George Zimmerman trial: Prosecutors want jury to hear evidence about Zimmerman's knowledge of self-defense laws

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 court is set to take up whether prosecutors may introduce evidence and testimony about suspected murderer George Zimmerman's college coursework in criminal justice, his job application to a police agency in Virginia and an application for a ride-along with Sanford police officers.

PICTURES: George Zimmerman on trial in death of Fla. teen

PICTURES: George Zimmerman crime scene photos

READ: Trayvon Martin Shooting: A timeline of events

Prosecutors argued the evidence could speak to Zimmerman's knowledge of law enforcement and of Florida's self-defense laws. Prosecutors are attempting to prove Zimmerman was a "wannabe cop" who killed Florida teen Trayvon Martin "because he wanted to," not in self-defense as he claims.

On Tuesday afternoon, the defense objected to the jury viewing the possible evidence, calling it "irrelevant." The objection prompted a half-hour recess as both sides prepared to argue the issue before Circuit Judge Debra Nelson, but Nelson opted to take up the matter Wednesday morning.

Zimmerman is standing trial in the shooting death of Martin during an altercation last year in Zimmerman's Sanford, Fla. gated community, where Zimmerman had launched a neighborhood watch program. Tuesday marked the seventh day of testimony in the trial.

VIDEO: Zimmerman trial: Prosecutor opens with profanity

On Tuesday, prosecutors showed the jury Zimmerman's interview last year with Fox News television host Sean Hannity. In the interview, Zimmerman said that he had no knowledge of Florida's controversial "stand your ground" statute prior to the altercation.

O'Mara said it was "unfair" and "inappropriate" that prosecutors should introduce the interview only in an apparent attempt to refute Zimmerman's statements later.

"It's not like they're trying to introduce that he took a humanities case or sixth grade geography class, it's specific," Nelson said before the recess. "....They're allowed to present evidence on their theory of the case just as the defense is allowed to cross examine the witness based on your theory of the case."

The court was scheduled to take up the issue again at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

  • Erin Donaghue

    Erin Donaghue covers crime for's Crimesider.

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