Trayvon Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump praised a Florida judge Tuesday for ruling that George Zimmerman’s defense team cannot mention Martin’s suspension from school, prior marijuana use, text messages or past fighting during opening statements at next month’s trial. The judge said she will consider motions to admit some information into evidence on a case-by-case basis.
Crump said the family was also happy to learn of the judge's decision to deny the defense's request to delay the trial. "They strongly want to get this matter before the court so they can have their day in court," he said.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, telling police he shot him in self-defense after Martin attacked him.
Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's lawyer, asked the judge not to pre-emptively exclude the information, saying that it bolstered their theory of the shooting–that the 17-year-old was the aggressor and Zimmerman shot him in self-defense.
After Tuesday's hearing, O'Mara told reporters, "The Martin family, through their handlers, presented a picture of who Trayvon was, and who George was, that is wholly inaccurate and this evidence sort of shows that.”
"This is going to hamper the defense in trying to display the victim as the aggressor," Ken Padowitz, a former Florida homicide prosecutor, said of the judge's rulings on PoliticsNation. "I'm sure that the prosecution is very happy with the results of today's hearing."
Crump said the Martin's family view is, "'You killed our unarmed son. You should be held accountable,'" Crump said. "And that was the big thing they kept saying: 'We want a trial and you face the evidence against you, so the jury can decide if the evidence is there, you'll be held accountable.'"
Note: George Zimmerman has sued NBCUniversal for defamation in civil court, and the company has strongly denied his allegations.