George Zimmerman sues Trayvon Martin family, others for $100 million
Lawsuit filed in Polk County
This story has been updated to include a statement from Ben Crump.
POLK COUNTY, Fla. – George Zimmerman is suing Trayvon Martin’s family, prosecutors and others for $100 million.
Zimmerman, a Sanford neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012, was acquitted of homicide in the fatal shooting of Martin, who was 17 years old.
The lawsuit, filed in Polk County, where Zimmerman now lives, cites information in a documentary about the case that accuses the Martin family of engineering false testimony.
The suit seeks $100 million in civil damages, alleging defamation, abuse of civil process and conspiracy.
According to the newly filed lawsuit, Zimmerman cites a documentary about the case accusing Martin’s family of lying about a witness who testified. The lawsuit alleges that many of the defendants in the lawsuit lied and covered up who was really on the phone with Martin before he was killed, by substituting what he calls an imposter and fake witness.
“What they’re saying is they substituted Rachel Jeantel for the person who was actually on the phone with Trayvon Martin,” attorney Mark O’ Mara said. “This is very surprising to me that someone seems to have evidence of a replacement witness.”
The following are named as defendants in the lawsuit: Sybrina Fulton, Rachel Jeantel, Brittany Diamond Eugene, Tracy Martin, Benjamin Crump, Bernie de la Rionda, John Guy, Angela Corey, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the state of Florida and HarperCollins Publishers.
Crump, a civil rights and personal injury attorney, responded to the lawsuit saying “this tale defies all logic, and it’s time to close the door on these baseless imaginings.”
O’Mara was Zimmerman’s trial lawyer, but he no longer represents him. He said there were red flags about that witness testimony during the trial.
“We never thought she was a fake witness but it was troubling or unsettling that there were certain things that made no sense,” O’Mara said.
Zimmerman filed a defamation lawsuit against NBC News several years ago, claiming the media company had maliciously edited phone calls Zimmerman placed to 911 shortly after he shot and killed Martin. The suit was dismissed in Seminole County in 2014 and the Fifth District Court of Appeal later affirmed the ruling.
A copy of the new lawsuit is posted on Zimmerman’s attorney’s website and can also be viewed below.
Late Wednesday, a group called the Dream Defenders field a complaint with the Florida Bar Association against the attorney for Zimmerman, claiming the complaint was baseless and frivolous.
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