George Zimmerman’s lawyer is fighting to keep prosecutors from releasing to the public a statement by “witness 9,” an unidentified person who’s told authorities he’s a racist.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara has argued that what the witness said would not be admitted at trial, so there’s no reason for the public to ever learn about it. He also alleges that it will cause “widespread hostile publicity” and may jeopardize Zimmerman’s chance for a fair trial.
But prosecutors now say they may use it at Zimmerman’s trial if they need to rebut certain defense claims, presumably evidence attempting to show he is not hostile to Blacks.
In paperwork released Monday, Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda did not spell out what witness 9 told authorities, but he described it as information about his “bias against Black persons,” including an unspecified “act.”
Two weeks ago, Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. issued an order, spelling out what public records prosecutors must release and which ones they should withhold. He ordered witness 9’s statements released.
O’Mara then filed paperwork, asking the judge to reconsider. Prosecutors also want it withheld.
Lawyers for more than a dozen news companies, however, have argued that the statement should come out.
The judge on Friday listened to their arguments and said he would rule later.
Zimmerman remains held without bail at the Seminole County Jail on a second degree murder charge. Lester is expected to rule this week whether to grant bail and what amount.