversation

George Zimmerman, left, arrives in Seminole circuit court, with his wife Shellie, on the 11th day of his trial, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 24, 2013. Zimmerman is accused in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool) CBS

Witness Rachel Jeantel, left, continues her testimony to defense attorney Don West on day 14 of George Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Thursday, June 27, 2013.
AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool

(CBS) SANFORD, Fla. - A defense attorney grilled key prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel Thursday about disputed accounts she gave of a phone conversation she had with unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin moments before he was fatally shot. 

Defense attorney Don West also asked Rachel Jeantel, 19, how she knew from the call with her friend Martin that he wasn't the aggressor in his confrontation with George Zimmerman.

PICTURES: George Zimmerman on trial in death of Fla. teen

Former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second-degree murder in Martin's death in his gated community in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012. He claims he shot the teen in self-defense.

Jeantel first took the stand Wednesday, testifying that she heard Trayvon Martin saying "Why are you following me for?" and a "hard-breathing man" ask, "What are you doing around here?"

Then, she said, she heard a "bump," a noise like "wet grass," and Martin saying, "Get off, get off."

West questioned her closely about an April 2 interview she gave to prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda in which she recounted the same phone conversation. Her answer to de la Rionda's question about who said "Get off" came into dispute in court, with Jeantel claiming she said in the interview, "I could hear Trayvon."

VIDEO: Zimmerman trial: Prosecutor opens with profanity

West, reading from the transcript, said she had in fact replied, "I coulda hear Trayvon."

Jeantel appeared exasperated with West's line of questioning.

"Trust me, they messed up," she said. "'I could hear Trayvon.'"

West played the recording for the witness and the judge without the jury present in the courtroom. On the recording, Jeantel's response to de la Rionda's question was difficult to understand.

"You didn't say 'I couldn't hear it was Trayvon' or 'I couldn't know it was Trayvon?'" West asked, as Jeantel defended her statement.

West also questioned her statement to de la Rionda that she had heard a noise as though Martin was being hit.

"You don't know that, do you?" West said. "You don't know that Trayvon got hit. You don't know that at that moment, Trayvon Martin didn't take his fist and drive it into George Zimmerman's face, do you?"

"No, sir," Jeantel responded.

READ: Trayvon Martin Shooting: A timeline of events

Later, he continued questioning Jeantel as to how she knew Martin didn't start the fight. Jeantel said Martin didn't tell her he was planning to confront the man who was following him, and that if he was planning on starting a fight, he would have called her back.

"You figured if Trayvon Martin was getting ready to sucker punch someone and get in a fight, he would have told you, 'Let me take care of this and I'll call you right back?'" West asked.

"No sir, he would not allow me on the phone with him if he was about the have a fight," Jeantel answered.

On Wednesday, in testimony that grew heated at times, West also spotlighted a differing account Jeantel gave of what she heard on the phone conversation to Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump.

West asked whether Jeantel told Crump that she heard a second voice on the phone call with Martin saying, "What are you talking about," not "What are you doing around here," as she testified Thursday.

Jeantel repeated several times that she had "rushed" the interview.

"You didn't think about it carefully enough to be sure that you had told it accurately?" West asked.

"Yes," Jeantel replied.

  • Erin Donaghue

    Erin Donaghue covers crime for CBSNews.com's Crimesider.

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