George Zimmerman’s attorney Don West told The Daily Caller in a statement that his daughter made an “immature and insensitive comment” under an Instagram photo on Thursday, for which she is sorry.
The picture shows West and his two daughters holding ice cream cones. Molly West, 23, posted the picture to her Instagram account under the handle “mollywestttt” along with the caption “We beat stupidity celebration cones.” The hashtags “#zimmerman”, “#defense”, and “#dadkilledit” were added on as well.
The photo was taken Monday after the first day of trial when West attracted controversy for making a poorly-received knock-knock joke during his opening statement for Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial. Zimmerman, 29, shot and killed 17 year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012.
The Miami Herald reporter who first reported on the photo wrote that the picture was uploaded to Ms. West’s Instagram account on Thursday. The account was shut down on Friday after the picture went viral.
The photo caption was interpreted as making fun of Rachel Jeantel whose two-day testimony ended on Thursday. Jeantel is the state’s star witness who was the last person to speak to Martin. She claims Martin called Zimmerman a “creepy-ass cracker,” and that she could hear Martin ask Zimmerman why he was being followed.
Jeantel’s demeanor and behavior during the trial has received extensive media attention. During cross-examination Thursday morning, West discovered that Jeantel was unable to read cursive. Her testimony was often difficult to understand.
Reached for comment, West released this statement to TheDC:
Most days since this case began I stop for ice cream after court on the way home. It’s a guilty pleasure and is well known by my family. I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember during trials. Earlier in the week I stopped for ice cream and two of my daughters were with me having attended the court proceedings. One of my daughters works out of town and we don’t see each other very often. I stopped for ice cream and we decided to take a picture of us in the car with the cones as a memory. I held my other daughter’s cell phone as I had the longest arm. I never anticipated that the picture would be released via social media. It was not taken for any such purpose or in any way as a comment on anything having to do with the case. To me it was a private moment with my family. My daughter accepts responsibility for her immature and insensitive comment and apologizes for it.
West added in a follow-up that his daughter is embarrassed and devastated by the fervor her picture caused. “She is a kind and generous person, not mean spirited or judgmental.”
West lamented that the photo had distracted from the trial, which ended its first week of testimony Friday.
“It’s a shame that it has become a distraction to the trial, which is finally showing through the evidence what we’ve been saying for more than a year,” West told TheDC. “George Zimmerman acted in self defense.”
This is not the first time social media has had an impact on the trial.
State witness Selene Bahadoor was confronted on Tuesday by Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara with her Facebook account which showed that she’d signed a petition at Change.org that was sympathetic to Trayvon Martin.
Jenna Lauer was found to be following George Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., on Twitter.
Social media has also haunted Jeantel, though the tweets she scrubbed days before the trial have not been mentioned in front of the jury.