Nick R. Martin

Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at nick@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Nick

Several news outlets filed a motion on Monday morning to get Florida court records unsealed in the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

Judge Jessica Recksiedler sealed the case on Thursday after Zimmerman's attorney asked for the records to be shielded from the intense public scrutiny that has taken place since the Feb. 26 killing in Sanford, Fla.

The Miami Herald reported that prosecutors agreed with the defense attorney's request so the judge went ahead with it.

The Herald, the Tampa Bay Times, the New York Times, NBC and CNN all joined in the motion to unseal the records.

If the fact that she brought a second-degree murder charge against George Zimmerman earlier this week didn't make it clear enough, a Florida special prosecutor released a document late Thursday that makes plain she doesn't buy his story about the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

An affidavit made public by special prosecutor Angela Corey said her investigators determined Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., was the one who pursued and confronted Martin.

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A high-ranking civil rights official on Friday called for the US Commission on Civil Rights to launch an investigation into "Stand Your Ground" laws like the one at the center of the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida.

Commissioner Michael Yaki said he would ask the commission to vote for an investigation at a meeting in May.

"The Trayvon Martin case has raised serious and disturbing questions over whether these statutes allow an unacceptable component of racial bias into our justice system," Yaki said in a statement.

Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was returning to his father's girlfriend's home in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26 when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic man who was acting as a neighborhood watchman.

After the shooting, Zimmerman said he was acting in self defense and police declined to arrest him, citing Florida's Stand Your Ground law.

"Allegations that shooters like George Zimmerman may have 'profiled' their victims based on their race and that stand your ground laws improperly protect race-motivated killings needs review," the statement said.

The man accused of second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin may ask the judge overseeing his case to remove herself because of a possible conflict of interest.

George Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said during a court hearing on Friday that he was considering asking the judge, Jessica Recksiedler, to leave the case because one of her husband's law partners is a legal analyst for CNN. The analyist is Orlando attorney Mark NeJame.

Additionally, O'Mara said his client tried to hire a lawyer from the husband's law firm before his arrest, creating another possible conflict.

According to USA Today's Yamiche Alcindor, who was in the courtroom, O'Mara said he would make he decision about whether to formally request Recksiedler's removal on Monday.

A Rasmussen poll released Friday found that a large number of Americans surveyed are still undecided on whether George Zimmerman should be found guilty of murder in the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

The survey said 46 percent those surveyed were still not sure. Meanwhile, 30 percent said he should be found guilty and another 24 percent said he acted in self defense.

The telephone survey of 1,000 US adults was conducted Wednesday and Thursday.

Prosecutors announced late Wednesday that Zimmerman was being charged in the Feb. 26 killing.

George Zimmerman plans to ask a judge to set him free on bail next week, his attorney told the Associated Press late Thursday.

Zimmerman, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, has been held without bail since Wednesday.

But his attorney, Mark O'Mara, told the AP he would be asking for bail, probably on April 20.

An Arizona lawmaker accused of a string of violent and unethical behavior resigned from the state House on Wednesday before his fellow lawmakers could throw him out of office.

State Rep. Daniel Patterson of Tucson quit just hours after an ethics panel recommended he be removed from his seat and only a short time before the full House was scheduled to vote to do so.

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One of the key details to emerge in recent weeks in the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was whether his killer, George Zimmerman, used a racial slur before the confrontation.

On Thursday, however, a document filed by Angela Corey, the special prosecutor in the case, made it clear that she does not believe a slur was used, according to CNN.

On a 911 recording, Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, could be heard uttering something under his breath as he called police to report a "suspicious person" in his neighborhood. Martin was black. Many listeners have said they believe Zimmerman said "fucking coons," but the audio isn't clear enough to be definitive.

A CNN reporter who read a copy of the affidavit on air, however, said it made clear that the prosecutor believes Zimmerman used the term "punks" at at that moment.

Zimmerman was charged on Wednesday with second-degree murder in the killing of Martin. He has said the killing was an act of self defense.

George Zimmerman, the Florida man accused of killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, made his first appearance Thursday afternoon in a Seminole County, Fla., courtroom.

Dressed in blue jail jumpsuit, Zimmerman acknowledged he had an attorney but said nothing else. The appearance came a day after he was charged with second-degree murder in the killing.

The judge set his arraignment for May 29. That's when he's expected to plead not guilty to the charge.

Watch Zimmerman's court appearance below:


The grieving mother of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin said on Thursday morning she thinks the killing of her son was an accident.

Appearing on NBC's Today Show the morning after a special prosecutor announced that her son's killer, George Zimmerman, would face a second-degree murder charge, Sabrina Fulton revealed her theory about what happened on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla.

"I believe it was an accident," Fulton said. “I believe that it just got out of control and he couldn’t turn the clock back. I would ask him, did he know that that was a minor, that that was a teenager, and that he did not have a weapon?"

The comments came after the prosecutor, Angela Corey, filed the toughest charge she could have without using a grand jury. The second-degree murder charge implies Corey believes the killing, while not premeditated, was no accident and that Zimmerman acted dangerously without regard to human life.

Zimmerman is scheduled to make his first court appearance at 1:30 p.m. ET today.