The lawyers for George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing Trayvon Martin, will subpoena the Twitter and Facebook records of the slain teenager.
Zimmerman’s lawyers are also seeking Martin’s high school records from Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho in an effort to find out more clues as to what happened the night the 17-year-old was killed.
“Defense lawyers argue that if the defendant's social media sites and school records were reviewed by prosecutors, it's only fair game for Trayvon to undergo the same scrutiny,” reported the Bradenton Herald. “The move underscores a shift in the defense strategy, in what the slain teen's family lawyer calls a ‘witch hunt’ and ‘character assassination.’”
Martin was fatally shot by Zimmerman while returning home from a convenience store on the night of Feb. 26. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, and his lawyers claim that Martin was acting suspicious and attacked him, forcing Zimmerman to shoot the teenager in self-defense. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder and is currently out on bail.
Miami-Dade Schools spokesman John Schuster said the district will likely comply with the subpoena which asks for “disciplinary records, suspension notices, class schedules, attendance and tardiness records, FCAT and SAT test scores, report cards, as well as any information about whether Trayvon belonged to any clubs or sports activities,” The Star-Telegram reported.
It is unclear if Martin’s Facebook account has been deleted. If it has, Facebook will not be able to access the information on it. Otherwise, the company “adheres to applicable laws” which allows it to turn over user information when a search warrant is produced, a Facebook spokesman told the Star-Telegram.
According to Twitter’s official guidelines, the company does not turn over user data unless it is “lawfully required by appropriate legal process such as a subpoena, court order, or other valid legal process.” This guideline has come under much scrutiny after the company refused to honor subpoenas from the New York County District Attorney’s asking for tweets from an Occupy Wall Street protester.
Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump claims the subpoenas are unnecessary.
"All this stuff is a witch hunt to assassinate his character," Crump told the Herald. "It's absolutely irrelevant and a shame that they are doing this to a dead kid."