The judge in the trial of George Zimmerman ruled against the defense team Wednesday in an evidentiary matter, saying that Zimmerman’s lawyers cannot introduce slain teenager Trayvon Martin’s old text messages about fighting into evidence, nor can they show the jury an animated video they produced of Zimmerman’s account of the chain of events leading up to Martin’s death in 2012. According to the Associated Press, Judge Debra Nelson made the ruling Wednesday after hearing testimony from both prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Prosecutors maintained that the old texts were irrelevant and that the computer animation of Zimmerman’s alibi could potentially mislead jurors.
“This is a murder trial. This isn’t ‘Casablanca.’ This isn’t ‘Iron Man,'” prosecutor Richard Mantei argued in the hearing.
Nelson said that she has concerns about the animated video’s accuracy. The defense will be able to use it in their closing arguments, she said, but it will not be entered into the the body of evidence that the jury has ready access to.
“To have an animation go back into jury room that they can play over and over again gives a certain weight to something that this court isn’t exactly certain comports with the evidence presented at trial,” the judge said.
Defense attorney Don West maintained to the court that Martin’s text messages should be admitted to evidence because they show his interest in fighting and physical strength. Nelson echoed prosecutors’ belief that the texts are not germane to the question of Zimmerman’s guilt.
The trial began last month, nearly a year and a half after the night in February of 2012 when Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, pursued Martin through the neighborhood where his father lived and initiated a physical confrontation that resulted in Martin’s death by shooting. Prosecutors say that Zimmerman was essentially acting as an overzealous, untrained police officer who racially profiled an innocent teenager and wound up shooting him. Prosecutors are trying to paint a picture of Martin as a violent young tough who may have been planning a crime.
The defense team is winding up its phase of the trial. Closing arguments are expected to begin some time next week.