Zimmerman waives pre-trial self-defense hearing

1:36 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +
George Zimmerman (Getty Images)

ORLANDO (USA Today) -- The man charged with murdering Trayvon Martin waived his right to a pre-trial self-defense immunity hearing during a Tuesday morning court appearance in Orlando.

Under oath, George Zimmerman told Circuit Judge Debra Nelson that he understood Florida's self-defense laws, that he had talked to his lawyers about the stand-your-ground statute, and that he has decided not to have a pre-trial immunity hearing.

The questioning confirmed that Zimmerman has waived his right to an immunity hearing before the trial but leaves open the option to have a hearing later.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, is facing a second-degree murder charge in the Feb. 26, 2012, shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a gated Sanford, Fla., community. Trayvon's family argues the young black man was profiled, pursued and murdered. Zimmerman says he shot Trayvon in self-defense after being attacked.

Partly at the center of contention between the legal sides is a motion by Zimmerman's lawyers to make state prosecutors pay $4,555 in attorney's fees. State prosecutors delayed depositions by five hours in March because they objected to them being videotaped, said Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's lawyer. The court later ruled that the witnesses -- including a friend of Trayvon who claims she was on the phone with him the night of the shooting -- could be videotaped, he said.

Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda maintains that no violations occurred and that his office is not liable for any attorney or videographer fees. O'Mara now claims that the wording of de la Rionda's motion included false statements and misrepresentations and should be grounds for sanctioning him.

In the March 28 motion, de la Rionda wrote O'Mara was "grandstanding" and "courts anything resembling a microphone or camera." He also added that O'Mara has made misrepresentations to the court, falsely asserted that Zimmerman was indigent, and has attacked several people including the family of Trayvon Martin, the family's attorney, and members of the news media.

In a motion filed Friday, O'Mara accused de la Rionda of attacking him personally with unfounded "egregious" statements. He asked for sanctions and disciplinary proceedings.

At Tuesday's hearing, Judge Nelson ruled that state prosecutors must provide Zimmerman attorneys with any new information they receive from Trayvon's cellphone. The ruling, currently, means prosecutors have nothing to provide because de la Rionda repeatedly told the judge he has provided O'Mara with all the information he has from the teen's cellphone.

The judge also ordered both sides to provide cleaned up or enhanced versions of a now critical 911 call where a person is heard screaming help before a gunshot the night Trayvon was killed. De la Rionda said he has not provided Tracy Martin or any member of Trayvon's family with enhanced versions of the 911 call though he said experts are working with the 911 call and may in the future have such versions. Zimmerman's defense also has experts who will work with the call.

Meanwhile, in a Friday redacted motion, O'Mara also asked to add witnesses to the case but does not reveal publicly their names or what type of information they might provide.

Zimmerman's trial is scheduled to begin June 10th.

(USA Today)

Most Watched Videos