George Zimmerman Mulling Defamation Lawsuit Against NBC

Alleged Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman may file a lawsuit against the NBC television network for doctoring the audio of the 911 tape that was widely broadcast.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain, has been charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting Martin after confronting the teenager as he walked back to the house where he was staying in a gated community outside of Orlando, Florida. Zimmerman has entered a plea of not guilty on self-defense grounds.

The Orlando Sentinel outlines the basis for Zimmerman’s potential lawsuit against NBC for defamation:

“The audio, which aired March 27 on the Today show and in a report by an NBC-owned affiliate days earlier, made it sound as if Zimmerman volunteered to police that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was black in the call he made before the Feb. 26 shooting.”

” … NBC since apologized, and three employees were let go, according to reports.”

Zimmerman’s criminal defense attorney today referred to the editing as “outrageous” and blamed NBC in part for forcing his client into hiding. Zimmerman is apparently in contact with civil lawyer about filing the defamation claim. NBC said it had no comment. The Page Six section of the New York Post claims that “the suit will be filed imminently against NBC and its news executives.”

According to FindLaw.com, “To win a defamation lawsuit against NBC Zimmerman must show that the edited tape was what caused the public outrage that has put his life in danger.”

Moreover, if Zimmerman is considered what the law calls a “public figure” (i.e., roughly equivalent to a celebrity), he would have a difficult time recovering damages in civil court if it ever gets that far.

FNC’s Megyn Kelly discussed the potential Zimmerman defamation case with a panel of legal experts in the following video. The clip contains both versions of the 911 phone call conversation in question: