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Lawyers in Zimmerman case to seal evidence

June 1, 2012 at 5:44 PM

SANFORD, Fla., June 1 (UPI) -- Florida prosecutors and defense lawyers in the George Zimmerman case Friday asked a judge to seal several key pieces of evidence until the trial.

Special Prosecutor Angela Corey is seeking to have statements Zimmerman gave authorities he after fatally shot Trayvon Martin withheld, as well as witness names, crime scene photos that show Martin's body and cellphone records for Zimmerman, Martin, and the victim's 16-year-old Miami friend who was allegedly on the phone with Martin at the start of his confrontation with Zimmerman, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

"These witnesses are scared to death to comply," Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda told Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. at a hearing Friday. De la Rionda acknowledged that such information is usually public in Florida, but said "this is a very unique case."

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara also wants witness names and other pieces of evidence kept secret.

Two weeks ago, Corey's office released some evidence in the case to the media but withheld some without a court order to do so. News organizations say that's not permitted under Florida's public records law. Some media companies have filed requests with the judge to order Corey to release more evidence.

Media lawyer Scott Ponce argued in court Friday Zimmerman's statements weren't confessions and should be made public.

Under case law, Ponce said a statement is only considered a confession "if the defendant admits every element of the crime."

Lester has yet to rule on the matter.

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