Miami-Dade County

July 10, 2013

Tempers flare at Zimmerman trial as defense attorneys complain to judge about long hours

Tempers flared Tuesday night as the George Zimmerman murder trial was recessed just before 10 p.m.

Tempers flared Tuesday night as the George Zimmerman murder trial was recessed just before 10 p.m.

Defense attorneys complained when the judge ordered everyone back in court Wednesday morning.

“Your honor, we’ve been working very long hours," exhausted Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O'Mara pleaded after a 12 1/2-hour day in court.

“So have I!" Seminole County Circuit Judge Debra Nelson shot back.

O’Mara continued: “Your honor, we don’t have time to prepare our witnesses,” he said.

“We’re recessed... it is now 9:57 p.m.,” Nelson said.

Visibly exasperated, defense co-counsel Don West continued to address the judge as she began to pack up. "I don’t think I can physically keep up this pace much longer ... weekend depositions and at night,” he said.

Ignoring West, the judge walked off the bench — arms full of paperwork. The attorney continued his plea from the defense table.

The unusual exchange between attorneys and judge came at the end of hours of testimony and arguments over two issues centered on whether the defense will be allowed to show the jury a 3-D animation of the fatal shooting of Miami Garden teen Trayvon Martin by Zimmerman. The defense also wants to introduce text messages from Trayvon's cell phone that indicate he practiced fighting and had planned to buy a gun.

It all began as West had just finished arguing for allowing the texts, calling them imperative to Zimmerman's self- defense claim.

When the judge questioned the authentication of the texts Tuesday night, West blamed the lack of preparation time, accusing the prosecution of keeping the text evidence from the defense.

“It’s simply unfair not to allow Mr. Zimmerman to put on a defense because of the state’s tactics,” West told the judge.

Prosecutor John Guy demanded that West apologize for accusing him of withholding information.

That’s when the judge said she would not tolerate such behavior and called the recess that sparked the outcry.

All are expected back in court at 9 a.m.

On Tuesday, the defense said it would rest its case on Wednesday.

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