State attorney says Zimmerman using court filings to sway media - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Prosecution: Zimmerman defense using court to influence media

Florida Special Prosecutor Angela Corey announces the second-degree murder charges against George Zimmerman on April 11. (Source: FNC) Florida Special Prosecutor Angela Corey announces the second-degree murder charges against George Zimmerman on April 11. (Source: FNC)

SANFORD, FL (RNN) - In a document filed with the court Tuesday, prosecutors in the case against George Zimmerman accused defense attorneys of using court filings to push their media strategy.

The claim was part of the state's response to a July 13 motion from the defense to replace Judge Kenneth Lester Jr.

Prosecutors criticized the motion for citing "facts that are inaccurate, misleading and/or incomplete."

Defense attorneys said the court was wrong to only look at the fact that 28-year-old Zimmerman admitted to shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin while ignoring that he may have had a viable claim of self-defense.

"Self-defense is an affirmative defense," Florida Assistant State Attorney Bernardo de la Rionda wrote on behalf of the prosecution. "Why this and other such matters is discussed in a motion to disqualify the judge is an open question; perhaps so it could be published by the media and in defendant's website and - without any response by the state - be wrongly perceived as accurate."

Prosecutors called the motion to get a second judge replaced "absurd."

Defense attorneys argued a July 5 order to set bail was "harsh and morally indignant," creating a "reasonable fear" that the court is biased against him and "he cannot receive a fair and impartial trial or hearing by this court."

Prosecutors said the filing had no legal merit, but was instead prompted by Lester's move to raise Zimmerman's bail from its original $100,000 to $1 million.

The defense added that Lester's statement that he believed Zimmerman lied to the court at his first hearing "indicates bias against the party."

"All judges on a regular basis are asked to listen to evidence and make decisions on the evidence presented," de la Rionda wrote.

"If a party doesn't like a court's findings, that doesn't mean they have the right to ask for a new judge."

Further, the state said the defense's claim was "ironic," since attorney Mark O'Mara has made public statements acknowledging his client had in fact lied.

The defense motion was the second of its kind from the Zimmerman camp. In April, Judge Jessica Recksidler recused herself after disclosing her connection to a CNN legal analyst.

Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder for the Feb. 26 shooting of Martin. If convicted, he could face life in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

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