Eric Holder: Zimmerman Civil Rights Case Faces 'Very High Barrier'

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 10:36 PM

By Amy Woods

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George Zimmerman, acquitted of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012, may still face federal civil-rights charges, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday at a news conference.

Holder said an investigation is under way by the Justice Department to weigh the evidence against Zimmerman, The Hill reports.

The vigilante and neighborhood watchman who shot and killed Martin in a gated community in Sanford, Fl., was acquitted by a jury in July of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

The case sparked national interest, and the verdict prompted personal words of empathy from President Barack Obama, who said after the verdict, "You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago."

Of the federal civil-rights investigation, Holder said: "I'm not sure exactly how much longer that will take, but we will get to a point where we are able to make a determination."

While he pledged in April to "take appropriate action" in the event the department finds a basis for the case, he said there is a "very high barrier" that must be overcome, leading an Orlando television station to report that charges are unlikely.

Holder said most of the evidence in the case already was revealed during the trial.

"The case of George Zimmerman — and what happens there — I think a substantial part was resolved in the case that was tried," he said.

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