A lead attorney of the firm representing the family of Trayvon Martin blasted the defense team representing George Zimmerman, Jr. and accused them of fabricating evidence in an attempt to taint the jury pool in Zimmerman’s trial. According to Huffington Post, Jasmine Rand of the civil rights division of Parks and Crump said that the Zimmerman team’s actions at a pre-trial hearing last week call into question “their veracity as a whole.”
On Sunday on George Zimmerman’s website, the defense team apologized for incorrectly characterizing one of three videos it entered into evidence at a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, May 28. Lead attorney Mark O’Mara initially said the video showed two close friends of Martin’s assaulting a homeless man. On Sunday, the defense team admitted that the video was actually footage of “two homeless guys fighting each other over a bike” and apologized that they had “misstated the nature” of the video.
“The video, to me, is one of the clearest examples of a pure fabrication,” said Rand to HuffPo. “I have no idea where that information came from. It’s inaccurate, and to spread that type of information on such an important case was a clear fabrication of the evidence. I think that the behavior of the defense, to me, would call into question their veracity as a whole. And if you fabricate evidence once, I don’t trust that you wouldn’t fabricate evidence twice.”
O’Mara spokesperson Shawn Vincent insisted to HuffPo that the firm had recognized its mistake and quickly apologized.
On Tuesday, O’Mara spoke to HuffPo, reiterating the contention that the legal team made an honest mistake.
“It was a mistake, I’ve acknowledged it, it happened and I’m sorry. I only wish that those who are so willing to condemn would be without fault first,” he told the website.
Rand said that the defense team shouldn’t be making this kind of glaring and potentially prejudicial mistake in such a high stakes trial.
“This case doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and the manner in which we conduct ourselves as legal professionals has an impact that lasts beyond the Trayvon Martin case itself, and has larger societal implications,” she said to HuffPo. “A lot of the evidence that they’ve brought forward is completely irrelevant, and it’s a very clear attempt to assassinate Trayvon Martin’s character publicly in the media by mischaracterizing certain evidence.”
The videos were part of a brace of potential evidence the defense team attempted to introduce into testimony, including cell phone photos and recordings from Martin’s phone, in an effort to paint the teenager as the aggressor in the February 2012 shooting.
Judge Debra Nelson ruled in the pre-trial hearing that Martin’s suspension from school, prior marijuana use and involvement in schoolyard fights could not be used in O’Mara’s opening statements and that she will handle future evidential disclosures from the defense team on a case-by-case basis.
Nelson also denied O’Mara’s request to delay the opening of the trial.
[image of Trayvon Martin’s father Tracy Martin and mother Sybrina Fulton via Flickr user David Shankbone, Creative Commons Licensed]