A last minute hearing on Friday has set the stage for a potential call by George Zimmerman’s attorney to remove the judge in his second degree murder case, even before the trial begins.
The 1:15 p.m. hearing was called by 18th District Circuit Court Judge Jessica Recksiedler, who was appointed to the case on Thursday, the same day Zimmerman appeared in court for his first appearance.
WATCH NBC NEWS COVERAGE OF THE HEARING:
Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, told the judge he has discussed with his client his concerns over Recksiedler’s husband, Jason, who practices civil law in the Orlando area firm of Mark NeJame, a prominent local attorney who has been called the “Johnnie Cochran of Central Florida” and who represented Tiger Woods after he was injured in a car crash on his property following a fallout with his then wife Elin Nordegren in 2009, and who also briefly represented the parents of then murder suspect Casey Anthony.
NeJame, a legal analyst for CNN, says he was contacted by George Zimmerman in mid-March to inquire about representing him, prior to Zimmerman hiring his previous lead attorney, Craig Sonner. NeJame declined the offer.
Recksiedler said during the hearing that she disclosed the connection out of her obligations to the court, and would leave it up to the parties how to proceed.
O’Mara could file a motion to remove Reckseidler as judge in the case. Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder in the February 26 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17.
During the brief hearing, at which Zimmerman did not appear and the attorneys addressed the judge via closed circuit television, O’Mara said he was concerned about prior contacts NeJame has had with Zimmerman’s family, and that those could continue, even as NeJame becomes a prominent legal analyst regarding the case, in his cable television role.
“I talked to [State Attorney Angela] Corey about these exact issues, and my concern that …given the media scrutiny already surrounding this case, and the activist scrutiny that can expect to continue, I’d be very concerned as we move forward.”
The judge asked the parties to come to a resolution quickly, and to inform her as soon as possible if O’Mara will request a recusal.
Appearing on CNN Friday, NeJame said he expects a resolution by the end of the day Friday.
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