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Judge: Zimmerman Witnesses Must Testify Publicly

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George Zimmerman watches during his hearing at the Seminole County Courthouse on Oct. 19, 2012 in Sanford, Fla. (credit: Stephen M. Dowell-Pool/Getty Images)

George Zimmerman watches during his hearing at the Seminole County Courthouse on Oct. 19, 2012 in Sanford, Fla. (credit: Stephen M. Dowell-Pool/Getty Images)

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SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge on Thursday denied a defense request to let a handful of witnesses testify confidentiality during George Zimmerman’s trial for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara asked that the witnesses be allowed to testify out of the public eye because of concerns for their safety about testifying at the trial, which starts next week. He said their testimony could impact the jury’s decision.

Prosecutors and attorneys for media groups objected to the request.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, claiming self-defense. A delay in Zimmerman’s arrest led to protests nationwide. Martin was black. Zimmerman’s father is white, and his mother is Hispanic.

The trial is expected to last more than a month.

The judge also considered a request from defense attorneys to sanction prosecutors for what they describe as withholding evidence. Zimmerman’s attorneys claimed that prosecutors withheld deleted photos and text messages that came from Martin’s cell phone. An attorney for a technology worker in the State Attorney’s Office testified that he first brought the evidence to the attention of Zimmerman’s attorneys after he was contacted by the technology worker.

“I think the reason I’m here is to determine whether there was misconduct,” said Wesley White, the attorney for the technology worker.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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