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Girlfriend of Trayvon Martin caught in lie

| Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 9:27 p.m.

SANFORD, Fla. — Trayvon Martin's girlfriend, the state's most important witness in the George Zimmerman murder case, was caught in a lie on Tuesday.

It was not the first piece of misinformation tied to her, but it was the most damaging to date and left prosecutors in a very awkward position.

They had to publicly acknowledge that their star witness had lied under oath and had to answer questions about what they intend to do about it.

Reporters asked: Will you charge the 19-year-old Miami woman with perjury?

The state's lead prosecutor, Bernie de la Rionda, gave an ambiguous answer: “You can all read the law and make your own decision.”

The woman had told prosecutors she was in the hospital on the day of Martin's funeral.

“In fact, she lied,” defense attorney Don West said.

The disclosure was one of two major developments Tuesday at what had been expected to be a dull hearing about the exchange of case evidence.

The other: Zimmerman's lawyers will not hold a “stand your ground” hearing in April, one that could clear him of criminal wrongdoing before his trial.

Defense attorney Mark O'Mara made that announcement in court, later saying he had not yet decided whether to scrap it entirely or roll it into Zimmerman's second-degree-murder trial set for June 10.

“Our real focus is getting ready for the trial,” O'Mara said.

What Zimmerman most wants is to be tried by a jury of his peers, O'Mara said, and with fewer than 100 days until trial, “There's only time for one hearing, and that's a jury trial. ... We have precious little time.”

Zimmerman was not at Tuesday's hearing. Neither was his wife, Shellie, who's awaiting trial on a perjury charge, accused of lying at her husband's April 20 bond hearing. That's what prompted the perjury question to de la Rionda.

If defense lawyers decide to forgo George Zimmerman's immunity hearing, they would be cutting in half their number of opportunities to spare him from a life in prison.

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