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Zimmerman judge: No gag order

Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 9:55 a.m. CDT

ORLANDO, Fla. (MCT) — The judge in the George Zimmerman second-degree murder case has issued a written order, saying there’s no need for a gag order on defense attorney Mark O’Mara, but he also warned that one could be imposed if attorneys in the case say or write anything that’s prejudicial.

The two-page order, which was signed Monday, was made public Tuesday.

Seminole Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. announced at a hearing Friday that there was no need for a gag order. The written order makes official what he said from the bench.

Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda had asked for one, accusing O’Mara of talking about evidence with a reporter. O’Mara protested, saying he had made one inconsequential comment about a photo.

At the hearing, the judge praised attorneys for both sides for tamping down emotion in the case.

Zimmerman, 28 of Sanford, is charged with killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, as the Miami Gardens teen walked through Zimmerman’s gated community in Sanford Feb. 26.

Zimmerman was arrested six weeks later after a special prosecutor charged him with second-degree murder.

The judge’s order says nothing about a webpage, Facebook page or Twitter account created by O’Mara.

O’Mara created the sites and accounts, he wrote, because the case has garnered an extraordinary amount of attention via social media, and it would be foolish to ignore it. The newly created pages will not be used, he wrote, to discuss evidence.

It’s not clear, though, how successful he will be in managing the musings of readers and people who post comments to the sites. His office will take down disparaging and offensive remarks, he wrote.

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