World Bulletin/News Desk
The Florida man charged with second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin asked for a new judge in his case on Friday, accusing the current judge of bias.
Lawyers for George Zimmerman filed a motion requesting that Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester withdraw from the trial.
Zimmerman 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.
Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, was released from jail on $150,000 bail in April. But Lester later revoked hi s bail a fter prosecutors accused Zimmerman and his wife of misleading the court about their finances to secure a lower bond.
During the original bond hearing, Zimmerman sat silently as his wife, Shellie, told the court the couple had no money.
But investigators later learned the couple failed to disclose $135,000 they raised from a website created by Zimmerman to collect funds from anonymous donors for his legal defense and his wife was later charged with perjury.
Earlier this month, Lester set Zimmerman's bail at $1 million and issued a scathing decision rejecting arguments by Zimmerman's lawyer that he posed no risk to the community and his portrayal of the case against Zimmerman as weak.
"Under any definition, the defendant has flouted the system," Lester wrote at the time. 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.
O'Mara referred to Lester's words in the motion. "The Court chose language ... to describe the d e fendant 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 or d er 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.
It is the second time Zimmerman and his legal team have requested a new judge.
In April, they asked the judge presiding at the time to step aside because of a possible conflict of interest after revelations that the judge's husband had been contacted by Zimmerman's family as part of their search for a defense attorney.
The request was granted and Lester was appointed to serve as the judge in the case.
Zimmerman claims self-defense in the Feb. 26 shooting death of 17-year-old Martin in a gated community in the central Florida city of Sanford.
Martin's killing drew national attention because police initially declined to arrest Zimmerman, citing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law and his assertion that he used deadly force because he feared his life was in danger.
In a another development on Friday, Lester ordered the release of recorded telephone calls made by Zimmerman while he was in jail, denying a motion by his lawyer.
UN agency says civilians in South Sudan keep flocking to Ethiopia as fight between government forces, rebels continues
Around 1,000 migrants, refugees to be moved to 18 sites across Ile-de-France region
Victim's name will not be released until family is informed, says Turkey's embassy in Madrid
For his part, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told RTL radio that "the number of those who have been seriously injured may perhaps be even higher at around 17."
New York Police Department officials said the force would hold a press conference but declined to provide scheduling details.
Death toll feared to rise due to severe conditions of the many injured
The pickup truck, which had an improvised white wooden trailer constructed over the back, was transporting them in "overcrowded and unsanitary conditions," said a state police report seen by AFP.
At least 13 people were killed and more than 50 injured when a driver deliberately slammed his vehicle into crowds on Barcelona's most popular street -- Las Ramblas -- in what police qualified as a "terror attack."
The van attack that mowed down pedestrians on Barcelona's most famous street on Thursday killing at least 13 people was the latest fatal assault on a European city.
The agreement to open the market potentially worth $10 million a year came after US Vice President Mike Pence met this week with Argentina's president Mauricio Macri.
'The beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed,' Trump says
"On the side of those who combat racism and xenophobia. Our common fight, yesterday and today. #Charlottesville," he wrote on Twitter.
Senior al-Shabaab militant responsible for multiple bombings killed in operation, says information minister
"The public is learning (even more so) how dishonest the Fake News is. They totally misrepresent what I say about hate, bigotry etc. Shame!," the US president wrote on Twitter.
A Red Cross official told AFP meanwhile that smaller mudslides had occurred since Monday in eastern Freetown and in Sierra Leone's second city of Bo, with the rainy season far from over.
Part of a mountain engulfed "a fisherman's camp after heavy rains caused a landslide" the deputy governor of Ituri province, Pacifique Keta, told AFP.