An attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family joined PoliticsNation Thursday night to discuss a collection of photos and text messages that George Zimmerman’s defense team wants to show to a jury at trial.
Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, plans to introduce into evidence photos showing Trayvon Martin blowing smoke, what appears to be marijuana, and a hand holding a gun. Additional evidence, released through a website run by Zimmerman’s defense team on Thursday, includes texts from Martin where he discusses smoking marijuana, school suspension, and guns.
“I’ve explained to them it’s just a desperate attempt by Zimmerman’s defense to try to prejudice and influence the jury, and that is an old strategy,” Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump explained on Thursday’s PoliticsNation.
“All of this stuff they put out today is completely irrelevant,” he said. ”These photos are irrelevant. The only photos that are relevant are the pictures of Trayvon Martin on the night that he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman.”
“We’ve always believed that [Zimmerman’s lawyers] know if the jury follows the evidence that they will convict George Zimmerman of killing Trayvon Martin,” he said, calling photos and text messages referencing marijuana use “red herrings.”
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty in the Feb. 26 shooting death of Martin, claiming he shot Martin in self-defense after Martin attacked him.
O’Mara defended the relevance of some of the images and messages on Fox News Thursday afternoon. “Arguably [the picture of the gun] is relevant because if the issue of Trayvon Martin’s propensity for violence becomes relevant, then the jury can consider the fact that he had several pictures of a gun and of course his text messages talked about his attempts to purchase a gun,” O’Mara said. “That that could be relevant concerning a propensity of violence.”
He also defended some of the text messages in which Trayvon discussed violence.
“If we are talking about who Trayvon Martin was that night, if that becomes relevant regarding how the state represents it, then the idea that this was a person who was familiar with fighting, familiar with getting on top of somebody, another text said. I think that’s very relevant for a jury to look back and say what did happen in that one minute or so that we don’t have audio evidence for,” he said.
It’s unclear at this point if the evidence will be admissible in court.
Jeff Deen, a former assistant state attorney in Florida and the head of a state agency that represents criminal defendants, told NBC News that strict rules having to do with character evidence will likely make Martin’s texts and photos inadmissible at trial.
“What does his mom saying he needs to live with his dad for a while say about why he was shot? Nothing,” he said. “Generally, reputation evidence is not admissible in court.”
Late Thursday NBC News learned that Zimmerman’s defense team filed a request for a delay in the trial.
Note: George Zimmerman has sued NBCUniversal for defamation, and the company has strongly denied his allegations.