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George Zimmerman sues NBC for defamation

The Florida man who shot and killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, says the network edited a phone call to make him appear racist

George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, is suing NBC for defamation, claiming that the network edited one of his phone calls to police “to create the myth” that he is racist.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, observed Martin walking through a gated community in Sanford, Fl. on the night of Feb. 26. Believing the 17-year-old’s behavior to be suspicious, Zimmerman followed him while on the phone with police. At some point after the call ended, a struggle ensued, and Zimmerman fatally shot Martin once in the chest at close range. The 28-year-old claims that he fired in self-defense after Martin attacked him.

While reporting on the case, NBC’s “Today” show aired an edited clip of Zimmerman’s call to police, in which it appears that Zimmerman told police, without prompting, that Martin was black. In reality, Zimmerman mentioned the teen’s race in response to a dispatcher’s question.

The network maintains that the editing was a mistake, but Zimmerman’s suit argues that it was an intentional ploy to boost ratings by portraying him as “a racist and predatory villain” who targeted Martin because he was black. Zimmerman, who is seeking undisclosed damages, will stand trial on second-degree murder charges in June.

Read more at Thomson Reuters.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of defamation lawsuits, see:

ABC News sued for defamation over “pink slime” reports

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“Girls Gone Wild” creator must pay $20 million to Steve Wynn

Whistleblower in Penn State sexual abuse scandal sues school

Greek bank sues Reuters for defamation

Former chief administrative judge Ann Pfau will be deposed in “Law & Order” defamation suit

Alanna Byrne

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