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Zimmerman murder case: Judge denies request for gag order

Pool / REUTERS

George Zimmerman walks into court with attorney Mark O'Mara in Sanford, Fla. on Monday.

A Florida judge has denied a prosecutor’s request for a gag order to prevent George Zimmerman’s attorney from posting documents and other information online.

Zimmerman, 29, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, 17, inside a gated community in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26.

Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self-defense.


In her two-page order Monday, Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson wrote that she found no "overriding pattern of prejudicial commentary" and noted that a dozen media companies that had opposed the order were right when they argued that the state had failed to demonstrate prejudice.

Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda had argued that Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, has used a website set up to assist Zimmerman and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to publicly discuss the case, potentially tainting jurors.

O’Mara denied the prosecutor's claims, saying Zimmerman has faced a “tidal wave” of inaccurate information.

It was the second time de la Rionda had requested a gag order in the case.

Zimmerman's case attracted national media interest and outrage from critics because police initially declined to arrest him. He is currently free on a $1 million bond and living in an undisclosed location near Sanford awaiting his trial, which is due to begin June 10.

Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Peruvian; Martin was black.

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