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Defense: Trayvon Martin photos, texts show different side of teen

SANFORD, Fla., May 24 (UPI) — Pictures and texts from Trayvon Martin’s cellphone show a different side of the teenager a Florida man is accused of killing unprovoked, defense attorneys say.

Mark O’Mara, lead attorney for George Zimmerman, said he will try to use the material, including text messages about drug use and pictures of a gun and marijuana plants, if prosecutors try to impugn his client’s character during trial, scheduled to being in June, CNN reported Friday.

The material taken from the teenager’s cellphone was released Thursday by defense attorneys.

O’Mara filed several motions, including one seeking sanctions against prosecutors for withholding evidence and another asking that the trial be delayed.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of the 17-year-old in February 2012. Zimmerman said he was justified under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

Benjamin Crump, an attorney representing the victim’s family, said the evidence is “irrelevant” and predicted it wouldn’t be used at trial.

“Is the defense trying to prove Trayvon deserved to be killed by George Zimmerman because [of] the way he looked?” Crump said in a statement released Thursday.

“If so, this stereotypical and closed-minded thinking is the same mindset that caused George Zimmerman to get out of his car and pursue Trayvon, an unarmed kid who he didn’t know,” Crump said. “The pretrial release of these irrelevant red herrings is a desperate and pathetic attempt by the defense to pollute and sway the jury pool.”

The evidence packet had more than two dozen pictures, including one that shows Martin with gold teeth and two of him making an obscene gesture, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported. The packet also included text messages about fighting and smoking marijuana.

Prosecutors said the new evidence was irrelevant and should be barred from trial. The Sentinel said the issues may come up during a hearing Tuesday in Sanford, where the fatal shooting occurred.

Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda filed a third motion asking Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson to issue a gag order that would bar attorneys from discussing the case with reporters. Nelson is expected to consider the issue Tuesday.

The trial is scheduled to begin June 10.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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