Monday , April 30, 2012 - 1:47 PM
ORLANDO, Fla. -- George Zimmerman's defense attorney has established a new website, Facebook and Twitter accounts to provide details about the high-profile, controversial case.
On gzlegalcase.com, attorney Mark O'Mara acknowledges that it is "unusual for a legal defense to maintain a social media presence on behalf of a defendant, but we also acknowledge that this is a very unusual case."
Zimmerman is charged with killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at a Sanford, Fla., neighborhood Feb. 26. Zimmerman claims the shooting was in self-defense.
On the website, the Orlando veteran attorney said he contends social media cannot be ignored.
"It is now a critical part of presidential politics, it has been part of revolutions in the Middle East, and it is going to be an unavoidable part of high-profile legal cases, just as traditional media has been and continues to be," the website said. "We feel it would be irresponsible to ignore the robust online conversation, and we feel equally as strong about establishing a professional, responsible, and ethical approach to new media."
The site said the defense is working to identify and eliminate fraudulent websites and social media profiles that pretend to represent Zimmerman.
O'Mara will not comment on facts surrounding the case. "Part of our presence online is to discourage public speculation about the facts of the case," the site said.
The defense used the site to discuss how it plans to proceed with requesting case documents in the case from state prosecutors, known as the discovery process.
"We are concerned about the release of witness information to the general public, solely due to safety concerns. There has been a lot of animosity and emotions caused by incomplete and premature disclosure of information. Because those emotions still run so high, we want to do everything we can to protect the sanctity of the process and the safety of the witnesses. No good purpose will be served by a media frenzy directed at witnesses," the site said.
"We are delaying demanding the discovery until we can file motions to protect these witnesses. Once that is in place, discovery will flow to us, then the media and the public has access to it, under our rules."
(c)2012 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)
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