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The father of Trayvon Martin, the teenager shot dead by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in a case that sparked nationwide protests over racial profiling and police inaction, said Saturday the family is bracing for a “rough road” as Zimmerman’s trial nears.

“We’re going to have to sit through all the negativity,” Tracy Martin said at an emotional prayer service in a Miami church nine days before Zimmerman’s trial opens in Sanford, Florida. Martin was referring to defense attorney Mark O’Mara’s attempts to cast his son as an aggressor whose actions on the night of Feb. 26, 2012, prompted Zimmerman to fire in self-defense.

Last week, the judge in the case ruled that O’Mara would not be allowed to mention in opening statements evidence that the defense says would point to drug use and aggressive tendencies by the teenager. But some of the evidence could come into play during the trial if O’Mara can convince Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson that it is germane to the case.
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