SANFORD, Fla. - The attorney for George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, wants a judge to bar attorneys from talking with Sanford police officers about meetings held prior to the case being forwarded to the state attorney's office.
In an emergency motion for protective order, defense attorney Mark O'Mara revealed after a Sanford police officer stated in his deposition yesterday that several officers felt there wasn't enough evidence to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter. He was eventually charged with second-degree murder after a special prosecutor was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott.
Local 6 has obtained the motion, which states that a deposition from a Sanford police officer who was surprised investigator Chris Serino sought a manslaughter charge. The deposition also states that other police officers and an assistant state attorney didn't believe that there was enough evidence to charge Zimmerman.
Also on Friday at a hearing, citing prior case law, the judge in the George Zimmerman murder case ruled that the defense was entitled to the school records of Trayvon Martin and can also subpoena his social media posts.
In a self-defense claim, the defendant is entitled to inquire about the victim's propensity for violence. As of now, the information will not be made public, Judge Debra S. Nelson said. But, if it is used in future proceedings, including any trial, it could then become public.
Zimmerman's attorney, O'Mara, said online videos exist of Martin being involved in mixed martial arts-style fights. Nelson ruled that O'Mara can subpoena Martin's Facebook and Twitter accounts.
O'Mara was also granted the ability to subpoena the social media posts of Martin's girlfriend, who was on the phone with Martin when he was shot, according to his parents' attorney. O'Mara said he believes her online postings may contradict her story.
Nelson said she would rule at a later date on O'Mara's request to obtain FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports on the investigations into Martin's death.
Nelson also said the defense team can ask witnesses their addresses during depositions. If they refuse, Nelson said she would intervene. The state argued that the addresses should not be disclosed for safety reasons.
As attorneys made opening arguments, a clean-shaven and slightly heavier Zimmerman, 29, sat emotionless at a table wearing a sports coat over a dress shirt and a striped yellow tie.
Before the hearing, the parents of Martin lashed out about the request. Attorney Ben Crump, who's representing Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, said Trayvon Martin's school records "are not relevant in any way" to what happened Feb. 26, the night Martin was fatally shot in a gated Sanford community.
Because their son's records are being released, Martin's parents said Zimmerman's confidential medical records should be, too. At the hearing, O'Mara said Zimmerman was willing to share his medical records 30 days prior to and 30 days after the shooting. Nelson said she would rule later if Zimmerman's records will be released.
"I hope you all have not forgotten about my son because I have certainly not forgotten about him," Fulton said before the hearing.
"Trayvon was the victim," said Tracy Martin.
"George Zimmerman, for whatever reasons ... profiled Trayvon Martin and shot him in the heart," Crump said. "And Trayvon is not here to tell us what happened."
Crump was asked by the media what they would do if the court decides to release the records.
"We will stand by any ruling of the court," said Crump, adding that Martin's parents urge people not to take the law into their own hands.
Fulton also discussed a Change for Trayvon committee that's been formed in an effort to change Florida's "stand your ground" law. Martin's parents said they want the wording to state that someone cannot instigate a fight and then claim self-defense.
Crump added that Martin's parents are not against the Second Amendment but are in favor of "sensible" gun laws.
Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder, has pleaded not guilty, saying he shot Martin in self-defense.
At a hearing earlier this week, Nelson declared that Zimmerman's murder trial would start on June 10.
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