Zimmerman trial judge refuses to step down


SANFORD, FL- JUNE 29: Judge Kenneth Lester presides over George Zimmerman's bond hearing in Seminole County courtroom on June 29, 2012 in Sanford, Judge Lester denied a defense request for him to stand down over allegations Zimmerman would not receive a fair trial.


Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel Pool

The judge in the George Zimmerman trail called a motion filed by the defense to get him to step down "legally insufficient" and said he would remain on the case, NBC News reported. 

NBC is reporting that Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester ruled that "the defendant's verified motion to disqualify judge is hereby denied as legally insufficient." 

Defense lawyers for Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch caption accused of killing 17-year old Trayvon Martin, asked for a new judge last month. His lawyers argued that Lester was biased against their client and would not give him a fair trial.

Lester revoked Zimmerman's bail for failing to disclose more than $150,000 in donations from the public among his assets, reports ABC News.

In his order, the judge said Zimmerman had "flouted the system" and implied that he may be preparing to flee the country by not disclosing a second passport in his posession. 

In the July recusal request, Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, wrote that the court was not giving his client a fair trial and accused it of making "gratuitous, disparaging remarks about Mr. Zimmerman's character," Orlando TV station WPLG reported.

O'Mara also claimed that the court had created a "reasonable fear" that Zimmerman "cannot receive a fair and impartial trial or hearing."

"I would expect, after 35 years, I have not seen one occasion where this motion to recuse has been filed, denied, and the defense not filed an appeal and not request the proceedings be stayed," WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer told the Central Florida TV station. "If they're stayed, this could further delay the Zimmerman case," he said. 

WFTV is reporting that O'Mara said the defense team are working on an appropriate response to the judge's order and are expected to send an appeal to the Fifth District Court of Appeals.