A Florida judge ruled Tuesday that George Zimmerman will not able to use 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s school records, texts, and prior marijuana use in court for the second-degree murder trial for killing the teen last year, which begins June 10.
The case became notorious for Zimmerman’s claim he was protected from trial under Florida’s ALEC-modeled Stand Your Ground law. Since then, Zimmerman has dropped his Stand Your Ground defense, but he will still argue he acted in self defense when he shot the unarmed teen on the street of a gated community. The two sides appeared in court Tuesday to present a number of motions, including what evidence is admissible in court and a failed motion to delay the trial.
But before the hearing today, Zimmerman’s lawyer released images and texts that attempt to cloud Martin’s public image.
On air last week, Mike O’Mara touted the new images he said portray a more “three-dimensional picture of Trayvon.” According to Mediaite, Fox broadcast images from Martin’s phone that showed a hand holding a gun and a photograph of marijuana, which O’Mara argues is central to his client’s argument that he acted in self-defense because it shows Martin was “street-wise.”
The judge has decided that none of this information will be permitted in court. However, Zimmerman’s defense may still hope the campaign has implications for the trial and for potential jurors.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Martin’s family, explained in a statement Thursday:
Is the defense trying to prove Trayvon deserved to be killed by George Zimmerman because (of) the way he looked? If so, this stereotypical and closed-minded thinking is the same mindset that caused George Zimmerman to get out of his car and pursue Trayvon, an unarmed kid who he didn’t know. The pretrial release of these irrelevant red herrings is a desperate and pathetic attempt by the defense to pollute and sway the jury pool.
In the Orlando Sentinel, state prosecutors said the information is “irrelevant… and would serve only to prejudice the jury.”