Juror account could "significantly impact" DOJ inquiry

(CBS News) On Monday night, the nation got a glimpse into the jury deliberations for George Zimmerman's trial. One of the six jurors that found Zimmerman not guilty, a woman only identified as Juror B37, sat down with "60 Minutes" correspondent Anderson Cooper for an interview on CNN.

She told Cooper that she did not think that race played a role in the case, and that it was the circumstances of the situation that caused Zimmerman to believe Trayvon Martin was causing trouble, not how he looked.

"I think just circumstances caused George to think that he might be a robber or trying to do something bad in the neighborhood, because of all that had gone on previously. There was an unbelievable number of robberies in the neighborhood," juror B37 told Cooper.

She told him that during the first vote, three jurors, including B37, thought he was not guilty, two voted for manslaughter and one for second-degree murder.

CBS News legal analyst Jack Ford told "CBS This Morning" that her comments could have a "significant impact" moving forward, since the federal government will be looking at race.

The Department of Justice has said it will now review the trial records for possible civil rights violations. If they get involved in the case, it would not be for murder and manslaughter, but rather for a criminal civil rights violation.

George Zimmerman Trial & Trayvon Martin Case

The federal government would need to prove that Zimmerman violated Martin's civil rights solely because of his race.

"What they have to prove then, is that indeed George Zimmerman attacked Trayvon Martin and it was all done as a consequence of racial animosity. That's the driving force here," said Ford. "Now, one juror said, 'We didn't find that. This wasn't part of our consideration.' They said was all driven by suspicions but not by race."

Ford explained that those findings are not "binding" on the DOJ and just because the jury didn't find something does not mean that they will not.

However, he said that in the last several days investigative reports were released showing that early on federal investigators looked into Zimmerman and found no evidence that he was a racist or driven by racial animosity.

For Jack Ford's full interview, watch the video in the player above.

  • Shoshana Davis

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