Published November 20, 2012
The lead detective in the Trayvon Martin murder case has hired Jose Baez, the criminal defense lawyer who defended Casey Anthony in the 2011 high-profile case, according to the Miami Herald.
Chris Serino, a former Sanford police major-crimes investigator, hired Baez even though he isn't facing criminal charges, a spokesman for Baez said in a letter to the Herald.
Serino became embroiled in controversy after he filed an arrest affidavit for Martin's accused shooter, George Zimmerman, a few weeks after the death of the unarmed teenager without the permission of his chief, who had publicly said there wasn't enough evidence to do so.
"He wants his own counsel - he's intimidated," Baez spokesman Michael Wright told The Herald. "It may not be a friendly deposition."
Like other Sanford police officers, Serino will have to give his sworn statement to prosecutors and Zimmerman's defense team.
It may not be friendly because, the Herald reports, tape-recorded interviews between Zimmerman and Serino showed the investigator "was skeptical" of Zimmerman's account of events early on in the investigation.
The Sanford police department has been at the center of the controversy from the get-go after deciding not to arrest Zimmerman for the shooting death of Martin - citing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law.
Baez, who is Puerto Rican, has been mentioned before in this case. Fox News broadcaster Sean Hannity offered to pay for Zimmerman's legal fees as long as he had hired Baez as his defense lawyer. Also, Baez wrote a letter to the judge of the case, scolding prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda for spreading false information about him.