- In his termination letter Ben Kruidbos was accused of violating state attorney office policies and procedures
- He had informed the defense team that they hadn’t received all the images and text messages retrieved from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone
- The missing content included images of Martin blowing smoke, holding a gun and images of marijuana
- The defense team had asked for a delay in the case as a result, but were denied
PUBLISHED: 16:51 EST, 13 July 2013 | UPDATED: 16:51 EST, 13 July 2013
A state attorney’s office employee has been fired after testifying about concerns that prosecutors didn’t turn over photos and text messages from Trayvon Martin’s cellphone to the defense in George Zimmerman’s murder case.
Ben Kruidbos received a termination letter Thursday accusing him of misconduct and ‘violating numerous state attorney’s office policies and procedures.’
It accused him of disclosure of confidential information, sabotage of property or equipment, and misuse of state attorney equipment.
Sacked: Ben Kruidbos, an IT worker from the state attorney’s office, testified during a hearing in the George Zimmerman trial on June 6
Photos from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone showed the slain Florida teenager blowing smoke rings, a gun and what appears to be a marijuana plant
Kruidbos retrieved photos and deleted text messages from Martin’s cellphone.
He testified during a hearing on June 6 that Martin’s cell phone contained images of the 17-year-old blowing smoke, images of marijuana and deleted text messages regarding a transaction for a firearm and that those images had not been given to Zimmerman’s defense team.
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He received the termination letter, dated July 11, on Friday, the same day jurors began deliberating Zimmerman’s case.
The letter states: ‘It has come to our attention that you violated numerous State Attorney’s Office (SAO) policies and procedures and have engaged in deliberate misconduct that is especially egregious in light of your position.’
George Zimmerman with his defense team, Mark O’Mara, left, and Don West, while waiting for jury arrival in the courtroom on Saturday morning
Attorney Wesley White said Kruidbos wasn’t surprised by the firing.
He had been on paid administrative leave since May 28 from his job as director of information technology for the State Attorney’s Office.
Kruidbos said that, when he printed a 900-page Florida Department of Law Enforcement report from Martin’s cell phone in late 2012 or early 2013, he noticed information was missing.
Concerned that attorneys did not have all the information they needed to prepare the case, he said, he reported his concerns to a State Attorney’s Office investigator and later to prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.
Kruidbos said he generated a report that was more than three times the size of the one that had been handed over.
For example, Kruidbos said that 2,958 photos were in the report given to the defense but that his report contained 4,275 photos.
Gun: A photo of a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun was retrieved from Martin’s cell phone
The images on Martin’s phone included this photo of what appears to be a marijuana plant
Through his attorney, Wesley White, Kruidbos informed Zimmerman’s defense team that the information existed.
In court, Kruidbos testified that he was concerned that he could be held liable if all information wasn’t shared.
‘All the information is important in the process to ensure it’s a fair trial,’ he said.
In a six-page dismissal letter, the State Attorney’s Office, Fourth Judicial Circuit, blasted Kruidbos’ assertions and motivations.
Managing Director Cheryl Peek accused Kruidbos of having erased data from a laptop in violation of the Public Records Law and derided his concern about being held liable as ‘feigned and spurious’ and ‘nothing more than shameful manipulation in a shallow, but obvious, attempt to cloak yourself in the protection of the whistleblower law.’
Trayvon Martin’s cell phone which he was using to speak to Rachel Jeantel when he was attacked
She concluded, ‘Because of your deliberate, willful and unscrupulous actions, you can never again be trusted to step foot in this office. Your have left us with no choice but to terminate your employment.’
Zimmerman’s attorneys were seeking sanctions against the state for not properly turning over the evidence from Martin’s phone.
O’Mara and co-counsel Don West argued that they needed more time to go through the information found on Martin’s phone and asked for a delay, which was denied.
Judge Debra Nelson said she would revisit the possibility of sanctions at the trial’s end.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362755/Zimmerman-whistle-blower-claimed-prosecutors-didnt-defense-team-evidence-Trayvon-Martins-cell-phone-fired.html#ixzz2Z2YksYnY Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook