In a blow to prosecutors seeking to muzzle George Zimmerman’s defense attorney, a Florida judge refused to issue a gag order in the second-degree murder case, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Judge Debra Nelson wrote that she found no “overriding pattern of prejudicial commentary” and noted that a dozen media companies that had opposed the order were right when they argued that the state had failed to demonstrate prejudice.
The judge noted that she had several tools to make sure Zimmerman’s jury is impartial. She can move the trial to another county, have attorneys question potential jurors one at a time and away from other potential panel members and, once seated, she can give stern instructions about avoiding outside sources of information. The gag order request was an attempt by prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda to quiet defense attorney Mark O’Mara, who has been vocal in his defense of Zimmerman and innovative in communicating on his website, Twitter and, for a time, Facebook.