OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Osceola County deputies discussed the arrest of a prominent defense attorney at a Monday news conference.
Hal Uhrig, known for representing George Zimmerman, was charged with solicitation to commit perjury and tampering with or harassing a witness, victim or informant, according to authorities, third-degree and capital felonies respectively.
According to Florida statute 914.22, witness tampering is considered a third-degree felony unless “the official investigation or official proceeding affected (by the tampering) involves the investigation or prosecution of a life or capital felony.” This elevates witness tampering to a capital felony punishable by a life sentence.
Deputies said the incident occurred several years ago during a case when Uhrig represented a man charged with raping a child. He held a meeting in his office involving his client, the accused rapist, the victim and the victim’s father.
“The point of the meeting was to keep the rapist from going to jail,” Sheriff Marco Lopez said. “The attorney instructed the victim and her father that they should do three things. Write a declination, basically a letter, to the state attorney saying the rape didn’t happen, avoid being served with a subpoena so you don’t have to go to court to testify (and) lie during your deposition and say the rape didn’t happen.”
Uhrig has practiced law in Orlando for more than 30 years.
“I think that this wasn’t his first rodeo,” Lopez said. “And you know, unless somebody else comes forward, we won’t know that, but that’s what I suspect at this time.”
According to Osceola investigators, the victim, who was 9 years old when the meeting took place, told the state attorney’s office this information in July 2021.
Soon after, the sex crimes unit at Osceola County Sheriff’s Office started to launch its own investigation, the sheriff continued.
“If you break the law, doesn’t matter who you are, y’know, we’re gonna arrest you. When anybody brings these types of allegations forward, we’re gonna investigate it,” Lopez said.