George Zimmerman Team Begins Offense
To date, the public has only seen George Zimmerman's legal team playing defense - fighting for bond and against the negative perceptions of their client created by the selective discovery released and the Martin family and their media team of lawyers and consultants.
Yesterday, that began to change. Mark O'Mara filed a notice of hearing for subpoenas he wants issued for Trayvon Martin and his phone friend "DeeDee"'s cell phone accounts for the period of 1/1/12 to 6/1/12, and for their Facebook and Twitter accounts,.
In another motion, Mark O'Mara says he wants the original recordings of Witness 9, George's cousin, brought to court because despite repeated requests, the defense may not have received accurate and audible copies and they want to make sure what was submitted to the court at the bond hearing is the same as what they received. [More...]
In another motion, O'Mara asks to continue the October 17, docket sounding because discovery is not complete. The Defense will be taking 50 to 75 depositions.
O'Mara explains his filings in this interview.
Zimmerman's family has also stepped up their media presence. Zimmerman's brother Robert has been appearing on Fox News, and last night, Robert and their mother Gladys Zimmerman appeared on the Piers Morgan show.
On March 26, copies of his Tweets from his Twitter account were obtained and released by The Daily Caller. Daily Caller obtained them through a search conducted by a subscriber to People Browser. Dave Weigel at Slate reported he was able to access the tweets on March 26.
On the phones, since O'Mara didn't release the actual subpoenas he wants issued, it's unknown whether he is asking for specific phone numbers or making a general request. Does he not believe that this phone, found at the scene, is the phone that Trayvon was using that night? Since he already has records provided by the state for one phone purportedly used by Trayvon and one by Dee Dee (also see here) although for a shorter period of time, he may be after different phones either or both used. Or, he may just be trying to rule out that either had more than one phone.
"DeeDee" is still a juvenile and her identity has been ordered redacted from discovery. Thus speculation about her identity is not appropriate here.
I have said since the beginning of this case that references to Trayvon's social media accounts is off-limits unless and until either side makes it an issue. It is now an issue, but the content of the accounts has not been ruled admissible. Thus, any discussion in comments here or on our forums should be limited to O'Mara's request for the records and his assertion (which I agree with) that they could lead to relevant, admissible evidence. Discussion of the contents of the social media accounts of Trayvon and "DeeDee" are still off-limits here since even if the subpoenas are approved, the contents may or may not be admissible at future hearings or trial. In addition, even if the subpoenas are approved, given Twitter's limited retention policy on deactivated accounts, the records may no longer exist.
It seems to me that if the state intends to argue that Zimmerman was the aggressor, any history Trayvon may have had for violence is relevant. The state does not deny that Trayvon punched Zimmerman. Zimmerman has clear photographic evidence and medical records of his injuries. If the state is going to argue that Trayvon had just cause for punching Zimmerman, then Zimmerman must be allowed to investigate whether Trayvon had any history of unprovoked attacks. A review of Trayvon and his friends' Twitter accounts for such references seems appropriate. It could lead to admissible evidence. As to whether the actual tweeets of either Trayvon or his friends would be admissible at a trial, that's a different issue.
One issue that is bound to be discussed is whether it was appropriate for the Martins' to deactivate the account if they didn't retain a copy of the contents. Mr. Crump didn't say whether he advised the Martins to retain a copy or had someone in his office do so. I don't think the Martins were under any legal obligation to preserve the material, since they were not on notice the information contained within them might be evidence in the case. But deletion of unfavorable information by one side never looks good to the public or a jury, and if destroyed, while the actual records might not end up before a jury (even if deemed otherwise relevant and admissible), it's possible the intentional failure to preserve them might.
One other issue I hope to see addressed by O'Mara is the difference in audio quality between the interview between Crump and "Dee Dee" released by the state, and clips of the audio released by ABC, whose reporter Matt Gutman was on the call. The state's version, provided by Team Crump, is inaudible. ABC's version, published on its website, is not. Wouldn't the state or O'Mara subpoena ABC's version? If so, shouldn't ABC's version be made public?
Again, please keep your comments to the legal issues, and refrain from discussing the content of Trayvon's and DeeDee's social media accounts or speculation as to Dee Dee's identity. There are many sites where you can discuss the details. This just isn't one of them.
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