A judge has ruled against George Zimmerman in his defamation suit against NBC.
Zimmerman, whose killing of Trayvon Martin set off a national debate about racism and stand-your-ground laws, had accused NBC of maliciously editing his 911 call to make him appear racist.
A Florida judge granted NBC’s motion for summary judgment against Zimmerman, saying he had not met the legal standard to prove malicious intent.
“NBC News is gratified by the court’s dismissal of this lawsuit, which we have always believed to be without merit,” the network said in a statement.
Zimmerman called 911 the night of Feb. 26, 2012 to report a man — who turned out to be the 17-year-old Martin — whom he believed was behaving suspiciously.
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good,” Zimmerman told the 911 operator. The operator asked about the man’s race, and Zimmerman responded, “he looks black.”
When NBC aired the call on March 27’s “Today” show, it edited the tape so it seemed Zimmerman had said without prompting, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black.”
NBC did not inform viewers that the call had been edited until several days later, saying, “There was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret. We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers.” At least two NBC staffers were fired as a result.