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Wednesday
Jun122013

Trayvon Martin Case: Did Potential Zimmerman Juror Lie to Court?

Joe Burbank - Pool/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- A potential juror at the George Zimmerman trial who told the court he had little knowledge of the case apparently indicated otherwise on Facebook.

“I CAN tell you THIS. ‘Justice’…IS Coming,” the juror appeared to write of the Zimmerman case on the Facebook page for the “Coffee Party Progressives,” a page with which he was confronted in Judge Debra Nelson’s courtroom.

The potential juror, assigned the number E7, who described himself as an “underemployed” musician and painter, told the court that he did not have a lot of knowledge about the case when it first happened.

In February 2012, Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla., shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin after a scuffle in the dark. Zimmerman has said he shot the African-American teen, who he said had been acting “suspiciously,” in self-defense.

The shooting triggered a national debate about race, as well as protests, marches, and even high school walkouts.

Sixteen months later, Zimmerman faces a charge of second-degree murder.

Susan Constantine, a jury consultant, told ABC News, “This is a very high-profile trial, so who wouldn’t want to sit on it? It’s one reason we get people who would love to be in the position of being that one juror in the middle of all the limelight they never had before.”

When the assistant state attorney, Bernie De La Rionda, first questioned potential juror E7 Wednesday morning, he asked whether the prospective juror was exposed to the case in February 2012 or whether he kept up with it. E7 answered, “No.”

The potential juror was then asked what else he knew about the Zimmerman case beyond what was listed on his questionnaire.

“Hmm. To be strictly honest, it’s hard to remember,” the potential juror said.

He was asked whether he used Facebook or posted anything about the Trayvon Martin shooting.

“No. Best to avoid, at times,” E7 said, adding he had not formed an opinion on the case.

Moments later, both counsels approached the bench and had a discussion over a piece of paper. Potential juror E7 came back into the courtroom and was handed a piece of paper by Judge Nelson.

“There was a posting on Facebook from March 21 under Coffee Party Progressives,” Nelson said. “Is that your writing?”

The prospective juror confirmed it was his posting and left.

An ABC News search of the Facebook page revealed that a person resembling E7 wrote on March 21, 2012, the same date as on the court record, an inflammatory comment in response to a posting about the case touting the site www.justicefortrayvonmartin.com. Besides vowing that justice was coming, the Facebook comment apparently by the prospective juror alleged a conspiracy involving Zimmerman and local police.

“With the noise WE made…it couldn’t be covered up,” the commenter said. “I only hope the Feds go farther than just THIS case in investigating This ‘Police Force.’…”

That comment subsequently vanished from the Facebook thread.

A spokeswoman for the Seminole County Court, Michelle Kennedy, told ABC News that four jurors were dismissed Wednesday. It was not clear if E7 was one of them.

With jury selection underway in the small community of Sanford, Fla., all but one of the potential jurors questioned in court expressed their willingness to be on the jury. One potential juror even said Wednesday she was “happy” when she got the summons.

By the end of day three, 25 potential jurors had been questioned in court.

Six jurors will be returning Thursday to be questioned.

Twenty jurors are in the potential pool. Ten more are needed before the court will begin regular voire dire. A total of 75 jurors have been dismissed.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio