The Orlando Sentinel, Published July 11 2012
George Zimmerman evidence, including FBI interviews, to be released Thursday
Nearly a dozen FBI agents interviewed several Sanford, Fla., police officers, including the case's lead investigator, Chris Serino. They also talked to Zimmerman's former girlfriend, who accused him in court paperwork of being violent; neighbor Frank Taffee; several unidentified civilian witnesses and several gun shop employees, including those who worked at the store where Zimmerman bought the gun he used to shoot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Summaries or copies of those interviews will be in the new evidence, but there'll be no official finding by the FBI or the agency overseeing the federal investigation, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The DOJ began its probe after protesters held rallies around the country and national civil rights leaders — including the national president of the NAACP, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Al Sharpton and several members of Congress — accused Sanford police of doing a shoddy, racially biased investigation and refusing to arrest Zimmerman.
Zimmerman says he shot Martin Feb. 26 in self-defense after a confrontation on a sidewalk in Zimmerman's neighborhood. A special prosecutor in the case says the Neighborhood Watch volunteer saw a black teenager in a hoodie, assumed he was about to commit a crime, followed him, then murdered him.
Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on April 11.
Corey's office released this new batch of evidence — its second — to defense attorney Mark O'Mara last month and a list of what it includes to everyone else.
There are no obvious blockbusters, but there are several things that could be revealing. Among them are:
- E-mails from Zimmerman and Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee.
- Cellphone records from Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin.
- The testimony of 21 new unidentified “civilian” witnesses — those not working for a government agency.
- What Central Florida gun shop owners had to say about Zimmerman's comments and behavior while buying the gun that killed Martin, taking target practice and getting training for his concealed weapons permit.
- What Zimmerman told police dispatchers and officers the six times he called Sanford and Seminole County, Fla., authorities, presumably reporting problems as a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, in the six months before Martin's shooting.
- The account of a private investigator hired by the Martin family.
- Crime scene photos, diagrams and dispatch records.
- Seminole County jail records.
- What state alcohol agents have to say about Zimmerman. The agency arrested him in 2005 for resisting arrest without violence during a raid at a bar near the University of Central Florida.