Dueling motions over Zimmerman lawyer, daughter's 'selfie' pic
theGRIO REPORT - The photo, by Zimmerman attorney Don West on Tuesday, using his daughter's cellphone, was posted to 23-year-old Molly West's Instagram account on Wednesday, including the caption: 'We beat stupidity celebration cones'...
Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the George Zimmerman second degree murder trial filed dueling motions Tuesday over a “selfie” picture that attracted angry reactions on social media.
Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and has pleaded not guilty, saying he shot Martin in self-defense.
The photo, by Zimmerman attorney Don West on Tuesday, using his daughter’s cellphone, was posted to 23-year-old Molly West’s Instagram account on Wednesday, including the caption: “We beat stupidity celebration cones” and the hashtags: “#zimmerman #defense #dadkilledit.”
Related: Zimmerman lawyer’s daughters’ Instagram posts spark outrage
Another daughter, Rachel West, posted separate photos, including an Orlando Sentinel picture of Don West questioning Rachel Jeantel, a friend of Trayvon Martin who testified Wednesday and Thursday of last week that she was on the phone with him until just before Zimmerman shot and killed him; and a picture of herself and Molly West in in a holding room at the Seminole County Criminal Court building during a break int he trial, to her Instagram account.
Both accounts have since been closed.
The posts drew a furious reaction on Instagram and Twitter, with most of the comments condemning them as inappropriate.
On Monday, prosecutors filed a motion for a “protective order/motion for inquiry” into Molly West’s Instagram post.
According to NBC News:
The State’s motion filed yesterday, states that following Rachel Jeantel’s testimony “which concluded on June 27, 2013, co-counsel apparently celebrated his performance. Co-counsel’s daughter, who was present (and has often been present) in court (in the front row), was also present at the celebration, and posted a photograph of that celebration on her Instagram internet account, containing a caption which included reference to the ‘stupidity’ of the witness and, in this trial, ‘dad killed it’.”
The motion goes on to say “The court has taken extraordinary steps to minimize the inflammatory nature of such social media commentary and the risks it poses to the sanctity of the jury deliberations and the safety and dignity of witnesses, and to control and correct breaches of the decorum of court proceedings (some of which likewise involve cell phones).”
The State is asking that the Court “conduct such inquiry the Court deems appropriate, including of the parties to this incident, to ensure that witnesses and court proceedings are treated with respect and not as occasions for inappropriate jokes.”
The Zimmerman defense filed its own motion Tuesday on behalf of West, which states:
“The metadata of the picture establishes that the picture was taken at 6:38 pm on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 in the drive through area of a fast food restaurant in Orange County, Florida. The tie I am wearing in the photo matches the tie I wore in court that day. To take the picture, I held my daughter’s cell phone (since I had the longest arm) and snapped the picture. I never received a copy of the photo. The picture was intended to capture a private family moment and was never intended to be a comment on the trial or the testimony of any witness. Indeed, the picture was taken the day before Rachel Jeantel testified. The state had never announced when or even if she would testify. Undersigned did not know that the picture would be released via social media and never authorized its release nor was aware of nor approved of any caption associated with it.”
West’s motion calls the Zimmerman case “a lightning rod for controversy,” adding that “anything that can become an excuse for intemperate rhetoric will, and soon the internet was ablaze with the photo and caption.”
Defense lawyers issued a statement Friday, saying “Sometimes our children do things that deeply disappoint us, but we love them anyway, and we move on.”
West’s statement Tuesday says he “authorized the release of the basic facts surrounding the photo to the media and apologized for my daughter’s immature and insensitive behavior and confirmed that I did not approve of what had happened.”
The defense motion concludes by saying the State’s filing “will rekindle the animosity that has resulted in the threats of violence we received over the weekend — there have been a number of vicious threats posted online directed towards my family and I have personally received emails threatening rape and other violence should my family’s personal information become known.”
West closes his 5-page motion by telling the Court that he agrees there should be an inquiry, but he offers it should be “an inquiry of the State.” Adding, that he urges the Court to “conduct a judicial inquiry of the basis of the state’s reckless, dangerous and inaccurate allegations.”
Read the State’s motion here.
Read the defense motion here.