George Zimmerman Trial: Attorneys prepare for opening statements - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

George Zimmerman Trial: Attorneys clear issues before opening statements

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Prosecutors in opening statements may say that George Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin but they may not say the Miami teen was racially profiled by the neighborhood watch volunteer.
Judge Debra Nelson made that ruling Friday ahead of Monday's expected opening statements in Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.
Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming he fatally shot Martin last year in self-defense.


Defense attorneys had objected to prosecutors saying Martin was racially profiled. Martin was black and Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.


It was obvious that Judge Nelson was ready to clean up any unfinished business, and at times, she interrupted the attorneys, appearing a little testy.

"What are you asking for?" she asked of defense attorney Mark O'Mara as he discussed the relaxation of the authentication rules on information that was in Trayvon Martin's phone.

O'Mara said prosecutors withheld information from Martin's cell phone up until the last minute and has asked for additional time to get that information authenticated.  

"I disagree with Mr. O'Mara that that whole episode was unrebutted or unchallenged or unexpected," said prosecutor Rich Mantei.  "Tossing out the rules of evidence I think in general is a bad idea.  So as far as authenticating on what's on the phone, I'm not sure what the point is." J

Judge Nelson decided to take up the issue when it comes up during the trial.

"I have no idea what the state intends to introduce, and we could take it up one at a time as to what they want to introduce," said Judge Nelson.

Meanwhile, the defense wanted another hearing, asking for a report of one of their audio experts to be entered into evidence. The judge said she already had other work to do regarding the audio experts.

"I can't make a ruling in a vacuum," she said.  "You need to provide to me that which you want to have heard."

Defense attorney Don West replied, "We can provide email addresses or fax numbers, so that the court..."  

Judge Nelson interrupted West, "I don't have a fax machine at my home. I'm sorry to disclose that on national TV, but I do not have a fax machine at home."

Six women will ultimately decide George Zimmerman's fate.  Five of them are white and one Hispanic.  The jury was seated on Thursday.

Three potential black jurors were taken out of the pool -- one at the request of the state and two by the defense.  Two men and two women were selected as alternates.

Some information taken from wire sources.

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