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

Investigator Dale Gilbreath with the Florida prosecutor's office took the witness stand in the George Zimmerman bond hearing on Friday morning and said he came with no evidence or documents that would help back his testimony.

"I was not planning on testifying," he told Zimmerman's defense attorney Mark O'Mara, who called him to the witness stand.

George Zimmerman's mother said on Friday morning that her son had a history of defending others and standing up for justice before he killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

During Zimmerman's bond hearing in a Florida courtroom, his mother, Gladys Zimmerman, described an incident in which her son tried to help find the suspect who beat a homeless man in Sanford, Fla.

"In 2010, he saw — well, he didn't saw, but he found out that homeless person was being beaten by another man here in Sanford," Gladys Zimmerman said. "He went to churches. He put flyers on cars. He did everything possible so the city of Sanford will organize and go to the council and ask for justice for this homeless man who was beaten up."

She said that wasn't unusual for her son.

"That was George. That was my son," she said. "And there are probably tapes in the Sanford council when he went and organized a meeting so that person would have justice. He was recognized also by the mayor."

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George Zimmerman's father told a Florida judge on Friday morning that his son appeared to be badly injured the day after killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

"His face was swollen quite a bit," Robert Zimmerman Sr., said during his son's bond hearing. "He had a protective cover over his nose. His face was swollen and cut and he had gashes on the back of his head."

George Zimmerman told authorities he was acting in self-defense when he killed Martin.

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George Zimmerman's father told a Florida judge on Friday morning that he believes his son has never been violent "unless he was provoked." But even then, he said, his son avoids confrontations.

"I've never known him to be violent at all unless he was provoked and then he would turn the other cheek," Robert Zimmerman Sr. said during his son's bond hearing. George Zimmerman is asking to be released while awaiting trial for the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

Despite the father's claim, Florida prosecutors have continued to pepper him with questions about past incidents in which George Zimmerman has been accused of violence. In one instance, he was accused of accosting a law enforcement officer. In another, he was accused of being violent with a former fiance.

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George Zimmerman's wife told a Florida judge on Friday morning that she fears for her own safety, in part because she has received angry letters after her husband killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. Because of that fear, she was allowed to testify by phone during Zimmerman's bond hearing.

"I have received hate mail," Shellie Zimmerman said during the hearing.

Shellie Zimmerman said she did not report the letters to police or prosecutors but she saved copies of them.

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Testifying by telephone Friday morning in a Florida courtroom, the wife of George Zimmerman said she is a student and has no income to help pay his bond if the judge decides to allow her husband to be released while awaiting trial in the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

Shellie Zimmerman said she was working with the rest of her husband's family to try to pull together money for a possible bond.

"We have discussed that, trying to pull together members of the family to try to scrape up anything that we can," Shellie Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman's attorney is expected to use the testimony to ask for a low bond amount.

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A spokeswoman for Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday night struck back at critics who called for the US Justice Department to either charge the Arizona lawman with a crime or else clear his name.

Spokeswoman Lisa Allen said the four prominent Arizonans who sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder last week asking him to bring a swift end to the lengthy criminal investigation of the sheriff were little more than longtime critics trying to get some new attention.

"These former officials have joined the chorus of open border activists by being overtly displeased with the Sheriff’s stance on illegal immigration," Allen said in an email to TPM. "With little else in their crosshairs, they continue their years long tirade against Sheriff Arpaio by pleading with the federal government to pay more attention to their complaint."

The four Arizonans included former US Attorney Paul Charlton, a longtime GOP member who told TPM on Wednesday that he believed federal prosecutors have enough evidence to charge his fellow Republican with a crime.

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The way former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton sees it, federal prosecutors already have enough evidence to charge Sheriff Joe Arpaio with a crime. So, he said in an interview with TPM this week, it's time for the Justice Department to act.

"If this investigation began in 2008," Charlton said, "then it's time for these guys to make a decision."

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Family members of George Zimmerman, the man charged in the killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, will testify for him by phone during a bail hearing set for Friday in a Florida court, television station WKMG reported.

Zimmerman is expected to ask to be released from jail while he awaits trial on a second-degree murder charge in the Feb. 26 killing, which has drawn national scrutiny. A judge is scheduled to hear arguments on Friday.

WKMG reported that an emergency hearing was held Thursday to arrange for Zimmerman's family to testify by phone in the hearing.


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