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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Judge For Zimmerman Case Steps Down

She cited a conflict of interest due to her husband's work relationship with potential defense attorney.

George Zimmerman is charged with 2-nd degree murder for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin (Photo courtesy AP).
George Zimmerman is charged with 2-nd degree murder for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin (Photo courtesy AP).

The judge who was presiding over the Trayvon Martin case removed herself Wednesday due to a conflict in interest.

The attorney for defendant George Zimmerman argued Monday that Florida Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler’s husband’s work relationship with Orlando attorney Mark Nejame, who was initially approached to represent Zimmerman, hindered her objective judgment of the case.

"The cumulative effect of the events and the totality of the circumstances provides a legally sufficient basis for the court to grant the motion to disqualify," a statement from the court said.

Nejame declined to represent Zimmerman, and directed his family to Mark O’Mara, who is now representing the defendant. Nejame has since been hired as a commentator on the case by CNN.

John D. Galuzzo, the next judge in court rotation also cited a conflict of interest due to his personal and business relationship with O’Mara.

Judge Kenneth M. Lester Jr. will now preside over the case, according to a news release from the court.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for the February 26 shooting of 17-year-old Martin. Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense because the teenager was attacking him, Martin was unarmed.

Zimmerman is scheduled to return to court Friday for a bail hearing.

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