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Trayvon Martin Case: Prosecutors didn't violate discovery rules, judge says

George Zimmerman (center) and his attorney Mark O'Mara arrive in court on April 30, 2013 Pool,AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank

George Zimmerman (center) and his attorney Mark O'Mara arrive in court on April 30, 2013
AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Pool, Joe Burbank
(CBS/AP) - A Florida judge ruled on Tuesday that prosecutors in the George Zimmerman case didn't violate discovery rules, as the defense team for the former neighborhood watch captain alleged.

PICTURES: George Zimmerman faces murder chargeREAD: Timeline of events in Trayvon Martin shooting case

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26, 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. He has pleaded not guilty and says he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense during an altercation in Sanford, Fla.

A hearing was set for Tuesday to hash out the alleged violations, which included information regarding the questioning of a witness who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin at the time of his death.

Zimmerman's defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, said that the prosecution didn't inform the defense soon enough that "Witness 8" had lied in an interview about going to the hospital following Martin's death.

O'Mara also said that prosecutors' alleged failure to disclose evidence in a timely manner had caused his team "hours and hours of work."

"I think what they've done has caused me procedural prejudice because of the workload I've had to take on, because of this and my ability to prepare the case properly for trial," O'Mara said.

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson said she did not find that the prosecutors had violated discovery rules or caused prejudice to Zimmerman. However, Nelson set a post-trial date to hear the defense's request for monetary compensation for depositions they say the prosecution delayed, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

O'Mara also wanted the court to unseal details on a civil settlement Martin's parents received from Zimmerman's homeowner's association. O'Mara contended the settlement could influence the testimony of Martin's parents, if they are called as witnesses.

The judge said defense attorneys and prosecutors could see full copies of the settlement but the public would only be able to see a version from which some information has been removed.

Daryl Parks, one of the Martin family's attorneys, said afterward that any attempt by the defense to use information from the recent civil settlement was "smoke and mirrors."

"It is just wrong to suggest that Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton wanted their son to be killed so they could get a confidential financial settlement," he said. "It is just so unfair to this family."

O'Mara denied he was making that suggestion but said anything that goes toward witness bias should be available for a jury to explore during trial to decide whether those testifying are credible.

At the hearing, Zimmerman waived his right to a pre-trial "stand your ground" immunity hearing.

Florida's so-called "stand your ground" law allows someone to use deadly force, instead of retreating, if they believe their life is in danger. A "stand your ground" hearing could have led to the dismissal of charges if Zimmerman conclusively showed that he fatally shot Martin because he "reasonably believed" he might be killed or suffer "great bodily harm" at the hands of the unarmed teenager.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the defense has said they "might" argue for immunity at trial after all the evidence is presented.

Complete coverage of the George Zimmerman case on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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