US air marshal and former Seminole County sheriff’s deputy Mark Osterman, has been identified as the law enforcement insider possibly pulling strings for George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watchman guilty of killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, as he navigates through the court system and Sanford Police Department relatively unscathed, reports MSNBC.com.
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First, speculation surrounded the influence of Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman, a former magistrate judge from Virginia who many people assumed was paving a clear path to freedom for his son behind the scenes. Then it moved on to State Attorney Norm Wolfinger, who made the decision to side with Zimmerman on the night that he gunned down Trayvon. Wolfinger eventually stepped aside and was replaced by Gov. Rick Scott with special prosecutor Angela Corey.
But it was Osterman who was at Zimmerman’s side when he recreated the night of Trayvon’s death to detectives. It was Osterman, who is also a shooting buddy of Zimmerman’s, who allowed him to stay at his lake house for 6 weeks after the shooting as the world wondered where he was hiding. And it is Osterman who spoke on Zimmerman’s behalf in an FBI interview:
“Zimmerman is very concerned with all the negative reaction from the press and others and wants more evidence released to show what really happened,” Osterman told the FBI.
Lingering suspicions perked up again this week after prosecutors released evidence that showed an email connection between Zimmerman and now-fired Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, where the two exchanged amicable notes about the resolution of a case where a previous chief refused to charge the son of a police lieutenant for the beating of a homeless black man.
Moreover, Mr. Lee, who spent 30 years at the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department, may have known Osterman since their tenures at the department overlapped. At any one time, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department has more than 500 employees.