The motion refers to the July 5 bond hearing, when Lester offered his view of whether Zimmerman had purposely misled the court in claiming he didn’t have the means to post bond in his case—but then was discovered to have $135,000 from funds that were sent by the public.
Zimmerman’s team alleged in the filing that Lester made “gratuitous” and “disparaging remarks” about him during a July 5 bond hearing and offered “a personal opinion” in the case.
“In doing so, the Court has created a reasonable fear in Mr. Zimmerman that this Court is biased against him and because of this prejudice he cannot receive a fair and impartial trial or hearing by this Court,” the motion said.
When Lester set Zimmerman’s bail at $1 million earlier this month, he wrote, “Under any definition, the defendant has flouted the system.” He said Zimmerman’s “stories changed with each retelling.”
Lester also said Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s attorney, attempted to portray Zimmerman as a confused young man who “experienced a moment of weakness” and may have acted out a sense of betrayal by the justice system.
“This court finds the opposite. The defendant has tried to manipulate the system when he has been presented the opportunity to do so,” Lester wrote.
In his motion, O’Mara referred back to Lester’s words. “The Court chose language … to describe the defendant in ways that reflect the Court’s opinion of Mr. Zimmerman’s character as much as his conduct,” he wrote.
“A reason why Mr. Zimmerman feels he cannot get a fair trial is that the Court spent a lot time and a lot of words crafting an order that was harsh and morally indignant in tone,” O’Mara continued.
Zimmerman was released from jail last week after posting bail and is currently living in an undisclosed safe house in Seminole County, Florida. He is accused of killing unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in a case that has become a national phenomenon.
Lester also denied the motion by Zimmerman’s team and ordered the release of recorded telephone calls made by Zimmerman while he was in jail.