No deposition for lawyer in Trayvon Martin case

AP News
Posted: Feb 22, 2013 7:34 PM

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — Lawyers for neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman will not be allowed to question an attorney for the parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, a judge said Friday.

Lawyers for Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree in Martin's shooting death, wanted to question attorney Benjamin Crump. The out-spoken attorney has said he talked to Martin's girlfriend and she was on the phone with Martin in the minutes before Zimmerman shot the unarmed teenager to death on the night of Feb. 26, 2012.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty. He has said Martin punched him, they fought and he shot Martin in self-defense.

Zimmerman's attorneys wanted to question Crump in part to ask him about specifics on the circumstances surrounding his recording of the girlfriend, who was identified as witness eight in court.

Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson said Crump didn't have relevant information and questioning him would violate attorney-client privilege.

Nelson also said the defense team has had 10 months to interview the witness and she, not Crump, is the only one who could provide testimony about the phone call.

Crump's attorney, Bruce Blackwell, called the motion "a side show" by the defense. Crump did not attend the hearing.

Don West, an attorney representing Zimmerman, said Crump misrepresented the woman's age as 16 when she was 18.

"She has been cloaked in mystery since the beginning of this," West said.

Also, the judge denied a request to release the addresses of Martin's parents, girlfriend and other witnesses. However, the judge said the defense could ask them for their address during depositions. The state had withheld the addresses to protect the witnesses from public scrutiny.

Following the hearing, defense attorney Mark O'Mara said Zimmerman has talked to him about the one-year anniversary of the shooting.

"He is sorry but every time we say he's sorry and traumatized by Trayvon's death, they say we're being insensitive to the Martin family," O'Mara said. "It's been a traumatic year for both parties. The anniversary will be a sign that this has been a long, long year with no resolution."