George Zimmerman Files $100 Million Lawsuit Against Trayvon Martin’s Family And Others
An attorney representing the Martin family said the suit is “a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others.
George Zimmerman, a former Florida neighborhood watch volunteer tried and acquitted in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, has filed a $100 million lawsuit against the boy’s family.
Zimmerman is reportedly suing Martin's family and several others for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, civil conspiracy, and defamation. The suit names, in part, Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin; several witnesses in the case; members of the prosecution team, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The lawsuit stems from the events of February 26, 2012, when Martin was visiting his father in a gated community in Sanford, not far from Orlando. The 17-year-old had walked to a 7-Eleven and encountered Zimmerman while returning to his dad's girlfriend's residence. Zimmerman, who was patrolling the neighborhood, shot and killed the unarmed teen. Zimmerman claims he acted in self-defense, and a jury in 2013 agreed, finding him not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Zimmerman's suit accuses the defendants of working “in concert to deprive Zimmerman of his constitutional and other related legal rights,” the Washington Post reported.
Central to his argument, Zimmerman claims key witness Rachel Jeantel was an “imposter” and “fake.” Jeantel testified at trial she was on the phone with Martin, her then-boyfriend, when Zimmerman shot him. However, Zimmerman alleges prosecutors substituted her for her half-sister, Brittany Diamond Eugene, and coached her on what to say. Eugene, according to the lawsuit, was Martin’s actual girlfriend but refused to take the stand, CNN reported.
According to the court documents, Zimmerman claims he suffered “great mental anguish” in the aftermath of the trial and requires “professional treatment by psychologists for anxiety, depression, insomnia, and weight gain.”
In a statement obtained by the Sun-Sentinel, Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump called Zimmerman’s lawsuit “reckless.” Crump said its “another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others.”
The attorney added, “This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions."