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article imageGeorge Zimmerman cites defamation in suit against NBC Universal

By Brandi Fleeks     Dec 7, 2012 in Crime
Seminole - Accused murderer George Zimmerman, is suing NBCUniversal Media for defamation of character during its coverage of the Trayvon Martin Case.
George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, has filed a defamation of character lawsuit against NBC Universal.
Zimmerman, is accusing NBC of “yellow journalism” by editing the audio of his 911 call to make him sound racist during its coverage of the case.
Zimmerman’s legal team issued a press release Thursday, regarding the complaint.
The opening line of the 24-page complaint alleges:
“NBC News saw the death of Trayvon Martin not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to increase ratings, and so set about to create the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain.”
Reuters reported in April NBC conducted an investigation into the editing of the audio. The investigation concluded the editing was done in error by three members of the staff. Two of those members were subsequently fired and the third was relieved of her position for an unrelated edit.
The 911 audio in question took place on Feb. 26, moments before Zimmerman shot the unarmed Martin.
The complaint continues, listing of excerpts of the edited audio. The first from March 19 reads:
"Zimmerman: There is a real suspicious guy. Ah, this guy looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something. He looks black."
Dispatcher: Are you following him?
Zimmerman: Yeah.
Dispatcher: Ok we don't need you to do that."
The next excerpt, states that on March 20, the audio that air was edited to say:
"Zimmerman: This guy looks like he's up to no good or on drugs or something. He's got his hand in his waistband. And he's a black male.
Dispatcher: Are you following him?
Zimmerman: Yeah.
Dispatcher: Okay, we don't need you to do that."
The final excerpt in the complaint says the unedited audio should have said:
"Zimmerman: This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK and this guy - is he white, black or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black."
NBCUniversal Media released a statement saying "We strongly disagree with the accusations made in the complaint. There was no intent to portray Mr. Zimmerman unfairly. We intend to vigorously defend our position in court."
Zimmerman will stand trial for second degree murder in June 2013.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and damages of a value that require the Circuit Court to hear the case. The suit is filed in Seminole County, Fla.
More about George Zimmerman, Universal Media, Zimmerman lawsuit, Trayvon Martin
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