Trayvon Martin

Defense backtracks on Trayvon Martin fight video

George Zimmerman’s attorneys released a statement Sunday backtracking on what they said about a video of a fight found on Trayvon Martin’s cellphone.

In court Tuesday, defense attorney Mark O’Mara described it as the Miami Gardens teen video-recording two friends beating up a homeless man.

But in Sunday’s statement, O’Mara apologized and said it really shows Trayvon video-recording two homeless men fighting over a bicycle.

Trayvon, along with a friend, had come upon the fight and Trayvon had merely recorded it, according to the statement.

In his statement Sunday, O’Mara described his mischaracterization in court as unintentional and said he was unhappy about it.

“We have been committed to disputing misinformation in every aspect of this case, not causing it,” the statement said.

That piece of video is among evidence O’Mara’s office notified prosecutors two weeks ago that it may use at Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial, scheduled to begin June 10 in Sanford.

Natalie Jackson, an attorney for Trayvon’s family, was asked Tuesday what she knew about a video showing Trayvon video-recording his friends beating up a homeless man. She said she was not sure it existed.

Trayvon is the unarmed 17-year-old whom Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, fatally shot in Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012.

Zimmerman says he acted in self-defense, that the teenager attacked him, knocking him to the ground with a punch that broke his nose and that Trayvon then climbed on top of him and began hammering his head against a sidewalk.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled the black teenager, assuming he was about to commit a crime, followed and murdered him.

O’Mara has unearthed a good bit of evidence that he says shows that Trayvon took part in organized fights. Two weeks ago, he released text messages from Trayvon’s cellphone. In one, the teen wrote that in one fight he got pummeled in the first round because his opponent got him on the ground.

Also in court Tuesday O’Mara said he had found video of Trayvon refereeing a fight.

The judge ruled Tuesday that O’Mara may not talk about Trayvon fighting during his opening statement, but, if he convinces her during the trial that it is relevant and admissible, she would allow it.

On Thursday, in preparation for the anticipated release of the fight video, an Orlando Sentinel reporter drafted a story describing it, intending to publish it once the video had been made public.

A Web producer prematurely posted it Friday at OrlandoSentinel.com, but quickly took it down after discovering the video had not been released. The story correctly characterized the video. After readers found a cached version of the story online Sunday, Zimmerman’s attorneys released their statement and decided against posting the video.

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