Friday, June 22, 2018
Public safety

Media agrees to not show jurors' faces in Zimmerman trial

Media outlets preparing to cover the George Zimmerman murder trial have agreed to not film or photograph jurors' faces during the case, according to a court document filed Thursday.

In response, Seminole Circuit Judge Debra Nelson canceled a Friday hearing scheduled to discuss the issue.

Zimmerman is set to start trial on second-degree murder charges in Sanford on June 10 for the killing of Trayvon Martin, 17, of Miami Gardens.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman murdered the unarmed teen during a violent confrontation in a gated community, while the self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman insists that he shot and killed Trayvon while acting in self-defense.

The high-profile case — which triggered racial tension and intense scrutiny of Florida's self-defense law — has drawn worldwide headlines. With the tremendous publicity, selecting an impartial jury figures to be a tough task.

On Tuesday, Nelson denied a request to sequester the entire panel of 500 prospective jurors while agreeing to refer to potential jurors only by an assigned number to keep their identities secret and protect them from harassment.

She has yet to rule whether to sequester the final jury. Also on Thursday, a day after Zimmerman's legal team announced that the defense fund was nearly depleted, his lawyers said they had raised about $12,000 in donations.

More than 240 people contributed with donations ranging from $5 to $500.

With less than two weeks before jury selection begins, Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara said on Wednesday that the fund had dwindled to less than $5,000. He said about $120,000 was needed for a good defense and at least $75,000 to give his client a "fighting chance."

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