George Zimmerman, the man accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, is considering a defamation lawsuit against NBC for selectively editing a police phone call to make him "appear he is a racist".
Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday that NBC's edited version of his client's 911 call was "outrageous."
"NBC intentionally edited George Zimmerman’s non-emergency call to make it appear he is a racist, then they repeatedly broadcast that edited tape to the nation," O'Mara said.
"Due in large part to NBC's actions, George has had to live in hiding, in fear for his life."
The audio was aired on the "Today" show on March 27th and also on an NBC-owned affiliate, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
Zimmerman called police to report a suspicious person on the night he shot Trayvon Martin.
NBC was heavily criticized for editing the call, which aired on NBC as follows:
Zimmerman: "This guy looks like he's up to no good ... He looks black."
However, the original recording ran:
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."
Commentators said the edit had made Zimmerman sound racist.
According to Fox News, three employees of NBC or the NBC-owned station lost their jobs because of the editing changes.
In April, NBC News said it "deeply regrets" airing the edited version.
"We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers," the network said at the time.
A source told the New York Post to expect Zimmerman to file a suit against the network "imminently".
“The suit will be filed imminently against NBC and its news executives," the source said.
"The network’s legal department has put everybody in the news department involved with this incident on notice, telling them not to comment.”