George Zimmerman witness list tops 200 as settlement dispute continues

Orlando SentinelApril 21, 2013 

SANFORD -- Attorneys for George Zimmerman have filed their final witness list, and it's grown to 210 people.

The just-revised list now includes 71 employees of the Sanford Police Department -- half of its total payroll -- and 50 new unidentified witnesses, most believed to be character witnesses.

Many of the witnesses -- 81 -- are identified by number or letter and not by name, so it's not clear who they are or what they are expected to say.

The new list, as did the earlier one, includes Trayvon's mother, father and stepbrother, attorney Benjamin Crump, ousted Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr., Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr., and retired State Attorney Norm Wolfinger.

It also includes Zim-merman's mother and father.

Zimmerman, 29, is the former Neighborhood Watch volunteer who's charged with second-degree murder for shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, in Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012.

Zimmerman says he acted in self-defense. His trial is scheduled for June 10 in Sanford.

Lawyers seldom call to the witness stand all the people on their witness lists. Attorneys are scheduled to be back in court April 30 to argue over a series of issues.

One is whether Zimmerman is entitled to a copy of a $1 million-plus settlement agreement between Trayvon's parents and Zimmerman's homeowners' association, the organization through which he set up a Neighborhood Watch.

On Thursday, defense attorney Mark O'Mara fired a new salvo in that dispute, filing paperwork in which he described the legal argument of Trayvon's family's attorney Benjamin Crump as "outrageously inflammatory."

Crump wrote last week that "the parents of Trayvon Martin in no way wanted their son killed in order to pursue a civil settlement."

According to O'Mara, the issue isn't whether the parents' actions contributed to their son's death. It's whether the information they've spread has been biased and helped them secure a substantial financial gain.

Zimmerman has a right to question them about possible bias, O'Mara wrote, and to know the truth about the settlement.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service