George Zimmerman trial: Prosecutors may introduce Zimmerman's school records, judge rules

Zimmerman trial photos
George Zimmerman, left, arrives in Seminole circuit court, with his wife Shellie, on the 11th day of his trial, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 24, 2013.
Joe Burbank

(CBS/AP) --A Florida judge has ruled that prosecutors may introduce evidence about suspected murderer George Zimmerman's coursework in criminal justice that they say gave him knowledge of Florida's self-defense law.

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READ: Trayvon Martin Shooting: A timeline of events

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson heard arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys, who objected to the evidence being introduced, outside the presence of jurors Wednesday morning.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara says the coursework is not relevant to the case and called the prosecution's effort to introduce it "a witch hunt."

Prosecutors argued Zimmerman's knowledge of law enforcement is relevant to the case.

"He has the education and the ability and the understanding and at least the background to be able to discuss, when he is confronted with police, to both understand what it is they might be trying to do and also what it is he might say in order to address the situation in the light most favorable to him," said prosecutor Richard Mantei in court.

VIDEO: Zimmerman trial: Prosecutor opens with profanity

Prosecutors say the school records show that 29-year-old Zimmerman had knowledge of the law, though he maintained in an interview with Fox News last year that he didn't. Jurors heard that interview on Tuesday.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year. Martin was unarmed.

Nelson ruled that Zimmerman's school records, a police job application and an application for a ride-along with Sanford police officers can be introduced before the jury.


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