Examining W8 Crump Interview

I’d like to demonstrate for you why I believe the audio interview of witness number 8 or DeeDee has been manipulated in order for it to be inaudible but before I jump right into it I’d like to give some background on this particular interview.

If we go back to the 183 page pdf we can see that officer Santiago attempted to access Trayvon Martin’s cells phone. Unable to do so he was told by T-Mobile if he were to obtain the pin number they would be able to get into the phone. Santiago contacted Trayvon’s father, Tracy, on March 5th to obtain the pin number. Tracy refused to give the information to police and instead went to his lawyer Benjamin Crump.

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What happened after that is not entirely clear but whatever events transpired we know it resulted in a phone interview with DeeDee and Crump. Also present at this interview was ABC’s Matt Gutman who claimed on March 28 to be the only one with a recording of the interview. Then on March 20th ABC did their piece on the interview in which they played some of the interview. Listening to the clips they played there is an obvious difference between the clarity of that audio and the audio of the interview released to the public by State Attorney Angela Corey’s office. Crump also held a presser in which he played some audio of the interview as well, and again, that audio is clear as opposed to the State’s release.

Crump Presser

ABC Video

So let’s start by looking at the audio interview itself. The first thing I noticed when looking at the audio is the markers present. These markers indicate edits in the audio. The question pertinent here is; who did the editing? There are three potential candidates; Crump, Gutman or Corey.

Listening to the interview at 4:22 it sounds like personal information has been edited out.

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This indicates to me it was Corey’s office who received a clear version of the audio and was able to listen for personal information to be edited out just as they did with the other audio recordings. If Crump or Gutman gave an edited clear version of the interview to the State that may have legal ramifications which leads me to believe they gave the state an unedited clear recording of the full interview. However it is not out of the realm that either Crump and/or Gutman provided the State with an edited version along with it being inaudible and the state just accepted it as is figuring the bad quality was nothing to worry about as they were able to do their own interview. If that is the way of it then perhaps the State ought to obtain the clear and unedited audio, that we know exists, and investigate Crump and/or Gutman.

The second thing I noticed looking at the audio was the wave pattern. I won’t get too technical here but just looking at it visually compared to a different audio interview and you can see a big difference between the two(magnification is close to comparison).

What you’re looking at is that something has caused the recording to peak at a high decibel level or volume which can have various causes; 1. The audio may have been captured by the microphone, hardware and/or software at too high of a sensitivity level 2. The audio source may have been too close to the microphone, in this case perhaps the handheld recorder was very close to the speaker on the phone 3. The audio source may have been extremely loud surpassing the capabilities and/or settings of the recording equipment 4. The last possibility is that the audio has been manipulated afterword with some audio software. We can eliminate the first three possibilities because we are aware of the existence of a clear audio version which then leaves us with manipulation.

Perhaps though you may be thinking someone was kind enough to try to raise the audio level because the original recording may have been too low and they may have mistakenly raised the audio too high. If this were the case I doubt it would have been the State to do so as the other 48 recordings released also contain some audio that is very low and no such volume boosting had been done. Secondly, if someone was just being kind enough to raise the audio level, they were extremely too kind because they would have had to boost it to over 1000% rendering it inaudible and if they were being kind they would have noticed that before rendering the audio to its final state for release and would have corrected it before doing so. Lastly, listening to the audio it appears to me it would have taken a bit more manipulation of the audio than merely boosting the volume in order to achieve the desired result.

There is an aspect of audio known as a sample rate. Simply speaking you can think of the sample rate in the same fashion as bit rates for video, both are expressed numerically and the lower the number the lower the quality. With audio software you can re-sample audio, just as you can compress video to a lower bit rate, to reduce file size, the trade off however is lower quality. Listening to the audio I believe the sample rate has been reduced to such a degree to begin the process of rendering it inaudible. It was my experience with audio that caused me to believe this but I wanted to be sure, keeping in mind the source was a speaker on a phone and recorded possibly from a hand-held recorder.

The audio quality on a speaker from a phone is obviously of relatively low quality and with hand-held recorders there can be settings to lower the quality of the recording. However even with these two factors it would require something else to result in such a poor quality recording and as we know there exists a clear audio recording from the speaker phone on some device, more than likely a hand-held recorder. One thing to consider here is that Matt Gutman was there and if it was him who had recorded the audio I think it could be expected for him to be using a high quality digital audio recording device.

Checking the audio file directly downloaded from the State Discovery site and looking at the settings we find an audio bit rate, of 1411kbps which tells me this file was recorded and/or saved at a sample rate of 44,100Kz, what should be good, clear quality considering already assumed factors. But as we hear this audio is not good or clear. This aspect leads me to believe something truly nefarious has happened here.

It appears the audio was re-sampled to a very low sample rate then saved, then re-sampled again at 44,100Kz. Simply speaking imagine taking a clear sharp video then you edit it so the quality is so low it’s unrecognizable and save it as such. Then you reopen that file and edit it to a higher bit rate or quality and save it. What you end up with is a file that is large and by looking at the file size relative to the time of the video one would think it’s a high quality video but upon viewing they would find otherwise leading them to believe there was another cause for the poor quality.

Resampling to lower rate then back again

In terms of this audio then, what it looks like is someone wanted one to think that it was recorded at a good quality but because the quality is bad it must be something else such as what I discussed earlier in that the audio may have been captured by the microphone, hardware and/or software at too high of a sensitivity level. The audio source may have been too close to the microphone, in this case perhaps the handheld recorder was very close to the speaker on the phone. The audio source may have been extremely loud surpassing the capabilities and/or settings of the recording equipment. But again we have eliminated these as possibilities so we are left only with manipulation of the quality/sample rate and re-sampling it again as I have described.

Now re-sampling alone is not enough to achieve the desired effect but re-sampling along with boosting the volume will. I do not think the entire spectrum of audio was raised. I believe only the mid to treble and has been boosted and the mid to bass end has been lowered. The reason why we are still able to hear Crump and not DeeDee is because this editing combined with someone speaking though a speaker from a phone, which is already of a lower quality along with already being on the treble end, will become inaudible but the person, in this case Crump, is speaking directly into the recorder and will be clearer.

Applying EQ and Comparison (Pretty close, a little more time and tweaking and it’ll be perfect)

Now if an amateur like myself can do this with inexpensive software imagine what a sound engineer can do with thousands of dollars worth of software. I believe I have shown enough here to at the very least cause enough concern to justify further inquiry into the matter by interested parties. Whatever effects that has or doesn’t have is beyond me if it ever is looked into at all.

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One thought on “Examining W8 Crump Interview

  1. Pingback: The Rabbit Hole of the Crump Recording «

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