Zimmerman case: judge orders new evidence released
The judge in the second degree murder case against George Zimmerman has ordered the release of new evidence, including Zimmerman’s written statements to police, NBC News correspondents Kerry Sanders and Jamie Novogrod reported Wednesday.
The judge’s order was issued Wednesday in response to requests for more disclosure by media outlets, including NBC News. Both the prosecution and Zimmerman’s defense lawyers had sought to keep the remaining evidence in the case, including the identity of more than 20 witnesses, secret.
In his order, Judge Kenneth Lester ordered a significant amount of information released to the public, including:
– Zimmerman’s statements to police in the aftermath of the shooting.
– The results of a voice “stress test” conducted on Zimmerman.
– The full statement by “witness 9,” a woman who called police after the shooting and alluded to Zimmerman and his family “hating black people” and to issues of character that she said included something Zimmerman “did to her.” The woman, who sounded shaken and did not want the officer who took her statement to use her name, will not be named in the release.
– The crime scene photos from the night of February 26th when Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin to death, except for those photos showing Martin’s body.
– All emails to Sanford police related to the case, which are deemed to be public record under Florida’s liberal “sunshine laws.”
The judge ordered some information to remain under seal, including the identities of the witnesses, Zimmerman’s cellphone records, and Martin’s autopsy photos. In addition, recordings of Zimmerman’s jailhouse interviews with two investigators, including one, Chris Serino, who filed a report recommending Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter (he was released without arrest), will not be released, at least for now. The judge wants an additional 15 days to review transcripts of those interviews, which could be some of the most important information in the case.
The office of Special Prosecutor Angela Corey has said they will comply with the judge’s order within the 15 days required by the judge.
Other developments in the Zimmerman case:
Shellie Zimmerman, George Zimmerman’s wife, is facing perjury charges for alleged willful misrepresentations regarding the couple’s finances during her husband’s bond hearing. But so far, it is not known if she has retained a lawyer. When she does, that lawyer will not be Mark O’Mara. O’Mara, who represents George Zimmerman, has said his firm will not be engaged in Shellie Zimmerman’s case, citing conflict of interest issues.
O’Mara deposed Shellie Zimmerman during the April 20 bond hearing in which she claimed not to know how much money was in an account linked to a fundraising website George Zimmerman launched to help fund his living expenses while he was in hiding prior to his arrest.
Read more about Florida’s disclosure laws, and the Zimmerman case, at MSNBC.com.
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