Trayvon Martin Family Lawyer: George Zimmerman's Lawsuit 'Another Failed Attempt to Defend the Indefensible'
|thenorthstar||Dec 5, 2019|
George Zimmerman, who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012, is suing the teenager’s parents, their lawyer and others for more than $100 million. Zimmerman, who was acquitted of all charges related to Martin’s death, alleges he is the victim of conspiracy, malicious prosecution and defamation.
Attorney Larry Klayman, the founder of conservative Judicial Watch, is representing Zimmerman in the case. Klayman announced his client was suing prior to the screening of a documentary titled “The Trayvon Hoax” at Coral Gables, Florida, according to The Miami Herald.
Zimmerman claims that Rachel Jeantel, a key witness at the murder trial who testified she was on the phone with the unarmed 17-year-old just before he was shot, was an imposter,NPR reported. His team alleges that Jeantel was standing in for her half sister, Brittany Diamond Eugene, whom the suit says did not want to testify.
The lawsuit, filed in Florida state court, also claims Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump defamed Zimmerman. Crump is accused of conspiring with Eugene to use her half sister during the trial in a 3-minute phone call on March 31, 2012.
Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, along with Jeantel, Eugene, Florida prosecutors, the state of Florida, the state’s law enforcement department and HarperCollins are all named in the suit. HarperCollins recently published Crump’s book on violence against Black people calledOpen Season.
A poster of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at the Trayvon Martin Foundation. (Eric Barrow)
What the Defendants Are Saying
Crump has been the only defendant to respond to the lawsuit. In a statement on behalf of himself and Martin’s parents to the media, the attorney said Zimmerman’s claims defy “all logic” and are “baseless imaginings.”
“I have every confidence that this unfounded and reckless lawsuit will be revealed for what it is — another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others,” Crump said.
The attorney continued: “This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions. He would have us believe that he is the innocent victim of a deep conspiracy, despite the complete lack of any credible evidence to support his outlandish claims.”
The Trayvon Martin Foundation and Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told The North Star that the agency has not yet been served with the lawsuit.
Zimmerman: Murder Trial Acquittal
On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin was a seventeen-year-old kid visiting his father in Sandford, Florida when he was shot and killed during an altercation with 28-year-old George Zimmerman. The teenager had left a local 7-11, having purchased a packet of Skittles and a can of Arizona watermelon-flavored Ice Tea, and was walking through a gated community called The Retreat at Twin Lakes where his father’s fiancee lived. At around 7 p.m. Zimmerman reported Martin as suspicious to police.
What happened next is in dispute. Zimmerman claims he was attacked by Martin and defended himself. However, police and prosecutors called the fatal incident an unjustified shooting of a teenager wearing a hoodie with Skittles and a drink.
What is not in dispute is that Zimmerman was instructed by the police on that phone call to not follow Martin. He ignored them.
During the trial, Jeantel testified that Martin told her that someone was following him and that he tried to lose Zimmerman as he neared the home of his father’s fiancee. She said she heard Martin talking to Zimmerman in the background.
“He said, ‘Why are you following me for?’ And I heard a hard-breathing man say, ‘What you doing around here?’” Jeantel testified, according to CNN. She later stated that she heard a bump from her friend’s headset hitting something and “wet grass sounds.” Jeantel said that Martin told the man following him to get off him.
Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in 2013.
Zimmerman Since The Trial
Zimmerman was arrested in a number of alleged domestic incidents but was never charged. He was arrested on November 2013 on aggravated assault, domestic violence battery and criminal mischief accusations. Prosecutors did not press charges after Zimmerman’s girlfriend asked that the case be dropped, CNN reported.
History repeated itself in January 2015 when Zimmerman was arrested on suspected aggravated assault of another girlfriend. The alleged victim later recanted her claims and prosecutors did not press charges.
In 2016, Zimmerman placed the gun Martin was killed with up for auction. Zimmerman confirmed to KTNV that it sold for $250,000.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia, Australia and the Americas.