June 20, 2018
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News groups fight to open Trayvon Martin shooting files

The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — News organizations in Florida, including The Associated Press, challenged on Monday the sealing of records related to the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman in Trayvon Martin’s fatal shooting. Meanwhile, Zimmerman’s attorney wants the current judge to step down because of a potential conflict of interest in the case.

The organizations, led by The Miami Herald, filed a motion in Seminole County Circuit Court.

Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara asked for the records to be sealed last week, when his client was charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 fatal shooting of Martin, 17.

Zimmerman, 28, is pleading not guilty and says he acted in self-defense.

Hearings for both requests have not immediately been scheduled. If a new judge is assigned to the case, Zimmerman’s bail hearing — originally scheduled for Friday — could be pushed back.

Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler last week revealed the potential conflict in the case that relates to her husband, who works with Orlando attorney Mark NeJame.

NeJame was first approached by Zimmerman’s family to represent the neighborhood watch volunteer. But the attorney, who also is serving as a CNN legal analyst in the case, declined and referred them to O’Mara.

“What I don’t want to happen is to wait a month or two, and then we find out that what we thought is a potential conflict is an actual conflict,” O’Mara told reporters outside the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center.

Florida court officials released a statement Monday afternoon confirming that O’Mara’s request had been filed and “would be ruled on in the appropriate manner.”

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