On Thursday, the defense attorneys for George Zimmerman in the highly controversial Trayvon Martin case released new evidence recovered from the teen’s cellphone, which include photos of Martin smoking, handling a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, preparing for a fight and a picture of what appears to be a potted marijuana plant.
Additionally, the defense found several character-impugning, text message conversations, including one between Martin and his mother in which his mother is ordering the teen to move out of her home because she caught him skipping school.
Not surprisingly, the defense is hoping that the judge will allow this evidence to be used during the trial as a sort of counterpunch to any attempts by prosecutors to portray Martin in a pure and uncompromising light.
“If the state puts at issue Trayvon, who he was. If the state makes that an issue, we get to respond to that,” lead defense attorney Mark O’Mara told the Associated Press last week.
In one of the text message conversations, Martin spoke about being involved in a fight, he told the recipient of the text on Nov. 22, 2011, three months before he was gunned down by Zimmerman, that his foe “got mo hits cause in da 1st round he had me on da ground an I couldn’t do ntn.”
Another text message, from six weeks earlier, talks about an alleged physical altercation at school, “I was watcn a fight nd a teacher say I hit em.”
As noted by the Orlando Sentinel, these text messages also fit the defense’s narrative about who Trayvon Martin really was, i.e. a troubled 17-year-old with a penchant for violence, which would ostensibly lend credence to Zimmerman’s allegations that Trayvon was violent and aggressive during the night of the confrontation on Feb. 26, 2012, in the gated Sanford community.
Though, Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump disagreed with that line of reasoning. In a recent statement, Crump described the text messages and photos as “irrelevant red herrings” that are nothing more than “a desperate and pathetic attempt by the defense to pollute and sway the jury pool.”
As of right now, it’s not clear whether the evidence will be admissible in court, that’s up to Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson to decide, which may happen at a hearing in Sanford next Tuesday.
Currently, Zimmerman’s trial date is scheduled for June 10. He faces second-degree murder chargers for killing Martin.