In their latest effort to ensure George Zimmerman gets a fair trial, his lawyers have asked that the jury remain anonymous and kept isolated during the trial, citing the large amount of media coverage the case has gotten since Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year.
Several major developments are expected Friday, as attorneys on both sides are up against a big deadline, with just one month to go before the George Zimmerman trial begins.
The defense's motion for an anonymous jury was the second of two requests Zimmerman's lawyers filed Thursday. They also want jurors to be able to go to the scene of the shooting, at the Retreat of Twin Lakes subdivision in Sanford, and see the area where Zimmerman said he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.
O'Mara said the field trip would allow jurors to determine the reliability of witnesses.
The 16-page motion for an anonymous jury was accompanied by 13 exhibits, which the defense said was a sample of the "enormous national and international focus on this case."
The exhibits included news articles about the case and the global reaction it received, particularly from notable activists like the Rev. Jesse Jackson and actor Jamie Foxx, who has worn T-shirts containing Trayvon Martin's photo to various award shows.
Also included was a letter requesting an investigation by the Justice Department into the shooting from Florida U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett.
One exhibit was an anonymous, angry letter sent to Zimmerman's legal defense fund, threatening to give Zimmerman "the same thing he gave Trayvon."
What is an anonymous jury?
According to Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, one extreme form of jury secrecy is keeping the identities of jurors totally secret. Anonymous juries are a recent, and increasingly popular, phenomenon.
The policy was intended to prevent electronic access to juror identities during trial and does not prevent post-trial access to the identities, which are available in the jury management database maintained by each federal district court.
Last day for court filings
Friday is the deadline for lawyers on both sides to file any final pretrial motions before jury selection begins, so expect to see a slew of new, last-minute court filings.
Early Friday morning, the defense released three new filings related to their appeal of Judge Debra Nelson's refusal to allow them to question Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump about his deposition of the young woman known as "Witness 8," who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin moments before the shooting.
Whatever else the defense -- and the state -- has to file Friday could reveal a lot about how both sides are building their cases for trial.
The state has also filed a motion asking the court to force George Zimmerman's wife, Shellie, to answer their questions before trial. So far, she has pleaded the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer prosecutors' questions.
Shellie Zimmerman was charged with perjury, accused of lying about how much money the couple had at her husband's first bond hearing. That led to George Zimmerman being rearrested and given a higher bond amount. He was released from jail again in July after posting a $1 million bond.
It’s possible some of last-minute motions will not be publicly released until Monday.