With all the disastrous news that’s coming out of the nation’s highest court today, it seems like a breath of fresh air to learn that a Florida judge tossed out acquitted killer George Zimmerman‘s libel suit against NBC Universal.
According to court documents, Florida Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson ruled that Zimmerman has no right to receive money from NBC. Nelson, who presided over Zimmerman’s murder trial last year, wrote in her summary judgment that:
Because Zimmerman is unable to demonstrate that the editing choices at issue resulted in a materially false change in the meaning of what he actually said, he cannot pursue his defamation claims.
Zimmerman’s claim was that NBC Universal sought to portray him as racist when they edited the phone calls he made to the police before shooting Trayvon Martin. He contended that the edited audio, which aired on NBC’s Today morning show in March of 2012 among other shows, made it look like he told the police Martin was black without being asked. The full audio revealed Zimmerman said Martin was black as a response to a question asked by the dispatcher.
The network apologized to its viewers and fired at least two NBC News employees as a result.
However, Nelson said that since Zimmerman was a public figure at the time, he would have to prove the broadcasters acted with malice. The acquitted killer had been seeking an undisclosed amount of money in damages, but the ruling seems like it’s going to put the kibosh on his lawsuit unless an appeal overturns it.
The network released a statement after the ruling saying that “NBC News is gratified by the court’s dismissal of this lawsuit, which we have always believed to be without merit.” Zimmerman’s attorney could not be reached for comment. Perhaps he was out signing autographs with Zimmerman.