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CNN photo: George Zimmerman’s great-grandfather was black

By Rene Stutzman, The Orlando Sentinel –

ORLANDO, Fla. — A photo aired by CNN shows a black-skinned man that Orlando attorney Mark NeJame says was George Zimmerman’s great-grandfather.

It appears to support what Zimmerman’s family has been saying for months: that Zimmerman has black-skinned relatives and was raised in a mixed race family.

His views on race are important because Zimmerman, 28, of Sanford, is awaiting trial in Sanford on a second-degree murder charge. He shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, Feb. 26 as the teen walked through a gated community.

Trayvon’s father, family lawyers and critics say Zimmerman is guilty of racial profiling and murder.

But Zimmerman told police he acted in self-defense, pulling the trigger of his 9mm handgun only after Trayvon confronted him, knocked him to the ground and began hammering his head onto a sidewalk.

National civil rights leaders traveled to Sanford in March, demanding Zimmerman’s arrest. They included Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the national president of the NAACP.

Zimmerman’s family members, though, have insisted for months that he is no racist.

NeJame appeared on CNN Thursday with an old photo. He told the 24-hour news channel that the photo originated from a member of Zimmerman’s family and was provided him by a friend.

The Orlando Sentinel could not independently verify its authenticity.

It shows a middle-age black man in a shirt and tie with a baby on his lap and young woman standing behind him.

The man is Zimmerman’s great-grandfather, NeJame told the network; the baby is Zimmerman’s mother; and the young woman is his grandmother.

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