Zimmerman To Sue NBC Over Edited Audio

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 4 2012 2:13 PM

Zimmerman To Sue NBC Over Edited Audio

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George Zimmerman leaves Seminole County Jail after posting $1-million bond July 6, 2012 in Sanford, Fla.

Photograph by Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images.

Remember when NBC aired an edited version of George Zimmerman's 911 call that left him sounding like a racist vigilante? Zimmerman clearly does.

The neighborhood watch volunteer, who has been charged with second-degree murder for killing Trayvon Martin earlier this year, reportedly plans to sue the network, along with the president of its news division and one of the reporters who covered the story. To be fair, NBC wasn’t pleased with the heavily-edited audio either, but its editorial mea culpa doesn't appear to have been enough to appease Zimmerman and his legal team.

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Here’s the New York Post with the scoop:

We hear Zimmerman’s attorneys are about to file a complaint against NBC and its top executives, naming news president Steve Capus and correspondent Ron Allen, who was the reporter on the scene for the broadcast on “Today” on March 27. He also remained the reporter for the story on “NBC Nightly News.”
A source tells us, “The suit will be filed imminently against NBC and its news executives. The network’s legal department has put everybody in the news department involved with this incident on notice, telling them not to comment.”

The audio in question was played on the Today show back in April, and in it, Zimmerman tells a 911 operator that Martin "looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black." As it turned out, however, an overeager NBC employee had apparently fiddled with the recording, and the finished product left the call sounding much more damning in the court of public opinion that it should have. In reality, Zimmerman can be heard on the unedited version of the tape saying: "This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about." He only commented on Martin’s race when specifically asked by the operator.

The Post also says that NBC "reportedly interviewed more than half a dozen staffers during its internal investigation, and at least three employees were let go."

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate Video blogger.