Geraldo Rivera on Friday blamed Rev. Al Sharpton for George Zimmerman being charged with Trayvon Martin’s murder.

“This was a case brought because of political pressure, race politics in this country,” Rivera said on “Fox and Friends.” “I hate to say it — I hold Reverend Al Sharpton in much higher regard than many of my colleagues…I strongly believe that the Reverend Al is the catalyst behind the murder two charge six weeks after the incident. I believe that the original prosecutor got it right, I think it is a self-defense situation…that should have been the charge — manslaughter — at best if any charge was going to be brought.”

Rivera’s comments, made just before closing arguments for Zimmerman’s defense got underway, came one day after the judge agreed to allow the jury to consider the lesser charge of manslaughter in addition to the second-degree murder Zimmerman is charged with.

“The fact that they are resorting to it now is a sign of the desperation of the prosecution. They know how weak their case is, they have zero chance of convicting this man on murder two.”

Rivera ignited controversy last year after he called Martin’s choice of wearing a hoodie sweatshirt “as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”