George Zimmerman’s Defamation Suit Against NBC Will Proceed ‘ASAP’

Zimmerman's acquittal clears the way for case against NBC over edited 911 call

Last Updated: July 24, 2014 @ 11:58 AM

With George Zimmerman's acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin, his lawyer plans to move forward "ASAP" with a defamation suit against NBC for airing an edited 911 call that made it seem as though Zimmerman was fixated on Martin's race.

"We’re going to start in earnest asap," Zimmerman's lawyer, James Beasley, told the Washington Post.

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Zimmerman called 911 the night of Feb. 26, 2012 to report a man he believed was behaving suspiciously. "This guy looks like he's up to no good," Zimmerman told the 911 operator. The operator then asked for the race of the man, and Zimmerman responded, "he looks black."

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When NBC aired the call on March 27's "Today" show, it edited the tape to have Zimmerman saying, "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.

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Zimmerman sued NBC for defamation in December, but the case was stayed until after the outcome of his murder trial.

Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense.