George Zimmerman’s attorneys say the state wasted time and money in a squabble over videotaping depositions in his murder case, but prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda countered that claim Thursday, arguing he was protecting a witness from harassment.
In a recent motion, Zimmerman’s legal team asked Circuit Judge Debra Nelson for about $4,500 in financial sanctions, stemming from the deposition last month of a key state witness: The young woman commonly referred to as “Witness 8,” who was on the phone with 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in the moments before he was shot by Zimmerman Feb. 26.
The defense says prosecutors were told in advance that the deposition would be videotaped, but objected on the morning it was scheduled, March 13, leading to a costly, unnecessary five-plus-hour delay.
But in the state’s response, de la Rionda notes only one of the 56 depositions taken to that point had been videotaped. Despite written notice by the defense, the prosecutor says he didn’t realize until he arrived that Witness 8 was going to be taped.
De la Rionda objected: Witness 8, he argues, “was scared and didn’t want to be videotaped… The State felt the only reason for, all of a sudden, videotaping… was to intimidate and harass Witness 8” and Trayvon’s family members, who were set for deposition in the following days.