Judge Tosses George Zimmerman’s Libel Suit Against NBC

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Florida judge on Monday threw out George Zimmerman’s libel case against NBC Universal, ending the former neighborhood vigilante’s pursuit of damages from the media company over an edited audio clip of a 911 call.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson ruled shortly before 9 a.m. ET that Zimmerman is not entitled to any money from NBC over the edited clips that aired four times in March of 2012 — a month after Zimmerman fatally shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

The audio of Zimmerman’s 911 call to dispatchers was shortened, making it sound as though he gratuitously mentioned that Martin was black. Zimmerman also alleged that NBC erroneously reported that he had uttered a racial epithet during the phone call.

But in her 15-page order, Nelson ruled that there is “no clear and convincing evidence that defendants knew that the information published was false at the time it was published, or recklessly disregarded the truth or falsity of those statements.”

She also noted that throughout the month in question, NBC repeatedly quoted Zimmerman’s family members who insisted that he is no racist.

Zimmerman hasn’t exactly maintained a low profile since his acquittal last summer. He sat down for an interview with CNN in February, saying that he was the actual “victim” in his deadly confrontation with Martin. He also contended that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder had made him into a “scapegoat.”

He also entertained the idea of participating in a “celebrity boxing match” with the rapper DMX before the bout was ultimately canceled and, in March, Zimmerman signed autographs at a Florida gun show.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK