George Zimmerman, currently facing trial on charges of second degree murder for the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, is reportedly planning to sue NBC for selectively editing an audio recording of his 911 call.
According to The New York Post‘s Page Six:
A source tells us, “The suit will be filed imminently against NBC and its news executives. The network’s legal department has put everybody in the news department involved with this incident on notice, telling them not to comment.”
The Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday that Zimmerman is “considering a defamation lawsuit.” His attorney, Mark O’Mara, issued a statement to the Florida newspaper saying that “Due in large part to NBC’s actions, George has had to live in hiding, in fear for his life.”
The Today show edit of the 911 call, which played on March 27th of this year, eventually led to the firing of employees, a correction and a public apology for the editing. NBC News also issued a correction for a online article that “initially truncated a transcription of George Zimmerman’s conversation with a police dispatcher.”
In late March, when the blog Newsbusters noted that the tape was edited, Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple compared the difference between the 911 transcript and the morning show’s version. As Wemple noted, the Today show version of Zimmerman’s words:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
After the difference was widely reported, NBC launched an investigation into the editing and admitted an “error in the production process that we deeply regret.” The New York Post noted that “at least three employees” were let go from the network after the investigation reached its conclusion.