Reporting Summer Knowles
MIAMI (CBS4) – Rachel Jeantel opens up about her friendship with Trayvon Martin, calling him a good and true friend.
“He’s got an energy that makes you laugh, he’s real funny, and I like that in a person,” Jeantel said. “Trayvon never judged me, because I always had an under bite. It’s an under bite I need to get done. He never judged. He just said ‘oh, okay, that ain’t no problem’.”
But it became a problem for her while testifying during George Zimmerman’s murder trial. Jurors found her hard to understand.
How she spoke was part of the reason for the firestorm of criticism she received about her testimony. Her attitude toward Defense Attorney Don West contributed as well.
“I was attacked,” she explained. “I knew I was going to be attacked, but I didn’t know it was going to be that much of an attack!”
Jeantel says those caustic interactions with West were, to a degree, sparked by his repeated requests for her to speak louder.
“Don West knows why I cannot speak up. He knows why, and I had told him when we did the interview at first,” said Jeantel. “I told him I have a voice problem. They say it’s my tonsils acting up.”
But after praying about it, she faced West and the jury anyway because her friendship with Trayvon meant too much to her to do otherwise.
“Trayvon’s situation, I’ve learned something from that, live your life to the fullest ‘cuz you don’t ever know what will happen.”
What’s next for Rachel Jeantel?
“My education is first. I am educated. Trust me, I have a 3.0 I’m good. I need to get my life straight because this situation got a whole lot of things in my mind so I want to clear it up.”
Jeantel has been offered multiple scholarship opportunities, including one from morning radio talk show host Tom Joyner, who has offered her a tutor to help her graduate and to prep for the SAT and four years of tuition to any Historically Black College or University.