I love dogged, independent-minded investigators who thrive in pushing back against conventional wisdom and the “accepted story.” That story is usually being pushed by the mainstream media. These iconoclastic, speak-truth-to-power sleuths exist on the left, right and middle, although these days they seem to be concentrated on the right.
On the left, we might point to Glenn Greenwald, with whom I mostly disagree politically, but I think is brilliant. In the middle, there is Sharyl Attkisson, formerly of CBS News, who did absolutely outstanding investigations there. So many of them got spiked by CBS management because they didn’t reflect kindly on the Obama administration that she quit CBS. On the right, there are many great investigators I could point to, but one I’d like to highlight here is Joel Gilbert, whose new documentary, The Trayvon Hoax, I had the opportunity to preview before its release. It will officially be released on September 16 along with a book by the same name.
Joel’s expose in this film of the truth behind a gross legal fraud in the case of the death of Trayvon Martin is entertaining, illuminating and greatly troubling. Joel used publicly available records, traditional gumshoe pavement-pounding, and clever forensic techniques to demonstrate what the prosecutors trying to railroad George Zimmerman for the “murder” of Trayvon Martin apparently failed to do: Expose the central witness in the case as a complete fraud. And the prosecutors, who would actually “pray” with the family of the victim for a successful prosecution in what had to be a first in legal annals, had far more time and resources available to them than did Joel.
For those who need a refresher: George Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder, after he was forced to kill Trayvon Martin in an act of self-defense on February 26, 2012. Zimmerman was standing in a common area of his Sanford, Florida housing complex that rainy night, trying to protect his neighborhood, which had been suffering from serial burglaries. He had spotted Martin suspiciously standing outside in the rain, with no apparent purpose, and was naturally concerned. As Zimmerman tried to determine exactly where he was situated, in order to help police get to him in order to question Martin, the much larger Trayvon Martin confronted Zimmerman and assaulted him in an unprovoked attack. After pinning Zimmerman down and pounding his head on the ground, Zimmerman drew his legally possessed firearm and shot Martin, killing him.
Martin’s death was then seized upon by a mainstream media that seemed obsessed with racial strife, or creating it, during the Obama years. In a crass effort to advance a white-racist-attacks-unarmed-helpless-black-kid narrative when the story first broke, CNN described Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic” in what might have been the first use of this bizarre modifier-noun combination.
One of the key pieces of evidence used against Zimmerman was a recorded phone call between a young woman named Diamond Eugene and attorney Benjamin Crump. Eugene had been Martin’s girlfriend and the last person to speak to Martin the night of his death, other than Zimmerman. Crump was representing the Martin family. That phone call launched a media-fueled frenzy to arrest George Zimmerman, prompted President Obama to equate Trayvon Martin to a hypothetical Obama “son”, and fired up race hustlers like Al Sharpton.
In that phone call, in which Crump appeared to lead the witness, an emotional Eugene insisted the shooting of Trayvon was “racial” and “He ain’t do nothing. He was just like going to get his little brother a Skittle and a Arizona ice tea. That’s it.” That was enough for the media to run with and launch what would become a seeming race war, with the eventual creation of Black Lives Matter, the assassination of five Dallas police officers at a BLM event, a fake “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” narrative following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, with accompanying riots, and yet more riots in Baltimore following the death in police custody of drug dealer Freddie Gray.
The problem for the prosecutors of Zimmerman was that the real Diamond Eugene refused to testify, probably realizing that she was digging a deeper and deeper hole for herself. So somehow, another woman named Rachel Jeantel pretending to be “Diamond” took the stand, in what became one of the most farcical courtroom spectacles ever witnessed, as her fraudulence quickly became apparent while she unraveled on the witness stand. The real Diamond Eugene never appeared to the public, however.
George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder charge and, thankfully, justice prevailed.
What Joel has done here, though, is document a long effort to track down the real Diamond Eugene who provided the heart-tugging testimony which helped launch the Left’s modern race war. Through his various painstaking efforts, and especially his analysis of the records from the legal proceedings, such as the wealth of information taken off Trayvon Martin’s cell phone, and Diamond Eugene’s social media archives, Joel has reconstructed the last few months of Trayvon and Diamond’s lives in that fateful period. And Joel uses that to expose the much larger fraud on the American people that the Trayvon Martin hoax ignited.
Joel’s treatment of the subject, while serious, is injected with humor. An affluent, well-educated, Caucasian film producer, he must immerse himself in “urban English” in order to both understand and communicate with the subjects of his research, who inhabit a subculture very alien to him. He visits little Haiti in Miami (Eugene’s family is of Haitian descent), and Tallahassee, to chase down leads and eventually set Diamond Eugene up in a sting operation that will warm the heart of my fellow gumshoes.
The levity, however, serves to balance out the very serious social turmoil that the film ably demonstrates was generated by the Trayvon Martin hoax. Joel is very measured in his assessment of Martin, viewing him as fundamentally a good kid who went down a dark path in the last months of his life, and whose death was then exploited by the worst of our media and political elite to feed racial strife in our nation.
A trailer for the documentary is available here and copies of both the book and movie are available at the film’s website. The film will be screened at the National Press Club in Washington on September 16 at 1 PM with free admission to all. Gilbert will also take questions from the media.
I salute my fellow investigators, including Joel, who are willing to take the phony stories head-on and use their skills to expose the truth. As conservatives, we should all support the efforts to fight back against the mainstream media-set fake narratives that only serve to grind down our great nation.
William F. Marshall has been an intelligence analyst and investigator in the government, private, and non-profit sectors for more than 30 years. He is a senior investigator for Judicial Watch, Inc. and a contributor to Townhall, American Thinker, and The Federalist. (The views expressed are the author’s alone, and not necessarily those of Judicial Watch.)