Friend Defends George Zimmerman in Trayvon Martin Case

INSIDE EDITION talks to a former CNN reporter who is coming to the defense of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who says he shot and killed an unarmed teen in self-defense.

A friend of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who shot Trayvon Martin dead, is coming to his defense.

Joe Oliver is a former CNN reporter and local news anchor who has known George Zimmerman for six years.

"I'm here on behalf of George to make it clear this was not a racial incident," said Oliver.

INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent asked Oliver, "Are you convinced George Zimmerman acted in self defense?"

"George Zimmerman acted in self defense. And when it all comes out, the question is okay, whether or not it's going to be believed. The evidence will show that there was a life and death struggle," said Oliver.

He claims that Zimmerman is heartbroken over the shooting and had this message for Martin's family:

"I think George Zimmerman would say to his family that he's extremely sorry for his loss, that he would do anything to change the course of events," said Oliver.

New details are emerging about Zimmerman's defense. The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Zimmerman told investigators Martin "punched him in the nose" and then climbed on top of Zimmerman and "slammed his head into the sidewalk several times."

Zimmerman's attorney said on the Today show that Zimmerman's nose was broken in the struggle. 

"George Zimmerman suffered a broken nose and injuries to the back of his head and signs of a scuffle," said the attorney.

And Trayvon Martin's family is confirming reports that Trayvon was suspended from school for 10 days for having a baggie with traces of marijuana.

Trayvon's mother said at a press conference, "They've killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation."

The national groundswell of outrage over the shooting shows no sign of letting up, with demonstrations coast-to-coast.

Sherri Shepherd, co-host of The View, took time out from Dancing With the Stars rehearsals to talk about Trayvon Martin.

"I'm horrified by it that he has not been brought to justice. Because this could be my son, my nephew. It could be your child. I just think it's a travesty," said Shepherd.

And Oprah joined the chorus of anger tweeting: "Tragedy and SHAME that Zimmerman hasn't been arrested."

Meanwhile, Geraldo Rivera continues to find himself under fire for saying Martin's hoodie made him a target.

Rivera said on Fox News, "The hoodie is at least as responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was."

Many protestors wore hoodies in response to Rivera's comment and the entire cast of Porgy and Bess posed for a picture wearing hoodies. Clay Aiken also wore a hoodie on the Today show.

"It's kind of a silent statement in memory of Trayvon Martin," said Aiken.

But Geraldo told Bill O'Reilly he's standing by his remarks.

"It is unforturnate, but if you dress like a wannabe gangster, some knucklehead is going to take you at your word and a tragedy is going to result," said Rivera.