It's probably the combination of those two factors that made it impossible for Zimmerman to answer CNN's Chris Cuomo's first question in an interview that aired Monday: "Do you regret that you killed Trayvon Martin?"
"Um, unfortunately the Department of Justice is conducting a civil rights investigation, so those are the types of questions that because of the investigation, I have to tread lightly and I can’t answer them," he told Cuomo, who confirmed that the Justice Department is in fact looking into any civil rights violations but said it's unlikely to file any charges against Zimmerman.
Zimmerman did say he wished he would have stayed home the night of Feb. 26, 2012, when an altercation with Martin in a Sanford, Fla. gated community led to the unarmed black teenager's death. But Zimmerman can't say if such a decision would have saved Martin.
Cuomo: If you could go back and do it again, you had said, "I would have stayed home that night."
Zimmerman: I would stay home.
Cuomo: So that both of you would still be alive today.
Zimmerman: That’s a presumption I can’t make, I don’t know what would have happened. I could have gotten in a car accident when I left, you know?
Cuomo: But you wouldn't have wound up killing Trayvon Martin if you had your way?
Zimmerman: He probably wouldn’t have ended up attacking me either if I would have stayed home.
Zimmerman elaborated on that final point later in the interview, when Cuomo referred to Martin as the "victim."
"No, I certainly was a victim when I was having my head bashed into the concrete and my nose broken and beaten, I wouldn’t say I was not a victim," Zimmerman retorted.
He went even further later in the interview, insisting that he faced a "miscarriage of justice" as a sort of fall guy for the likes of Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. For that reason, Zimmerman said he's motivated to become an attorney.
Cuomo: What was the miscarriage of justice?
Zimmerman: The fact that two law enforcement entities stated that I had acted within the laws of our nation, in self defense.
Cuomo: You don't think it was about the law?
Zimmerman: I know it wasn’t, yes.
Cuomo: And what does that make you? How do you, how does that make you feel?
Zimmerman: Like a scapegoat.
Cuomo: A scapegoat for?
Zimmerman: The government, the President, the attorney general.
Cuomo: And they would be scapegoating you, why? Just to show that they're taking a position on something that matters to a lot of people?
Zimmerman: I don’t like others speaking for me, so I try to give other people the benefit and not speak for them. I don’t know what they’re thinking or why they’re thinking it, all I know is that is that they’re doing it. I don’t know what agenda they have.