George Zimmerman is ready to go back to court.
After being acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman and his legal team are ready to pursue legal action against NBC News for airing an edited and out-of-context 911 call. The call was edited to make it seem that Zimmerman immediately identified the suspect as black.
This is the section in full:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
NBC News had already apologized for the call, also firing a reporter and producer responsible.
George Zimmerman had announced in December that he was planning to sue the network for defamation, but the legal proceedings were put on hold during his criminal trial.
“We’re going to start in earnest asap,” said Zimmerman attorney James Beasley.
NBC News could have ended legal proceedings of Zimmerman had been convicted. The network noted:
“[I]f Zimmerman is convicted, that fact alone will constitute substantial evidence that the destruction of his reputation is the result of his own criminal conduct, and not of the broadcasts at issue which, like countless other news reports disseminated by media entities throughout the country, reported on the underlying events.”
George Zimmerman could face further legal action himself as well. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called on the Justice Department to review the case, setting the stage for a possible civil rights violation charge or review of the Stand Your Ground law in Florida.
“I’ll accept the verdict and take a look at the law that they have in Florida that was so unusual… I think that’s up to the state, I think they should revisit that,” Reid said.
George Zimmerman is expected to renew his defamation lawsuit against NBC News as soon as the last legal stay is lifted.