News

Zimmerman’s lawyer calls prosecutors ‘disgrace’ to profession

Zimmerman’s lawyer calls prosecutors ‘disgrace’ to profession

George Zimmerman's chief defense lawyer on Monday called Florida prosecutors "a disgrace to my profession" Photo: Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – George Zimmerman’s chief defense lawyer on Monday called Florida prosecutors “a disgrace to my profession” for holding back evidence for months and pledged a new effort to impose sanctions against them.

Mark O’Mara and co-counsel Don West argued the self-defense case that helped Zimmerman win an acquittal of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges on Saturday for the 2012 shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

The law requires prosecutors to share evidence with defense attorneys, especially if it helps exonerate defendants. The requirement is known as the Brady disclosure.

O’Mara accused prosecutors of several Brady violations, which were heard by Judge Debra Nelson before the trial. Nelson postponed some of her decisions on sanctions until after trial, saying the process was time-consuming.

“This is not acceptable, and is not going to be tolerated in any case that I’m involved in,” O’Mara told Reuters in New York on Monday, accusing special prosecutor Angela Corey and lead trial attorney Bernie de la Rionda of Brady violations.

“They are a disgrace to my profession,” O’Mara said, referring specifically to de la Rionda and Corey. “They said my client was ‘lucky’ to have been acquitted. Really?”

Corey responded that O’Mara’s comments were unprofessional and challenged him to point to any judge’s ruling that her office improperly withheld evidence.

“Our office adhered to the highest standards of ethical behavior,” Corey told Reuters in a telephone interview. “Our rules of professional conduct regulate comments like that. I don’t think those are the kind of comments that are appropriate.”

Her office confirmed last week that it had fired its information technology director, Ben Kruidbos, who had testified in a pre-trial hearing that files he created with text messages and images he retrieved from Martin’s phone were not handed to the defense.

Kruidbos testified last month that he found embarrassing photos on Martin’s phone that included pictures of a clump of jewelry on a bed, underage nude females, marijuana plants and a hand holding a semi-automatic pistol.

O’Mara said he intends to amend his request for sanctions against the prosecutors in light of testimony from the trial, calling prosecutors’ failure to turn over data from Martin’s phone records for months “an undeniable Brady violation.”

Prosecutors handed over raw data from Martin’s phone, but O’Mara accused them of withholding additional data that had been extracted by Kruidbos. Corey countered that the judge determined the defense was in possession.

O’Mara has quarreled with the prosecutors since they charged Zimmerman last year and has become increasingly aggressive in his criticism of the prosecution since his client’s acquittal.

A jury in Sanford, Florida, found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter after a three-week trial in which defense lawyers argued that the neighborhood watch volunteer, shot Martin in self-defense.

Latest Headlines

in Local

Maine House Speaker Sues Governor Over Loss of School Job

Fresh
governorlepage

Maine's Democratic House Speaker has sued Republican Gov. Paul LePage after the governor threatened to withhold funds from a school for at-risk youth to get him removed from the top job there.

in Local

Actress Valerie Harper Hospitalized in Maine

Fresh
20251-valerie-harper

The Ogunquit Playhouse says actress Valerie Harper has been hospitalized after falling ill before a performance.

in Local

Trooper Suffers Non-Life-Threatening Injuries in Crash

Fresh
troopercrash1

Police say a Maine state trooper was injured in a dramatic crash in which his cruiser was rear-ended by a tractor trailer on Interstate 295 in Richmond.

in Local

Bangor City Councilor Baldacci Announces Congressional Run

Fresh
WGAN IMAGE

Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci, the brother of former Gov. John Baldacci, has filed papers to run for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Maine's 2nd District.

in Local

Defendants in Haunted Hayride Crash Plead Not Guilty

Hayride Jeep 101714

All three defendants in a fatal haunted hayride crash in Maine have pleaded not guilty in their first court appearance.

Tweets

  • 47m
  • 54m
  • 54m
  • 1h
  • 1h
  • 1h
  • 1h