Judge Jessica Recksiedler recuses herself in Trayvon Martin shooting case for conflict of interest. (Source: CNN)
George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin Feb. 26. He has claimed self-defense. (Source: Seminole County Sheriff)
(RNN) - The judge overseeing the trial against a 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed an unarmed teenager in Sanford, FL, has recused herself after admitting her connection to a CNN legal analyst Friday.
Florida Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler filed paperwork Wednesday to excuse herself from the case, partially because of her ties to CNN legal analyst Mark NeJame.
On Friday, Recksiedler told the attorney for neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman that her husband, Jason Recksiedler, is partners with NeJame in a legal firm.
The Zimmerman family had initially contacted NeJame in hopes of securing him as a defense attorney for the neighborhood watch captain.
Attorney Mark O'Mara said he had concerns with NeJame having access to "exclusive" information because of his position with CNN.
On Monday, he filed a request to have Recksiedler taken off the case due to the potential conflict of interest.
Judge Kenneth R. Lester, Jr. will take over for Recksiedler.
Although the full order has not been made public, a press release from Florida's Eighteenth Judicial Circuit said Recksiedler turned in a 3-page order to dismiss herself, despite the fact that the individual reasons for the move were "legally insufficient" for disqualification.
"The culminate effect of the events and the totality of the circumstances provides a legally sufficient basis for this court to grant the motion to disqualify," she wrote.
Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on April 11 after he killed Trayvon Martin, 17, in a case that has galvanized the nation. He has claimed self-defense.
An affidavit filled with the court said Zimmerman shot Martin in his gated Sanford community while the boy was returning to his father's fiancee's house after stopping at a nearby 7-Eleven. Zimmerman called police to report a suspicious person and began following him, which the police dispatcher asked him not to do.
Calls to 911 made during the ensuing confrontation included calls for help in the background.
Zimmerman could face life in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
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