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George Zimmerman's defamation suit against NBC Universal dismissed

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The latest saga in George Zimmerman’s life appears to be over. The lawsuit that he filed against NBC Universal in 2012 has been dismissed on Monday by a Florida judge.

Weeks after Trayvon Martin’s death, Zimmerman alleged that NBC was portraying him as a racist in their reporting. In his suit, he was seeking damages for defamation against the media giant.

However, Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson found that Zimmerman is not entitled to any money from NBC. Now, unless an appeals court overturns her ruling, the case is closed. In Nelson’s ruling she writes that the court deemed Zimmerman a public figure and that actual malice would need to be proven; so far, it hasn’t been proved that NBC acted with malice.

However, NBC isn’t without fault. Zimmerman stated that NBC Universal had played edited clips of his phone call to 911 and that they had intentionally made it appear that Zimmerman had offered up the race of Trayvon Martin and that he had racially profiled him.

And they did do this. The original transcript show that instead of Zimmerman saying, “"This guy looks like he's up to no good ... He looks black." as NBC had spliced the clips, Zimmerman had actually been prompted to provide the race of the teen by the 911 operator. After the incident, it fired three producers and did offer a public apology. So while NBC did commit a pretty big journalistic sin, it’s being seen as an honest mistake that doesn’t allow Zimmerman to receive a payout.

The judge also dismissed that Zimmerman had suffered emotional damage due to the report. In a statement, NBC said it is “gratified by the court’s dismissal of this lawsuit, which we have always believed to be without merit.”

A New York Daily News article reports that Zimmerman currently has no income, so perhaps he was putting all his eggs in this lawsuit basket and was hoping for a little cashflow to come his way. No such luck.


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