|George Zimmerman takes the stand during his bond hearing for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, April 20, 2012. (AFP PHOTO/POOL/Gary W. Green)
MIAMI, FLA. - The Florida man charged with second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin asked for a new judge in the case on Friday, accusing the judge currently assigned to the case of bias.
Lawyers for George Zimmerman filed a motion requesting that Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester withdraw from the trial.
In the filing, Zimmerman alleged that Lester had made “gratuitous” and “disparaging remarks” about him during a July 5 bond hearing and offered “a personal opinion” in the case.
“In doing so, the Court has created a reasonable fear in Mr. Zimmerman that this Court is biased against him and because of this prejudice he cannot receive a fair and impartial trial or hearing by this Court,” the motion said.
It is the second time Zimmerman and his legal team have requested a new judge.
In April, they asked the judge presiding at the time to step aside because of a possible conflict of interest after revelations that the judge’s husband had been contacted by Zimmerman’s family as part of their search for a defense attorney.
The request was granted and Lester was appointed at that time to serve as judge in the case.
Last week, Zimmerman was released from a Florida jail on a $1 million bail. He claims self-defense in the Feb. 26 shooting death of 17-year-old Martin in a gated community in the central Florida city of Sanford.
Martin’s killing drew national attention because police initially declined to arrest Zimmerman, citing Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law and his assertion that he used deadly force because he feared his life was in danger.