Judge throws out part of George Zimmerman case against NBC

Zimmerman says network edited 911 call, defamed him

SANFORD, Fla. - A judge on Thursday threw out a portion of George Zimmerman's defamation lawsuit against NBC Universal but deferred making a decision on other parts.


Of four broadcasts in which NBC is accused of using an edited version of a 911 call in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson tossed allegations relating to one of them but said she needed more time to research the other three.

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Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed Martin, filed suit against NBC, claiming he was defamed when the network edited his 911 call to police to make it sound like he was racist.

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something.  It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy is he white, black or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

In the reports that aired on NBC, the question from the dispatcher was removed.

Attorneys for NBC argued that the case should be dismissed because Zimmerman failed to follow Florida's retraction statute, and he wasn't harmed by the reports.

Zimmerman's attorney, however, said his client was "doing terrible."

NBC also said Zimmerman became a public figure, protecting the company from his claim of defamation.

Zimmerman's attorney countered that NBC manipulated the call to make it seem like Zimmerman was chasing Trayvon Martin because of the color of Martin's skin.

Zimmerman's attorney called the 911 reports "reckless," adding that NBC fired at least two employees after the story came to light.

The hearing had been postponed pending the conclusion of Zimmerman's murder trial last July.  Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder in Martin's death.

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