Prosecution seeks gag order in shooting

Oct. 26, 2012 at 7:40 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 26 (UPI) -- An attorney for George Zimmerman, charged in Florida with killing an unarmed black teenager, argued the victim's family has already tainted potential jurors.

Mark O'Mara opposed a prosecution motion for a gag order in the case, the Los Angeles Times reported. He said Trayvon Martin's family, using demonstrations and news interviews, made the 17-year-old's death a national cause.

"I contend to you that the case against Mr. Zimmerman was created for reasons far outside the facts of what happened that night," O'Mara said.

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson said she will rule Monday.

Zimmerman has said he shot Martin in self-defense. The two apparently got into an altercation after Zimmerman followed Martin, who was walking from a convenience store to a relative's house in a dark Orlando subdivision. Zimmerman ignored the warnings of a 911 operator who told him he should not follow the teenager.

Bernie de la Rionda, the prosecutor, argued Zimmerman's attorneys are using social media and more traditional forms of influencing public opinion to get their own version of the case embedded in the public consciousness.

Nelson also scheduled a hearing for April on whether the charges should be dropped. Zimmerman's attorneys say he acted legally under Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which gives gun owners wide latitude to use their weapons in self-defense.

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