Zimmerman defense can depose key witness but not Crump

Zimmerman defense can depose key witness but not Crump

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SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Defense attorneys for George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch leader accused of fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, have been granted a request to obtain a deposition from a witness who says she was on the phone with the teenager before he was killed.

Zimmerman's lead attorney, Mark O'Mara, presented a motion to the judge on Friday asking to question the woman known as Witness 8.  Described as a friend of Trayvon, 17, she originally recounted the conversation she had with him to attorney Benjamin Crump in a recorded phone interview. Crump is representing Trayvon's parents.

O'Mara also wanted a deposition from Crump regarding that interview, but Judge Debra Nelson denied that request.

"Nothing they presented indicates they need to get this information from him, when they can get it from people with direct knowledge," argued Crump's attorney, Bruce Blackwell.

Blackwell said the justice system has to protect an attorney's right to gather information from clients and witnesses, and Crump's opinions will not be part of the trial.

"Opinion is not evidence.  Opinion is not relevant. Opinion is not material," he said.  "What is material in this case is Witness number 8 and what she says."

Crump has previously submitted an affidavit, citing a formal deposition could jeopardize attorney-client privilege.

Judge Nelson is looking ahead to Zimmerman's June trial.  She has said that she wants 100 potential jurors lined up each day during jury selection, to make sure they can easily seat a jury.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

 

Information taken from the Associated Press with contributions from FOX 35's Keith Landry.

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