More than a dozen news media organizations are opposing a proposed gag order in Florida’s George Zimmerman prosecution that would silence all attorneys involved, says the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Prosecutors have asked Judge Debra Nelson to impose a gag order that would prevent attorneys from publicly commenting on the case. Nelson said she would address the request during a hearing tomorrow. The media organizations, which include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY, filed a motion to intervene on Tuesday.
The media argue that the prosecution is asking the court to violate their First Amendment right to gather news and information, and they cannot satisfy “the demanding standard governing the issuance of gag orders.” The defense has been using blogs, Facebook, and Twitter to post information about the case, and prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda alleged that if the defense continues speaking publicly about the case, it will be impossible to find impartial jurors. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the February shooting death of 17-year-old Martin. Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, claims he shot the teenager in self-defense, and the racially charged case has had national attention