Crime

George Zimmerman’s attorney: Trayvon’s social media posts fair game

George Zimmerman’s defense attorney says he will not comment on a Myspace page that portrays his client in a “less-than-favorable” light, because the racially charged social media postings could come up at his murder trial.

But he hinted that if Zimmerman’s postings will be scrutinized in court, Trayvon Martin’s would be too.

The Miami Herald reported that Zimmerman had a Myspace social media account where he wrote insulting remarks about Mexicans. He referred to an ex-girlfriend as a “hoe,” talked about beating a felony rap and complained that every Mexican he ran into pulled a knife on him. One line suggested that friends went to jail rather than snitch on him.

“Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into!” Zimmerman wrote.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said Zimmerman’s account had been hacked and abandoned — but acknowledged that the posts cited by The Herald were written by his client.

A crucial element in Zimmerman’s criminal case is whether he racially profiled Trayvon Martin when he followed him Feb. 26, got into a fight with him and then shot him. Zimmerman denies profiling Trayvon and claims he shot him to save his own life.

Trayvon’s family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, told The Herald the Myspace posting was disturbing because it demonstrates Zimmerman’s “pattern of profiling.”

“It’s one thing to think something like that, but to type it?” Crump said. “You really gotta be racist. You really have to have ill will and malice.”

In a statement posted on his website Wednesday, O’Mara published one of Crump’s Miami Herald quotes, and noted: “We believe that inviting public scrutiny of the contents of this social media account invites scrutiny of the social media accounts of all parties involved. While these social media accounts may be public, we will not comment on them publicly, as they may be part of the evidence produced at trial.”

O’Mara seemed to be suggesting that Trayvon’s social media accounts would be brought up at trial as well.

“I always assume they are going to attack the victim,” Crump said when told of O’Mara’s statement Wednesday. “What part of what I said wasn’t true? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the behavior pattern. Zimmerman is on trial for murder: His credibility is at issue, his mentality is at issue.”

In March, conservative bloggers discovered Trayvon had had a Twitter account, where he appeared much older and wore gold covers on his teeth. He often retweeted crude jokes riddled with foul language and posted offensive lyrics to popular rap songs.

His email was hacked by white supremacists, although most of the material found there was related to plans for college. Several other widely circulated photos showing Trayvon looking like a thug were proven to be fakes. Other sites posted screen grabs of detrimental material about him, but it was never made clear whether those were legitimate.

The social media accounts were considered damaging to Trayvon’s family, because they gave the appearance that his parents had deliberately distributed photos where he was considerably younger and innocent-looking.

Crump wondered whether O’Mara’s unwillingness to discuss Zimmerman’s social media account means he is backing off the digital social network strategy the defense attorney launched last week that included Twitter, a Facebook page and a blog.

O’Mara said he began his foray into social media in part to respond to the avalanche of emails and phone calls that were overwhelming his office. He also said it would be irresponsible to ignore the robust debate taking place online about his client.

Within an hour of posting his statement on Zimmerman’s Myspace account on Facebook, 20 people had replied.

“People don’t want Trayvon’s past looked into, but it’s OK to do it to Zimmerman?” wrote Dave Brown. “Hypocrite.”

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