Judge: comments allowed in Trayvon Martin case

April 27, 2012 at 3:00 PM
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STANFORD, Fla., April 27 (UPI) -- A Florida judge denied a request to bar lawyers from commenting on the case of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with murder.

Judge Kenneth Lester Friday denied chief prosecutor Bernardo de la Rionda's request to bar lawyers from making public comments on the case, The New York Times reported.

Rionda has said making comments to the media would harm Zimmerman's chance at a fair trial.

Although he denied the prosecutor's request, Lester said he would not make the court's security plans for the trial public.

"There are some issues of security the media is not going to be privy to," Lester said, referring to death threats that have been made against Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, 28, is charged with second-degree murder for the Feb. 26 death of Trayvon Martin, 17, who was unarmed when he was shot to death. Zimmerman, the captain of the neighborhood watch in his gated community in Stanford, has said he shot Martin in self-defense. He was released from jail Monday on $150,000 bail.

Meanwhile, support for Zimmerman has been coming in through monetary donations, his Orlando lawyer, Mark O'Mara, told CNN.

O'Mara said Zimmerman told him Wednesday of the more than $200,000 in donations he has received through a legal defense fundraising Web site.

"He asked me what to do with his PayPal accounts and I asked him what he was talking about," O'Mara said. "And he said those were the accounts that had the money from the Web site he had. And there was about $200,000, $204,000 that had come in to date."

O'Mara previously said he believed Zimmerman had no money.

"I think he's indigent for costs," he said, adding that Zimmerman's relatives had few assets.

Prosecutors said Friday Zimmerman's bail should be raised in light of the donations.

Lester said he would wait to hear from O'Mara -- who ultimately had control over the Web site -- to decide whether to raise Zimmerman's bail.

"I may have authority. I may not have authority. I don't know," Lester said.

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