Zimmerman's Lawyers Withdraw from Fla Shooting Case; Say They Have Lost Contact with Him

Tuesday, 10 Apr 2012 04:46 PM

 

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Breaking: State Attorney Angela Corey announced to the media Tuesday night that she will hold a press conference sometime within the next three days.

In a memo from her office, Corey said she will release new information regarding the Trayvon Martin shooting death investigation.

The media will be notified three hours in advance of the news conference, as to when and where it will be held. It will be in either Jacksonville or Sanford.

No other information was given.

Earlier story below.


Two attorneys for the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin said Tuesday that they have withdrawn as his counsel because they haven't heard from him in days and he is taking actions related to the case without consulting them.

Attorney Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig said at a news conference they haven't heard from George Zimmerman since Sunday. They said that against their advice, Zimmerman contacted the special prosecutor who will decide if he should face charges. A spokeswoman for Angela Corey's office didn't immediately respond to an email and two phone calls.

They also said that Zimmerman has been in touch with Fox News and conservative host Sean Hannity without telling them.

"We learned that he had contacted Sean Hannity of Fox News directly, not through us, and we believe, I can't confirm this, we believe that he spoke directly with Sean, off the record, and he's not even willing to tell us what our client told him," Uhrig said.

Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense after following the teenager in a Sanford, a gated community outside Orlando on Feb. 26. He said after he followed Martin for a time, he was returning to his truck when the teen attacked him. He shot the unarmed teen to death during the altercation.

Sonner said they legal team had talked to Zimmerman almost every day the last couple months.

"As of the last couple days he has not returned phone calls, text messages or emails," Sonner said. "He's gone on his own. I'm not sure what he's doing or who he's talking to. I cannot go forward speaking to the public about George Zimmerman and this case as representing him because I've lost contact with him."

Attorney Hal Uhrig said that his legal team is still concerned about Zimmerman, who he said is "not doing well emotionally" and may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The lack of an arrest has led to protests across the nation and spurred a debate about race and the laws of self-defense. Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

Craig Sonner, the first attorney Zimmerman contacted, said he agreed to take the case on a pro bono basis until Zimmerman is perhaps charged.

Sonner said he has never talked to Zimmerman face-to-face and that the 28-year-old man has gone into hiding but that he believes he's still in the U.S. Both attorneys said they'd be willing to represent him again if he asks.

Ben Crump, an attorney for Martin's family, said they're concerned that Zimmerman could be a flight risk if he is charged with a crime since his now-former attorneys don't know how to contact him.

"At this point, we're just concerned that nobody knows where he is at. Nobody knows how to get to him," Crump said.

Zimmerman set up a website therealgeorgezimmerman.com to collect money from his supporters, but the attorneys didn't know about it until they started getting questions from the media, Sonner said.

"I am the real George Zimmerman," the website said. "As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage, I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life."

That portrait of his life since the shooting was confirmed by his attorneys.

Sonner said that he stands behind his statements that Zimmerman did act in self-defense, however, "I just can't proceed to represent a client who doesn't stay in contact with me."

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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