Zimmerman Asks For New Judge
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) — Saying the judge had made disparaging remarks about their client’s character, George Zimmerman’s legal team asked Friday for Kenneth R. Lester Jr. to step down from the case.
Zimmerman’s attorneys filed a motion in circuit court saying Zimmerman cannot get a fair trial because Lester used “gratuitous, disparaging” language in a bail order last week. Friday’s filing also says Lester has advocated for Zimmerman to be prosecuted for additional crimes, offered personal opinion about evidence and has threatened their client with contempt charges.
“Mr. Zimmerman has lost faith in the objectivity of this court and has a reasonable, well-rounded fear that he will not receive a fair trial by this court,” the document said.
Zimmerman’s attorneys particularly took issue with two of the judge’s comments: “Under any definition, the defendant has flouted the system,” citing the definition of flout, and “The defendant has tried to manipulate the system when he has been presented the opportunity to do so.”
The defense team said the court had reached a reached a “bold” conclusion that Zimmerman was going to flee the country.
Zimmerman, 28, was released from jail a week ago, one day after Lester set bail at $1 million.
Zimmerman had to post 10% of the $1 million — or $100,000 — to meet the requirement for release.
He is charged with second-degree murder in the February 26 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, a Sanford neighborhood watch volunteer, acknowledged fatally shooting the unarmed Martin after calling police to report a suspicious person. Zimmerman said Martin attacked him.
A timeline of events
In April, Seminole Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler approved a motion to disqualify herself from the case and Lester took her place.
InSession’s Aletse Mellado contributed to this report.