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Judge Denies Gag Order in George Zimmerman Case

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson said one wasn't needed to ensure a fair trial for Zimmerman

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    George Zimmerman attends a hearing in Sanford on Friday, Oct. 19.

    A Florida judge is denying prosecutors' request for a gag order in the trial of a neighborhood watch leader charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

    Circuit Judge Debra Nelson said in an order Monday that there was no need for a gag order at this time to ensure a fair trial for George Zimmerman.

    The 29-year-old Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting last February of Martin, of Miami Gardens.

    Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and claims the shooting was self-defense under the state's "Stand Your Ground" law. Zimmerman and Martin got into an altercation inside a gated community in Sanford, Florida.

    Prosecutors had asked for the gag order, claiming a website and social media used by Zimmerman's attorney could influence potential jurors in the case.

    The trial is scheduled to begin June 10, 2013. In a separate order Monday, Nelson said that final witness lists, including any expected expert witnesses, should be exchanged by March 27.

    Any self-defense immunity or Stand Your Ground motion should be filed and heard by April 26, and any other pretrial motions should be filed and heard by May 10, which is 31 days before the trial, Nelson wrote.

    The next hearing in the case is Dec. 11 at 9 a.m.

    Complete Trayvon Martin Shooting Coverage