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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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August 2nd, 2013
07:01 PM ET

Trayvon Martin's parents push for criminal civil rights case

While George Zimmerman is likely trying to put his high profile murder trial behind him, the parents of the teenager he said he killed in self-defense are holding out hope that his legal woes are far from over.

Zimmerman was acquitted on second degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. But The Miami Herald reports that Martin's parents met this week with Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents about the possibility of a criminal civil rights case against Zimmerman.

The Justice Department has said in the past that it would look into whether Zimmerman violated any federal hate crime laws when he shot the unarmed teenager.

But if a jury agreed that Zimmerman killed Martin in self-defense, how would federal prosecutors be able to prove otherwise?

The feds will have to focus on how they can prove intent, said veteran prosecutor Paul Henderson.

"If there is a civil case, and more evidence comes out, or different testimony comes out that helps affirm those charges, then there are more and more possibilities," said Henderson.

Henderson said he is encouraged by how closely the Martin family is participating in the process.

"The fact that the feds are bringing them in, they're sitting down with them, they have started an investigation, which is what they asked for, and keeping them updated, I think is encouraging, not just for them but for a lot of communities that want to know what's the next step," said Henderson.

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