Zimmerman, who was acquitted in July 2013 in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed, African-American teen Trayvon Martin, had sued NBCUniversal for defamation in December 2012.
Zimmerman said NBC reports from March of that year edited the audiotape of his 911 call to authorities regarding his encounter with Martin. The 2012 lawsuit accused NBCUniversal of “manipulating Zimmerman’s own words” and “the oldest form of yellow journalism.”
“There was no intent to portray Mr. Zimmerman unfairly,” NBCUniversal said at the time in a statement. “We intend to vigorously defend our position in court.” NBCUniversal is the parent company of msnbc.
Zimmerman’s complaint alleged that the edits, which aired on four different occasions in March of 2012, allegedly removed a critical part of Zimmerman’s dialogue with the 911 dispatcher. Zimmerman claimed the reports made him appear to be racially biased, according to the complaint.
Zimmerman’s lawsuit also alleged that NBC falsely reported that he had uttered a racial epithet during the 911 call. Zimmerman’s attorneys have consistently argued that their client said “punks.”
Judge Debra Nelson, who also presided over Zimmerman’s criminal trial, has dismissed Zimmerman’s claim against WTVJ reporter Jeff Burnside because Zimmerman’s lawyer had not complied with the notification procedures under a Florida statute.
“We appreciated the opportunity, at the outset of the case, to present our arguments at today’s hearing why it should not proceed further,” a spokesman for NBC News said in a statement.
Zimmerman’s attorney, James Beasley Jr., argued Thursday morning that it would be a mistake to throw out the case now before he could sufficiently gather evidence, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
MSNBC has reached out to Beasley for further comment but has not heard back at this time.