Zimmerman will not get his gun back immediately

WASHINGTON Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:04pm EDT

George Zimmerman leaves court with his family after the jury delivered a not guilty verdict in his trial for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida, July 13, 2013. REUTERS/Gary W. Green/Pool

George Zimmerman leaves court with his family after the jury delivered a not guilty verdict in his trial for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida, July 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Gary W. Green/Pool

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder by a Florida court last week, will not immediately get back the gun he used to shoot unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, because the U.S. Justice Department requested a hold on evidence from his trial, a law enforcement official said on Thursday.

The hold is standard procedure and does not reveal whether the Justice Department plans to pursue a new prosecution of Zimmerman, 29, said the official, who would speak only on condition of anonymity.

A jury in Sanford, Florida, found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder on Saturday.

Expectations that Zimmerman would get his 9mm pistol back helped to fuel anger among those Americans who thought had profiled Martin and should be punished for the teenager's death last year. Zimmerman's lawyers said he acted in self-defense during neighborhood watch duty when Martin attacked him.

Federal prosecutors said they were pursuing an investigation into whether Zimmerman violated civil rights laws. Lawyers with expertise in civil rights have said they think new charges are unlikely.

(Reporting by David Ingram; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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