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Trayvon Martin case’s mystery man: George Zimmerman’s cop connection

New evidence shows that George Zimmerman, the defendant in the Trayvon Martin murder case, counts a law enforcement officer – a federal agent – as a close adviser.

George Zimmerman and attorney Don West appear before Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester, Jr. during a bond hearing at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Fla., June 29.

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/AP

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It’s been perhaps the biggest mystery of the Trayvon Martin murder case saga: George Zimmerman’s cop connections.

An aspiring police officer, Mr. Zimmerman has been accused by prosecutors of play-acting as a police officer the night he pursued, shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. after pegging him as a suspicious young black man roving the neighborhood. The case turned national when police initially chose to believe the neighborhood watchman’s self-defense claims, leaving a special state prosecutor to instead level murder charges 44 days later.

But questions about whether Zimmerman had actual connections with police or justice system higher-ups that may have influenced the early decision to not charge him were piqued this week with the release of new evidence in the closely-watched case, including an observation by one detective that Zimmerman’s take on the shooting seemed “scripted.”

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Documents from the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement suggest indirectly that Zimmerman’s closest adviser in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting has been a federal agent – a US air marshal and former Seminole County sheriff’s deputy identified by the Miami Herald as a man named Mark Osterman.


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