Trayvon Martin case judge asked to step aside in George Zimmerman trial

George Zimmerman at his first court appearance.
getty images

The Florida man accused of killing unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin asked the judge in the case to step aside on Monday because of a possible conflict of interest.

Defense lawyer Mark O’Mara’s office said a motion was filed under seal with the Seminole County Court requesting that Judge Jessica Recksiedler withdraw from the trial of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who was charged with second-degree murder last week.

Recksiedler revealed at a hearing last week that her husband works with Mark NeJame, a television analyst for CNN who was contacted by Zimmerman’s family as part of their search for a defense attorney. NeJame, in turn, referred the Zimmermans to O’Mara.

Recksiedler’s husband, Jason Jarrett Recksiedler, is the law partner of NeJame. Given NeJame’s role as an analyst on the Zimmerman case, O’Mara said “proper separation” could be a problem unless Recksiedler recused herself from the case.

There was no immediate word on the judge’s response to O’Mara’s motion but a bond hearing is set to take place on Friday.

At that hearing, O’Mara has said previously he will ask that Zimmerman be released on his own recognizance while he awaits trial on the second-degree murder charge against him.

Zimmerman, the son of a white Virginia man and mother from Peru, claims self-defense in the February 26 shooting death in this central Florida town of Martin, an unarmed black teenager from Miami.

He is scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge on May 29 and could face life in prison if convicted.

Police initially failed to arrest Zimmerman or charge him with any crime because Florida’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” law allows individuals who feel threatened in a public place to use lethal force in self defense.


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