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Trayvon Martin Case: Zimmerman Asks For New Judge After Conflict Revealed

04/16/12 05:44 PM ET AP

George Zimmerman Comparution

SANFORD, Florida -- The neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing an unarmed black teenager in Florida asked a judge in the case to step down Monday after she revealed a potential conflict of interest.

George Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, filed the request and said Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler revealed the potential conflict last week.

Zimmerman was charged last week with second-degree murder in Trayvon Martin's Feb. 26 death. The lack of an arrest in the shooting inspired weeks of protests nationwide.

Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, saying it was self-defense.

Recksiedler's potential conflict involves her husband, who works with attorney Mark NeJame. Zimmerman's family first approached NeJame about representing Zimmerman. He declined and referred them to O'Mara.

Also Monday, Florida's governor rejected any suggestions that charges were filed in the case because of public pressure. Rick Scott said he doesn't believe special prosecutor Angela Corey is influenced by anything but the facts.

News organizations in Florida, including The Associated Press, are challenging the sealing of records related to the case against Zimmerman.

O'Mara asked for the records to be sealed last week.

Records such as full police reports, autopsy reports and transcripts of witness interviews are normally public under Florida law. Zimmerman's case doesn't meet the standards that are typically used to create an exemption, according to the motion filed by the news organizations.

Those standards allow the sealing of records if their public release would create an imminent threat to the administration of justice, if there are no alternatives for protecting a defendant's right to a fair trial and if closing the records protects the rights of the person being tried.

A spokeswoman for Corey said her office was reviewing the media motion but had no immediate comment. O'Mara didn't immediately return an email seeking comment on Monday.

Hearings for the requests by O'Mara and the news organizations have not immediately been scheduled. If a new judge is assigned to the case, Zimmerman's bail hearing – originally scheduled for Friday – could be pushed back.

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  • Trayvon Martin

    This family photo taken at age 12 was one of the first images used when Trayvon Martin's death made national news.

  • Trayvon Martin

    This image of Trayvon was submitted to news outlets by the Martin family.

  • Trayvon Martin

    The Martin family also shared this photo of Trayvon in a Pop Warner football jersey. According to <a href="" target="_hplink">BET,</a> Trayvon had a passion for football basketball, baseball and horseback riding.

  • Trayvon Martin

    This image of a young Trayvon Martin was also submitted by the Martin family and widely used in the media. As the story gained national attention, there was a push to find updated photos that accurately depicted the teen at the time of the killing.

  • Trayvon Martin

    This photo of Trayvon in a hooded sweatshirt became <a href="" target="_hplink">a signature image</a> used in rallies across the nation. The hooded sweatshirt became a political symbol for Trayvon supporters who wanted to show solidarity. The Miami Heat <a href="" target="_hplink">tweeted a photo of the team donning hooded sweatshirts</a> in support of the Martin family, and <a href="" target="_hplink">Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) was thrown off the House floor</a> for wearing a hooded sweatshirt in the teen's honor.

  • Trayvon Martin

    This photo was posted by <a href="" target="_hplink">the Daily Caller</a> via Trayvon Martin's Twitter profile. Conservative bloggers used this photo and a series of the 17-year-old's tweets to build <a href="">a smear campaign</a> against the teen. A much-circulated <a href="" target="_hplink">photo</a> of a grimacing teen with his middle finger extended -- that many right-leaning sites suggested was the Trayvon Martin the "mainstream media" did not want the public to see -- was circulated on the white supremacist site <a href="" target="_hplink"></a>, in an attempt to portray Martin as a hoodlum.

  • Trayvon Martin

    This photo has been widely used in an attempt to more accurately depict an older Trayvon Martin.

  • George Zimmerman

    This photo of George Zimmerman at 28 was <a href="" target="_hplink">obtained by the Orlando Sentinel</a> after one of Zimmerman's co-workers spoke to the newspaper and submitted the image. The unnamed co-worker told the newspaper that Zimmerman was an employee at the Maitland office of Digital Risk, LLC, a mortgage risk-management firm.

  • George Zimmerman

    Taken in 2005 at age 22, this is Zimmerman's mug shot from Orange County (Fla.) Jail. <a href="" target="_hplink">He was arrested and charged</a> with resisting a police officer with violence and battery to a law enforcement officer.

  • George Zimmerman

    This screenshot, of <a href="" target="_hplink">a video obtained by ABC News</a>, shows Zimmerman at the Sanford Police Department the night of the fatal confrontation. In the video, Zimmerman shows minimal signs of scars and bruises, seemingly inconsistent with <a href="">his account</a> of his violent struggle with Trayvon Martin. ABC News later released an <a href="" target="_hplink">enhanced video</a> showing signs of injury on Zimmerman's head.


Filed by Danielle Cadet  |