Over nearly two days, Jeantel's testimony for the prosecution at the trial of George Zimmerman was broadcast live, nonstop, on cable news.
Her answers (curt, not always polite), demeanor (sullen), speaking voice (low, accented, colloquial), her education (she was forced to admit she couldn't read) and even her body (buxom) became fodder for criticism and mockery, even as others defended her.
She was not helped in that neither the lawyers from the prosecution nor those from the defense seemed to handle her particularly well on the stand. They asked her questions in ways that she did not understand and at points, were perceived as patronizing her.
At one point, the prosecution tried to get Jeantel to admit English wasn't her first language -- presumably, to get some sympathy from the jury -- and then defense attorney Don West, in a rude but nonetheless effective exchange, repeatedly asked her if she had trouble understanding him or anyone else who questioned her in the aftermath of Trayvon's death.
The Internet, as it is prone to being, was brutal.
Rachel Jeantel is possibly the dumbest human being I've ever seen. Surprised she didn't have to write her name down on her hand #GZTrial— DJ (@d_mona) June 27, 2013
Others defended her as a normal, urban teenager stuck in a horrifying and miserably uncomfortable situation.
I viewed the video of #RachelJeantel, I fail to see what is "wrong" with her, she is a nervous and very young woman in a horrible place.— Blackgirlinmaine (@blackgirlinmain) June 27, 2013
Lord can you imagine what this poor baby must go through to be so USED to having to defend herself on her feet? #BlackgirlsArehumantoo— Sydette (@Blackamazon) June 27, 2013
But the only judges that count are the six women who sit on the jury, to whom Jeantel's testimony could prove to either be the key evidence that convicts Zimmerman or exposed as too inconsistent to be trusted.
Unsurprisingly, opinion was wildly divergent on how they would interpret Jeantel's testimony.
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