Former WESH Reporter Joe Oliver on Defending George Zimmerman: ‘My Role in This Just Doesn’t Make Sense’

By Andrew Gauthier 

After making the rounds as the de facto press representative for George Zimmerman, former WESH anchor-reporter Joe Oliver backed away from the popular characterization of him as Zimmerman’s “close friend” in an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” on Tuesday night.

“I’ll clarify my relationship with George because the characterization has been as a close friend. I’m being described as a close friend because I’m the only one speaking out for him,” Zimmerman said. “But my relationship with George is more of an older uncle. I’m old enough to be his father.”

As O’Donnell and his pundit posse circled him, Oliver admitted that he hasn’t had in-depth conversations with Zimmerman, and that most of their discussions took place at family gatherings where “George was probably the only one who wasn’t drinking.”

“You’re a mystery man to me,” O’Donnell said at one point. “You’re role in this, Joe, just doesn’t make sense to me.”

“My role in this, I agree, just doesn’t make sense,” Oliver replied.

Here’s the video…

On Monday, Oliver sat down for an interview with his former station and explained why he has come forward to defend Zimmerman.

“I’m here because I don’t want that to happen to my son or anybody else’s son,” Oliver told WESH’s Amanda Ober. “It’s close to home for any parent of a black male regardless of the circumstances. It’s close to home because I know George” (video here).