Appellate court rules George Zimmerman attorneys can depose Benjamin Crump

Trayvon Martin family attorney can be questioned about Witness 8 interview, panel says

SANFORD, Fla. - An appellate court ruled on Monday that George Zimmerman's attorneys can depose Benjamin Crump, the family attorney of Trayvon Martin.

The court said the defense can ask about "circumstances surrounding the interview of Witness 8," the young woman Martin was speaking to on the phone just before Zimmerman shot and killed him in Sanford last year.

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In its unanimous opinion, the three-judge panel from the Fifth District Court of Appeal said, "the deposition contemplated by our opinion should be relatively short and straightforward."

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson had twice denied Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara's request to question Crump, who is representing the family of Martin.


Meanwhile, Zimmerman's defense team wants "certain witnesses"  to be granted anonymity and confidentiality, as the judge prepares for the final hearings before his trial in the death of Martin.

The defense did not elaborate on its "sealed confidential motion" to keep witnesses identities from the public, according to the

The motion is among three issues set to be heard by Judge Debra Nelson, beginning Thursday.

Also on the agenda: a hearing to determine if a state expert is using generally accepted scientific principles to claim he can discern not only who is speaking in the background of a 911 call, but also the exact words being uttered.

The judge will also continue an inquiry into whether prosecutors lied when they told her in March they had turned over to the defense all material they had gleaned from Martin's cell phone. The defense is seeking sanctions for what they claim were discovery violations.

The developments come as 500 Seminole County residents prepare to appear next week in response to jury summonses.

The first 100 potential jurors are being asked to appear Monday, June 10.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to the second-degree murder charge, claiming self-defense.

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