State files motion over Zimmerman attorney's 'celebration cones'
Updated On: Jul 03 2013 06:59:04 AM EDT
The state on Tuesday filed a motion for inquiry after a photo showing George Zimmerman attorney Don West and his daughters eating ice cream cones with the caption, "We beat stupidity celebration cones" was apparently posted on Instagram the same day Rachel Jeantel testified in court.
The testimony of Jeantel, considered as the state's star witness, concluded on June 27--the same day the photo was apparently posted on West's daughter's Instagram account, according to the motion.
The photo shows West posing for a picture with ice cream cones with his daughter, who posted the picture on her Instagram account "including references of to the 'stupidity' of the witness and in this murder trial, 'dad killed it,'" according to the state's motion. The caption to the photo reads "We beat stupidity celebration cones #zimmerman #defense #dadkilledit."
The state claims it was taken and posted after Jeantel finished testifying last Thursday, but the defense spokesman said it was definitely taken Tuesday, before Jeantel was called. A comparison of West's tie in the photo and in court on Tuesday also appears to support Tuesday being the day it was taken.
"The defense counsel's spokespersons have admitted that the posting was certainly 'insensitive' ... and co-counsel further admitted that he was "not ... proud" about the posting of the photograph and caption but intended to simply 'move on,'" the state wrote in its motion.
The state is asking for the judge to ensure witnesses and court proceedings are "treated with respect and not as occasions for inappropriate jokes." The motion also seeks the judge to conduct an inquiry into the matter, if Judge Debra S. Nelson deems it appropriate.
West responded to the motion on Tuesday, saying a judge should inquire of state why it state the ice cream cone was a response to Jeantel when it was taken prior.
"Without conducting an adequate investigation to verify its allegation or even having the decency to contact undersigned counsel to inquire if what it was about to file in the public record was accurate, the state filed its motion for protective order/motion on inquiry," West wrote in the response.
West said the metadata of the picture establishes the picture was taken at 6:38 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25, 2013--the day before Jeantel testified-- in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant.
"The tie I am wearing in the photo matches the tie I wore in court that day," West said, calling the picture a "private family moment."
West said he never authorized the release of the photo and didn't approve of any caption associated with it. In the motion, he says he became aware of it on June 28 in the late afternoon.
"I authorized the release of basic facts surrounding the photo to the media and apologized for my daughter's immature and insensitive behavior and confirmed I did not approve of what happened," West said, adding that he stops for ice cream after court on the way home, calling it his "guilty pleasure."
It's not clear how West's daughter's private posting was accessed, but it came to light after it was posted to Twitter.
"Now as a of its irresponsible filing, this matter will again be featured in the public arena and will rekindle the animosity that has resulted in the threats of violence we received over the weekend--there have been a number of vicious threats posted online directed towards my family and I have personally received emails threatening rape and other violence," West wrote in the motion.
West closed his motion by saying he concurs "in the state's request for inquiry. The Court should conduct an inquiry of the state."
Jeantel testified that she was on the phone with Trayvon Martin during the altercation between Zimmerman and Martin, moments before he was shot.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in Martin’s death and is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.