Zimmerman’s Lawyer Asks to Have Judge Removed From Case
George Zimmerman’s defense team formally requested Monday that the Florida judge assigned to their client’s case be removed after she revealed her husband works with a CNN legal analyst.
Mark O’Mara’s office filed paperwork Monday asking that Seminole Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler not preside over second-degree murder proceedings involving Zimmerman, according to Seminole County Court spokeswoman Michelle Kennedy.
The motion to “disqualify” the trial judge “will be ruled on in the appropriate manner,” Kennedy said Monday.
Zimmerman, a 28-year-old neighborhood-watch volunteer, fatally shot teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, a killing he has said was in self-defense. Since then, the case has stirred civil rights activists nationwide and drawn intense publicity.
Recksiedler is assigned to the Zimmerman case. But on Friday, she said she would entertain motions to disqualify her from the trial after discovering that her husband works with Mark NeJame, an attorney whom Zimmerman approached about representing him and has since widely commented on the case in the media. NeJame also is a CNN contributor who has been asked to provide analysis on this case.
O’Mara said Friday that the association might become “more and more problematic” given the scrutiny the case is receiving.
Meanwhile, news media organizations, including CNN, petitioned Recksiedler on Monday to reverse an order sealing court records in Zimmerman’s prosecution.
Prosecutors did not object when Zimmerman’s attorneys asked Recksiedler to seal records last week. The judge ordered the court filings and other records sealed “without giving the public and press an opportunity to oppose closure,” the media said in its motion.
Florida law requires a judge to consider whether the records closure is needed to “prevent a serious and imminent threat” to justice, the media members argued.