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Appeals court says defense can interview Martin family attorney

June 4, 2013 at 4:05 PM   |   Comments

ORLANDO, Fla., June 4 (UPI) -- The attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin must answer questions from lawyers representing the man who killed him, a Florida appeals court has ruled.

The Fifth District Court of Appeal said attorneys for George Zimmerman have a right to question Benjamin Crump about his dealings with a woman who was talking to Martin in the moments before he got into a scuffle with Zimmerman that resulted in the teenager's death, the Orlando Sentinel reported Monday.

The unanimous ruling reverses a decision by trial judge Debra S. Nelson, who has twice rejected defense requests to interview Crump. Nelson said Crump was protected by a work product privilege when he interviewed the woman.

The appeals court said because news crews were present during the interview, Crump had waived the privilege.

The appellate judges said a copy of the interview recording given to Zimmerman's attorneys was "incomplete and of very poor quality."

The justices set narrow guidelines under which the defense could question Crump. They can ask about the contents of the interview and circumstances surrounding it, the court said, but Crump cannot be questioned about why or how he tracked her down.

Zimmerman has admitted to shooting and killing Martin, but said he did so in self defense under Florida's "stand your ground" law.

In a statement, Crump said his deposition should not delay the trial "in any possible way."

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