A hearing was held this evening, concluding just before 10 p.m.,  on the attempt of the defense to introduce expert testimony as to text messages regarding fighting found on Trayvon Martin’s cell phone. The judge previously had ruled that such social media evidence could not be mentioned in jury selection or opening statements.

A large group of texts and photos were released in late May, but only some of them are at issue now.

The judge expressed concern (full embed below) about admissibility on ground of authentication, that the defense could prove that the texts were to and from Trayvon’s phone, but could not prove that Trayvon was using the phone at the time. “I don’t have any identifying marks that these text messages” were sent by or from Martin. “Another person may know that password.”

The hearing was highly contentious, with defense lawyer Don West vigorously asserting that failure to allow the evidence would violate Zimmerman’s constitutional rights, and blaming the prosecution for withholding evidence until early June as to the texts.  West argued that it was unfair to hold the defense to strict authentication standards given the prosecution’s tactics.

The fireworks started about mid-way through this clip:

Mark O’Mara complained that given how late it was the defense could not have the rest of it’s case lined up for the morning, and West said at the end of the clip as the judge was walking out that he’s physically unable to keep up this pace.

The texts in question were early in February 2012, just a week or so prior to the shooting at issue in the case.

One of the texts in question spoke about punching someone in the nose and making them bleed.

As well as communicating with his half brother regarding fighting.

The testimony of Richard Connor showed a heavy flow of texts about fighting

The texts were kept in double password protected folders.

The defense did not seek to introduce a photo of a gun found on the fun, stating that they had not yet connected it to the evidence introduced so far.

But the defense does want to introduce a photo on the phone showing Martin’s physique. Although the photo was not shown on camera at the hearing, I believe this is the photo:

Trayvon Martin cell phone photo of himself


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