Jimmy Carter has come out in support of the acquittal of George Zimmerman, arguing that "the jury made the right decision based on the evidence presented." Loosely echoing President Obama's statement over the weekend, the former president encouraged Americans to accept the verdict and put aside tensions. From the New York Daily News:
“The prosecution inadvertently set the standard so high that the jury had to be convinced that it was a deliberate act by Zimmerman that he was not at all defending himself,” he added.
“It’s not a moral question, it’s a legal question and the American law requires that the jury listens to the evidence presented,” Carter continued.
In the interview with WXIA-TV in Atlanta, where The Carter Center is based, the former president was also asked whether he believes race played a role in the case. He suggested it did not.
"I can't allege that the six jurors are not as sensitive about the race issue that I am, or you are," Carter answered. "But they had to listen to the evidence only, not to their own feelings about race."
Carter went on to compare racial tensions nationwide with riots following the 1991 beating of Rodney King, as well as the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
"There were terrible race riots," Carter recalled. "And I think eventually, no matter how deep the moral feelings and personal feelings might be among African-Americans or others, with time passing they say, 'What can we do about the present and the future?' and put aside their feelings about the past."
Carter, it seems, has been particularly outspoken on national affairs this week. According to a report in German newspaper Die Spiegel, Carter spoke out in support of Edward Snowden and strongly criticized domestic spying programs at an event of the Atlantik Brucke in Atlanta. "America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time," Die Spiegel has Carter saying, though some have questioned the veracity of the report given the lack of media coverage so far, a point Glenn Greenwald pressed this morning:
The statement would not, however, be entirely out of character for President Carter, who last month told CNN that "the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far."
Here's the interview about Zimmerman: