The Fifth District Court of Appeal granted George Zimmerman a new judge, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
A three-judge panel concluded Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester, Jr. abused his power in his proceedings over Zimmerman.
“Although many of the allegations in Zimmerman’s motion [for a new judge], standing alone, do not meet the legal sufficiency test, and while this is admittedly a close call, upon careful review we find that the allegations, taken together, meet the threshold test of legal sufficiency,” the appeal court wrote in its opinion.
The three-judge panel were reportedly concerned with Lester calling a Zimmerman a “manipulator” and threatening to hold the former neighborhood watchman in contempt of court, according to the Sentinel.
Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara protested for a new judge because he didn’t believe his client would receive a fair trial under Lester. O’Mara was unhappy with a July 5 bond ruling that saw Zimmerman’s bond skyrocket to $1 million.
When setting the bond amount, Lester accused Zimmerman of showing “blatant disregard for the judicial system” and “manipulating the system for his own benefit.”
Zimmerman is a charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. He is currently free on a $1 million bail.
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