*Dammit, we’ll try to stay calm as we report this. George Zimmerman, who was acquitted back in 2012 for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed, is suing Martin’s family and Florida prosecutors. Why, you ask? He’s claiming that they engineered false evidence in the homicide trial.
The lawsuit, in Polk County Circuit Court (Florida), is looking to get $100million in civil damages for defamation, abuse of civil process and conspiracy.
Get this. The suit alleges that Rachel Jeantel, the prosecution’s key witness in Zimmerman’s 2013 murder trial, was an imposter coached by the family and their lawyers.
The lead defendant in the suit is Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother. Since the shooting incident and the trial, Fulton has gone on to gain notoriety as an advocate for social justice and reducing gun violence in the wake of Trayvon’s death.
Also named as a defendant is Benjamin Crump. He is accused of defamation and attempting to “deprive Zimmerman of his constitutional and other legal rights.”
With these crazy assertions, we’re thinking that Zimmerman somehow got repped by the same group of legal flacks shilling for Donald Trump. But actually, he’s being represented by high-profile conservative legal crusader Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch and a former US Department of Justice prosecutor.
Here’s more via the Daily Mail:
Klayman issued a media statement on Wednesday before the suit was filed.
The complaint outlined in the statement alleges that the Sanford Police Department thoroughly investigated the shooting and closed the case as self-defense.
One week later, the suit claims, Crump produced a recording of ‘Diamond Eugene’, who he said was Martin’s 16-year-old girlfriend who was on the phone with the victims minutes before the confrontation with Zimmerman.
Two weeks later, 18-year-old Jeantel, Eugene’s half-sister, appeared before the court and ‘provided false statements to incriminate Zimmerman based on coaching from others’.
Klayman said the new lawsuit stemmed from shocking allegations exposed in a book that claims Martin’s cell phone records prove Jeantel was not on the phone with him before the altercation, and that she ‘lied repeatedly to cause Zimmerman’s arrest and to try to send him to prison for life’.
The book charges that Eugene was Martin’s real girlfriend and did speak with him prior to the shooting.
However, it claims Eugene was switched out for Jeantel when the former refused to testify.
Klayman said several defendants in the suit ‘have been proven to know about the switch to the imposter witness’ – including Fulton, Crump and Florida prosecutors Bernie de la Rionda, John Guy, Angela Corey.
The attorney said the allegations did not emerge at the trial and that ‘the fraud was perpetuated on the court’.
‘It was a complete travesty of justice which destroyed my client’s life,’ Klayman said. ‘People are destroyed and smeared and they have to start fighting back.’
As was reported at the time, Zimmerman shot and killed Martin in a gated community in Sanford Florida in February of 2012.
Martin’s death in 2012 shook the nation and launched the Black Lives Matter Movement after Zimmerman was charged with murder and later acquitted by a jury.
Zimmerman remained in the public glare after his acquittal because of a lengthy trial.