George Zimmerman witness list now tops 200

 

Orlando Sentinel

Attorneys for George Zimmerman have filed their final witness list, and it’s grown to 210 people.

The just-revised list now includes 71 employees of the Sanford Police Department — half of its total payroll — and 50 new unidentified witnesses, most believed to be character witnesses.

It includes no revelations. Defense attorneys filed a similar list three weeks ago, but it included 130 individuals.

Many of the witnesses — 81 — are identified by number or letter and not by name, so it’s not clear who they are or what they are expected to say.

The new list, as did the earlier one, includes Trayvon’s mother, father and step-brother; attorney Benjamin Crump; ousted Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr.; Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr., and retired State Attorney Norm Wolfinger.

It also includes Zimmerman’s mother and father.

Zimmerman is the 29-year-old former Neighborhood Watch volunteer who’s charged with second-degree murder for shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, in Sanford Feb. 26, 2012.

Zimmerman says he acted in self-defense.

His trial is scheduled for June 10 in Sanford. Attorneys have said that once a six-member jury is selected, they expect it to last about two weeks.

Lawyers seldom call to the witness stand all the people on their witness lists.

Attorneys are scheduled to be back in court April 30 to argue over a series of contentious issues.

One is whether Zimmerman is entitled to a copy of a $1 million-plus settlement agreement between Trayvon’s parents and Zimmerman’s homeowners’ association, the organization through which he set up a Neighborhood Watch.

Thursday, defense attorney Mark O’Mara fired a new salvo in that dispute, filing paperwork in which he described the legal argument of Trayvon’s family’s attorney Benjamin Crump as “outrageously inflammatory”.

Crump wrote last week that “the parents of Trayvon Martin in no way wanted their son killed in order to pursue a civil settlement.”

According to O’Mara, the issue isn’t whether the parents’ actions contributed to their son’s death. It’s whether the information they’ve spread has been biased and helped them secure a substantial financial gain.

Zimmerman has a right to question them about possible bias, O’Mara wrote, and to know the truth about the settlement.

Another issue set for the April 30 hearing is whether prosecutors should be forced to cough up several thousand dollars as punishment.

Defense attorneys accuse Assistant State Attorneys Bernie de la Rionda and John Guy of hiding for several months the fact that they knew the state’s most important witness lied under oath.

That’s a young Miami woman who was on the phone with Trayvon moments before he was shot.

She told de la Rionda in a sworn statement that she had been in the hospital the day of Trayvon’s funeral, and that’s why she did not attend.

Last month, Guy acknowledged that that was not true.

Also at that April 30 hearing, defense attorneys will demand access to all evidence authorities downloaded from Zimmerman’s cell phone and any other phones related to Zimmerman and his wife.

Read more Zimmerman Case stories from the Miami Herald

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