Florida Judge Debra Nelson put an end to George Zimmerman’s libel suit against NBC Universal, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Nelson issued a summary judgment in the network’s favor, meaning that unless an appeals court reverses her, the case is dead. Zimmerman accused NBC of falsely portraying him as a racist in a series of broadcasts shortly after he killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old.
Editors shortened audio from a 911 call Zimmerman made to a police dispatcher the night of the shooting, making it sound as if Zimmerman volunteered that Trayvon was black and that he racially profiled the teenager. The edited clips aired four times in 2012. In addition, Zimmerman accused the news organization of defaming him in a separate broadcast by falsely reporting that he used a racial epithet in the same call. The network fired two employees who were involved in the edits and made a public apology. The judge said, “There exists absolutely no clear and convincing evidence that defendants knew that the information published was false at the time it was published, or recklessly disregarded the truth or falsity of those statements.”