Holder: Trayvon charges still possible

Getty Images

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday said the Justice Department has not decided whether to file federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the 2012 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman who shot and killed Martin in an incident that captured national interest, was acquitted of murder charges in July. But the Justice Department could still pursue a federal civil rights case.

Holder said the agency’s investigation is under way.

“I'm not sure exactly how much longer that will take, but we will get to a point where we are able to make a determination,” he told reporters at an unrelated news conference at the agency’s headquarters.

Holder, during an April speech to the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, pledged to “take appropriate action” if the agency finds evidence of a potential federal civil rights crime in the Zimmerman case.

However, he has since cautioned that the Justice Department faces a “very high barrier” in pursuing federal criminal charges in such cases.

On Monday, he noted that the courts had already weighed in Zimmerman’s case.

"The case of George Zimmerman — and what happens there — I think a substantial part was resolved in the case that was tried," Holder said.