Judge to review, redact, release George Zimmerman evidence

Judge says law favors 'full, complete and open disclosure'

Published On: May 31 2012 12:02:03 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 02 2012 08:10:37 AM EDT
George Zimmerman in court
SANFORD, Fla. -

A judge ruled on Friday that more evidence will be reviewed, redacted and released in the case against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who is charged with shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February.

Prosecutors wanted to block the release of the new evidence, including statements Zimmerman made to police, pictures of the crime scene, names of witnesses and cellphone records. Prosecutors say Zimmerman's statements are inconsistent.

But Judge Kenneth Lester said the law "favors full, complete and open disclosure." Lester said he will "review, redact and release items in question."

It's not clear when the evidence will be released.

Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara believes Zimmerman's emails and text messages could prejudice a potential jury. They also believe the new evidence being released will make it more difficult to find a fair jury.

O'Mara posted a news release on his defense website, GZLegalCase.com, explaining the defense team's view on Friday's hearing. According to the website, O'Mara said the legal team was asking for 30 days to review the new evidence before releasing it to the public.

"We understand that 30 days can seem like a long time, especially to a public with an appetite for information in the era of the 24 hour news cycle, but consider a 30 day review in the context of the entire defense timeline," O'Mara wrote on the website. "We expect a second round of discovery from the prosecution soon, and we are simply requesting a short amount of time to process it. "

Lawyers for media outlets filed motions on Tuesday to intervene in order to get the evidence released, saying the evidence is public record.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman has added a new attorney to his team. Attorney Don West is now on the defense team. West most recently represented 'Ax the Tax' founder Doug Guetzloe, who was sentenced in May for failing to pay taxes.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty of second-degree murder, claiming self-defense. O'Mara said he believes the case won't be ready for trial until 2013.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.