With George Zimmerman’s trial finally at a close, his lawyers are now pursuing a lawsuit filed last year against NBC News for defamation after the “Today” show depicted Zimmerman as a racial profiler.
“We’re going to start in earnest asap,” said Zimmerman’s attorney James Beasley. “We just have to get the stay lifted which is a ministerial act.”
Beasley said it was time to hold anyone who was irresponsible in his or her journalism accountable.
During the broadcast, NBC took fragments of a long quote from the infamous 911 call and combined them to create an unrealistic profile of Zimmerman. While the audience heard Zimmerman say that Trayvon Martin looked threatening because he was black, the real quote suggested otherwise.
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something,” Zimmerman said. “It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”
When the 911 operator asked if Martin was black, white or Hispanic, Zimmerman replied with “He looks black.”
NBC has since fired an anchor and one producer responsible for the mistake, though the company’s gesture seemed not to satisfy Zimmerman and his lawyers.
In its defense, NBC pointed out that it was not alone in targeting Zimmerman as a racial profiler, and that a guilty verdict would be a result of Zimmerman’s own crime rather than a suggestion made by media outlets.
Professor at USC’s Gould School of Law Jody Armour said that although it is possible that Zimmerman’s claim against the network will have merit, he must first prove actual malice if he wishes to win the case.