Day: June 1, 2012

Judge revokes Zimmerman’s bond in Trayvon Martin killing; gives him 48 hours to surrender

MSNBC

A Florida judge Friday revoked the bail for George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, saying he had misled the court about his finances, and ordered him to present himself to the court within 48 hours.

Prosecutors alleged that Zimmerman, 28, misled the court regarding his finances when $150,000 bail was granted April 20 and accused him of holding a second U.S. passport that he did not surrender to the court. Zimmerman is facing second-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Martin, 17, in February.

The state attached a copy of the application for that passport to its motion. The state claims in its motion that Zimmerman obtained the second passport after filing a claim that his original passport had been lost or stolen.

Gary W. Green / Pool via AFP – Getty Images file

George Zimmerman is seen entering the courtroom at an April hearing.

Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, conceded there was a second passport, saying, “It’s not devious or inappropriate” to have a second passport if first one is lost or stolen.  He said the second passport has never been stamped.

He said Zimmerman filed for a second passport after thinking he had lost his first one; Zimmerman later discovered he had not lost the first one. O’Mara said it’s his fault court did not have the second passport earlier.

The revocation motion was filed as a hearing opened on the confidentiality of evidence in the case, including Zimmerman’s statement to police.

Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda asked that the names of witnesses be sealed.

He told Judge Kenneth Lester that the case is being tried in the public court as opposed to the court of law, partially due to social media — including Twitter and other technologies that he added he has “never heard of.”

See more msnbc.com coverage of the Trayvon Martin case

He called the topic an area where “state and defense will agree.”

A consortium of more than a dozen media groups is asking the judge not to seal some records in the case. Prosecutors and Zimmerman’s attorney fear witnesses will be harassed if their names are publicized.

The media groups say those aren’t good enough reasons to keep what is usually a public record from being released.

Zimmerman is accused of killing Martin as he walked through a gated residential community in Sanford, Fla., near Orlando, on Feb. 26.

James O’Keefe Scams Voter Fraud and Voter ID Laws Into Existence

The Nation

I told myself I wasn’t going to write about James O’Keefe, mostly because his sophomoric pranks are mostly for the net effect of making his pockets fat. He has his hands out, and I’m not trying to help him get paid. I no more want to discuss voting by reference of O’Keefe than I want to write about Middle East affairs by reference of Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator.

But his influence on voting rights opponents and legislators alike is particularly jarring. When you hear activists and state senators say we need voter ID laws because of voter fraud, instead of citing data, or even anecdotes, lately they’ve been citing O’Keefe. When I was in Houston at the True the Vote conference I was hardly surprised when the audience erupted in applause as O’Keefe took the podium. You would’ve thought Tim Tebow entered the room. And sure enough, he presented one of his “Project Veritas” videos of himself telling unsuspecting poll workers in Minnesota that he wanted to register “Timothy Tebow” to vote before given a stack of voter registration applications.

See? There is how fraud happens, O’Keefe told the crowd. What was surprising was that no one dared to speak up that no fraud had actually happened. What was O’Keefe’s point in showing this? Yes, it’s true. Someone can fill out a registration card with a fictitious name and address. It’s also true that election officials will verify that the person on the registration card exists, and toss those that don’t. Before that happens, if the person or party handling the registration cards finds something fishy—a dubious name or sketchy address—they’ll often report it to election officials themselves if they don’t discard it, as what ACORN did, contrary to popular opinion. But no crime has been committed, and photo voter ID laws wouldn’t prevent such registration problems anyway.

But O’Keefe isn’t looking for veritas or accuracy—he just needs the perception that something fishy is going on so that he can direct you to his page and have you contribute to his fairy tale fund. That’s how hustles work. Right now, on his website he invites people to fork over the dollars because “Our work in North Carolina as draining on our staff and funds—but we produced jaw-droppiong [sic] results once again!”

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