(Jason Howerton) A former employee of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey’s office will file a whistleblower lawsuit against the prosecutors in the George Zimmerman murder trial, Reuters reports. Zimmerman was recently acquitted of all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Ben Kruidbos, Corey’s former director of information technology, was fired after testifying at a June 6 pre-trial hearing that prosecutors failed to turn over potentially embarrassing evidence from Martin’s cell phone to the defense. Prosecutors are required to disclose such evidence to the defense under evidence-sharing laws.
“We will be filing a whistleblower action in (Florida’s Fourth Judicial District) Circuit Court,” Wesley White, Kruidbos’ attorney, told Reuters. He said the lawsuit will be filed within the next 30 days.
The action will put pressure on Corey, who already faces criticism from some legal experts for the unsuccessful prosecution of the case, which led to the acquittal of Zimmerman for shooting unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman’s defense has also called for sanctions against her and her prosecution team.
Corey and lead prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Corey referred Reuters to Kruidbos’ termination letter, previously made public, in which Corey’s office accused him of hacking confidential information from state computers.
The six-page letter, dated July 11, charges Kruidbos with “deliberate, willful and unscrupulous actions” that make him untrustworthy and calls his questioning of de la Rionda’s actions regarding the cell phone evidence “a shallow, but obvious, attempt to cloak yourself in the protection of the whistleblower law.”
Corey told Reuters on Monday that her office “adhered to the highest standards of ethical behavior.”
“Trial law requires prosecutors to share evidence with defense attorneys, especially if it helps exonerate defendants. The requirement is known as the Brady disclosure,” the report adds.
Judge Debra Nelson has not ruled whether the Zimmerman prosecution committed any Brady violations by not handing over the evidence from Martin’s cellphone.