ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – During the last hearing before the start of George Zimmerman’s trial, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson denied a defense request to let a handful of witnesses testify confidentiality.
Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. He has claimed he shot the teen in self defense.
Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara wanted the judge to allow the witnesses to give their testimony out of the public’s eye because they had concerns for their safety. He says their testimony could impact the jury’s decision.
Prosecutors and attorneys for media groups objected to the request.
Nelson is also considering whether to accept the testimony of a voice experts hired by the prosecution who have given mixed opinions on whether screams for help on 911 calls were those of Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin.
Nelson has already ruled that the identities of potential jurors will be kept confidential. She also denied a request by Zimmerman’s attorneys that the potential jurors be sequestered.
Nelson is also considering a request from defense attorneys to sanction prosecutors for what they describe as withholding evidence. O’Mara
claimed that prosecutors withheld deleted photos and text messages that came from Martin’s cell phone. An attorney for a technology worker in the State Attorney’s Office testified that he first brought the evidence to the attention of Zimmerman’s attorneys after he was contacted by the technology worker.
“I think the reason I’m here is to determine whether there was misconduct,” said Wesley White, the attorney for the technology worker.
Jury selection is scheduled to get underway Monday. The trial is expected to last more than a month.
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