George Zimmerman's Judge Is Disqualified and Replaced

PHOTO: Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler holds a status hearing, April 13, 2012, in Sanford, Fla., in the second-degree murder case against neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
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The Florida judge tapped to preside over George Zimmerman's trial for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin was disqualified today and replaced by Judge Kenneth Lester Jr.

The judge who was originally assigned the case was Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler, one of four possible judges to oversee what Zimmerman's attorneys and the state expect to be a trial process that could last well into 2013.

Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara asked that Recksiedler step aside because she is married to an attorney who works in the same law firm as Mark NeJame, a legal analyst for CNN, who has been outspoken about the case.

The second judge picked to preside over the controversial case also stepped aside because of a conflict of interest, sources told ABC News.

The court then named Judge Lester to handle the case.

It's the latest in a series of twists in the case which began with the original prosecutor, Norman Wolfinger, recusing himself. That was followed by weeks in which Zimmerman was in hiding which ended in a bizarre announcement the attorneys he had hired announced that Zimmerman had left them.

Zimmerman, who is now represented by Mark O'Mara, is facing second degree murder charges, which could carry a life sentence for the 28 year old. O'Mara filed a motion on Monday for Judge Recksiedler's removal.

A bond hearing is scheduled on Friday for Zimmerman in Sanford. But legal analysts tell ABC News bail is seldom if ever granted in second degree murder cases.

Called an Arthur Case in Florida, the prosecution will have to demonstrate that to some degree the defendant committed a crime and that the presumption of guilt is great. Many such hearings unfold as mini-trials in which witnesses are heard. Ultimately the judge makes a decision on whether the defendant should be released pending trial.

Zimmerman claims he shot Martin, 17, in self defense. The death of the unarmed black teen has become an emotional and controversial case in Florida as well as the rest of the country.

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