Attempts blocked to discredit Trayvon Martin

The presiding judge has ruled data from the teen's phone showing him smoking, talking about guns isn't admissible

By Natasha Lennard

Published May 28, 2013 9:11PM (EDT)

A character assassination of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, shot dead last year, seemed to undergird accused killer George Zimmerman's defense strategy. As noted here earlier this month, Zimmerman's attorneys had hoped to use as evidence at trial data recovered from Martin's phone -- including photos and text messages -- which indicated the teen smoked weed, engaged in fights and had an interest in handguns.

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled that the data was not admissible as evidence in opening statements, aligning with prosecution arguments that Martin's history is irrelevant to the case -- the business of which is to determine whether Zimmerman's claim of shooting in self-defense stands up. Via ABC News:

Zimmerman's lawyer argued that Martin's marijuana use and history of fighting was central to proving that Zimmerman acted in self-defense.

"We have a lot of evidence that marijuana use had something to do with the event," Zimmerman's lawyer Mark O'Mara said. "It could have affected his behavior."

Nelson said that evidence would not be permitted in opening statements, but left open the possibility it could eventually be submitted during the trial.


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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