By Victoria Moll-Ramirez and Becky Bratu, NBC News
The judge in the George Zimmerman case denied to recuse himself Wednesday, ruling that a defense motion asking him to step down was “legally insufficient.”
“The defendant’s verified motion to disqualify judge is hereby denied as legally insufficient,” Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester ruled.
Zimmerman, the 28-year-old Florida man charged with second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, asked for a new judge in his case last month, accusing Lester of bias.
Zimmerman alleged in the filing that Lester made “gratuitous” and “disparaging remarks” about him during a July 5 bond hearing and offered “a personal opinion” in the case.
“In doing so, the Court has created a reasonable fear in Mr. Zimmerman that this Court is biased against him and because of this prejudice he cannot receive a fair and impartial trial or hearing by this Court,” the motion said.
It is unclear whether Zimmerman will appeal the judge’s decision.
Reuters contributed to this report.