Zimmerman Gets April Court Date for Self-Defense Hearing

Friday, 26 Oct 2012 11:29 PM

By Todd Beamon

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A tentative date has been set for next April to allow George Zimmerman’s legal team to argue that second-degree murder charges should be dropped stemming from the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson in Florida said she would decide on Monday whether to grant a prosecution request for a gag order in the case.

Prosecutors want the order imposed because it believes Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, has been using a website, as well as social and news media, to influence potential jurors.

The Friday hearing was televised.

Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second-degree murder. He has admitted to shooting the unarmed Martin on Feb. 26 while he was volunteering on neighborhood watch in Sanford, Fla.

He has said he acted in self-defense.

Prosecutors contend that Zimmerman profiled Martin, 17, because he was African American.

Florida law allows Zimmerman to make his self-defense argument at a hearing, citing the state’s “stand your ground” law.

Nelson ruled that the hearing would be held 45 days before the scheduled start of the trial, which is tentatively set for June 10. The judge is also to determine whether Zimmerman should stand trial.

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