Judge denies gag order in Zimmerman case


SANFORD, Fla. - A judge is denying prosecutors' request for a gag order in the trial of a neighborhood watch captain charged with fatally shooting Trayvon Martin.

In an order issued Monday, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson said that there was no need for a gag order at this time to ensure a fair trial for George Zimmerman.

The prosecution wanted the order imposed because it believes Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, has been using a website and both social and news media to influence potential jurors.

Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second-degree murder in the February shooting of Martin. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.

O'Mara launched a website, as well as Twitter and Facebook accounts, in April, citing a need to diffuse fraudulent Internet entities that claimed to come from Zimmerman.

Zimmerman didn't say anything as he left court on Friday, although prosecutors said he said enough when he talked to Sean Hannity of Fox News.

Prosecutors said Zimmerman's attorneys are talking to the media too much and took things too far when they launched the website and social media accounts.

"Was it done to influence public opinion? I would submit that's the real reason," said prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda.

O'Mara, however, argued it was Martin family attorneys who tried to influence public opinion from the get-go. He cited a newspaper article that revealed attorneys Natalie Jackson and Ben Crump used a publicist to get the story out.

"They have pitched this very same story across America, that Mr. Zimmerman is a racist murderer, and those are his words, not mine," O'Mara said.

O'Mara also argued that he believes the state is holding back evidence, so the judge told him to come up with a list of what he thinks they have and the court will ask the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Department of Justice and FBI if the evidence exists.