Zimmerman Can Depose Attorney Hired by Trayvon Martin's family
Attorney's interview with last person to speak with Trayvon Martin is not protected by the work-product privilege. George Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder after he fatally shot Trayvon Martin. During interviews with police, Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin in self-defense. Benjamin Crump was retained by Martin's family to interview Witness 8, the person alleged to have been on the phone with Martin moments before his death. Two members of the media were present and portions of the interview were aired on national television the following day. The trial court denied Zimmerman's request to depose Crump because Crump was an "opposing counsel" and Zimmerman could high burden required for a deposition of an opponent's counsel. Furthermore, Crump could not be compelled to disclose any information regarding the interview because it was protected work product obtained by Crump in his capacity as an attorney for the Martin family preparing for possible future civil litigation against Zimmerman. But the fact that Crump represents the Martin family does not make him "opposing counsel." Crump acknowledged that he was not acting as a lawyer for the state or the defendant. The high burden only applies when trial or litigation attorneys are being deposed and when the questioning would expose their litigation strategy. Second, any testimony would not be covered by the work-product privilege because any privilege was waived when Crump conducted the interview with media representatives present.