Jessica Recksiedler, the circuit court judge originally assigned to the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, has recused herself following a request by Zimmerman’s lawyer. Florida Circuit Court Judge Ken Lester Jr. has been named to preside over the case in her place.
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As the Orlando Sentinel reports, attorney Mark O’Mara requested that Recksiedler step down citing a potential conflict of interests: her husband’s law partner, Mark NeJame, has been hired to give commentary on the case for CNN. NeJame was also originally approached by Zimmerman’s family for legal counsel, although he declined.
Lester, who has sat on the Florida bench for 15 years, is expected to preside over Zimmerman’s bond hearing on Friday. The 28-year-old has pleaded not guilty and O’Mara has said he hopes to get his client out of jail while he plans his legal strategy.
Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder last week in Feb. 26 shooting death of the unarmed black teenager in a case fraught with racial tension. He told police that he fired his weapon in self defense and had initially not faced charges until Special Prosecutor Angela Corey was assigned amid massive media attention and public protests.