Similar to what we did with Sean Bell, we will have running commentary on the Zimmerman trial. Right now jury selection is happening. Won't be commenting on that but I will give an overview of what I expect the jury to be presented with.
Short Timeline vs. Long Timeline
The Zimmerman defense will hinge largely on whether they can convince the jury that the only part of the evening's events that matter is Zimmerman'as claim that he had given up following Martin and was returning to his vehicle when he was confronted by Martin who Zimmerman claims jumped out of "nowhere" and started to punch him.
This "short time line" defense will claim that regardless of what Zimmerman did prior to the confrontation once he no longer posed a threat to Martin (if they even concede such a point) Zimmerman was acting in his self defense once Martin confronted him and "started the fight".
The "Long line" story which could be presented by the prosecution would be that Zimmerman created an environment that lead to Martin's death. They would claim that Zimmerman was the one who stalked and confronted Martin. They would claim that Martin was acting in self-defence against an armed man. They would claim that Zimmerman, being bested by Martin decided to kill Martin in order to escape a violent situation he created.
In either case, the claims of who initiated the violence will be hotly contested. Any claim of self defense requires that the defending party not initiate violence.
For Martin, the prosecution will need to show that Martin was in fear for his safety. Zimmerman's own statements already set up such an argument. Once (and if) Martin's alleged statement to Zimmerman of "why are you following me?" is accepted by the jury, the prosecution's job will be mostly done.
I still maintain that the state has a near impossible task of showing malice. Neither scenario indicates malice. While Zimmerman may have had bad intent when he followed Martin, I do not believe it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that at up to the moment of discharge that Zimmerman intened to murder Martin.
What is provable beyond reasonable doubt is that Zimmerman created an environment in which a death could occur. He was armed when he followed an unarmed Martin who was not engaged in any illegal activity. It is clear that had Zimmerman stayed in his vehicle that Martin would be alive today.
That is criminally negligent homicide. That is provable. itr does not require going into Zimmerman's or Trayvon's background.