Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin

Photos and texts from the dead teens phone released by George Zimmerman's attorneys show defense strategy

By Natasha Lennard

Published May 24, 2013 1:41PM (EDT)

Attorneys representing George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, have released data from the teen's phone in a move ostensibly underpinning their defense strategy -- namely to discredit Martin and bolster the narrative that he attacked Zimmerman first.

Text messages that show Martin admitting to smoking weed, describing previous fist fights and showing an interest in guns, prosecutors argue, are not admissible as evidence for whether Zimmerman shot the young man in self-defense or not. Via the Guardian:

The move appears to be at attempt to discredit the 17-year-old's character ahead of Zimmerman's trial for second-degree murder next month, at which the neighbourhood watch leader's defence team will claim Martin was the aggressor in their fatal confrontation in a Sanford gated community in February 2012.

Mark O'Mara, Zimmerman's lead attorney, still has to convince circuit court judge Debra S Nelson to allow the evidence to be shown to jurors, against the objections of prosecutors who insist the teenager's history is irrelevant to the case.

But the release of more than 20 pages of records from the phone, together with the photographs and several videos, are a clear indication of the defence strategy for the trial scheduled to begin on 10 June, with Zimmerman, 29, denying murder on the grounds of self-defence and facing at least 25 years in jail if he is convicted.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Florida George Zimmerman Murder Text Messages Trayvon Martin