courtesy of Fox News
George Zimmerman, left, and defense attorney Mark O'Mara, center, in an interview taped Wednesday morning with Sean Hannity of Fox News.
George Zimmerman has granted an exclusive interview to Fox News' Sean Hannity, scheduled to air Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET, Fox announced.
"Zimmerman will open up about what happened the night of Trayvon Martin’s death and his experience in the aftermath of the fatal shooting," according to a Fox press release.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin, an unarmed black teenager, on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. The case has become the focus of national media, and ignited an emotional debate over race and gun rights.
Zimmerman, the son of a white father and Peruvian mother of Hispanic descent, has pleaded innocent to the murder charge, and says that he shot Martin in self-defense after Martin attacked him. He is out on bail preparing for a trial.
During the hour-long interview to air on Hannity’s program, Zimmerman and attorney Mark O’Mara will discuss the night of the shooting, and address rumors about about bail donations and hidden money, Mediabistro.com reported.
During its 6 p.m. news program, the Fox-owned station in Orlando, WOFL, aired a clip from the interview, the Orlando Sentinel reported in a blog.
"My wife and I don’t have any children," the newspaper quoted Zimmerman as saying. "I love my children even though they aren’t born yet. I am sorry that they buried their child. I can’t imagine what it must feel like, and I pray for them daily."
A legal expert following the case said there were several possible strategic reasons for O'Mara to allow his client to appear on national television.
"Clearly they are trying to humanize (Zimmerman) some more and give his story some traction," said retired judge and former prosecutor Phyllis Kotey, who now teaches at Florida International University College of Law.
They may also see it as a test run for court, she said.
"It's a chance to hone the story and test it — test versions, what works, reactions, to see what’s going to happen," she said. "It's an opportunity to see how a particular position will play."
She noted that in a television appearance, Zimmerman can speak without the risk of cross-examination by the prosecution.
"Every time he does something public like this, he has an oppportunity to get information to the potential jurors without having to take the stand," said Kotey.
Requests for comment from O'Mara's office were not immediately answered.
Fox News spokesperson Carly Shanahan said there was no payment in return for the exclusive interview.
The interview, which was taped Wednesday morning, is slated to run a second time at midnight ET.
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