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Prosecutors ask to seal statements Zimmerman made to law enforcement

By Jeff Weiner, The Orlando Sentinel –

ORLANDO, Fla. — Prosecutors want a judge to seal key evidence in the case against George Zimmerman from the public until trial, including the statements he made to law enforcement during the investigation of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s death.

Citing an exemption barring the release of confessions, the prosecution asks Judge Kenneth Lester in a new motion to seal Zimmerman’s statements, as well as photos that show the teen’s body.

Zimmerman admits shooting the teen but says he did so in self-defense as he was being pummeled on the ground. He has made at least five statements to law enforcement.

The records the state is asking to have sealed were left out of evidence released to the public last week. Statute allows information “revealing the substance of a confession” to be withheld.

Bernie de la Rionda, the lead prosecutor, argues in the motion that because Zimmerman’s statements “could be used against him at trial,” the records should not be public. According to de la Rionda, those statements “are contradictory, and are inconsistent with the physical evidence and statements of witnesses.”

The prosecutor also asked the state to seal the cellphone records of Zimmerman, Trayvon and a South Florida girl who says she was on the phone with Trayvon in the moments before his death Feb.26 in Sanford.

The state also asked the judge to seal witness names. Both the prosecution and the defense have argued for that.

The new motion was provided to Lester, the defense and attorneys for multiple media outlets Wednesday.

The motion likely forecasts a legal battle that may involve some of the largest media companies in the nation.

In his motion, de la Rionda says both the state and the defense “wish to be able to receive a fair trial and try this case in the courtroom and not in the media.”

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