George Zimmerman announced that he is suing Trayvon Martin's family for $100 million more than six years after he was acquitted in the heinous killing of the Florida teen.
In a press release, Zimmerman and right-wing activist Larry Klayman said they were suing Martin's parents, as well as attorney Benjamin Crump, Florida prosecutors Bernie de la Rionda, John Guy and Angela Corey. He is also suing the State of Florida and the publisher of Crump's memoir.
Zimmerman claims Martin's father, Tracy Martin, and his mother, Sybrina Fulton, defamed him. He alleges the case against him was based upon false evidence conjured up by Martin's parents.
A new documentary titled The Trayvon Hoax from right-wing activist Joel Gilbert claims to have uncovered new evidence in regards to the killing. It alleges that Florida prosecutors forced Martin's friend, Rachel Jeantel, to testify that she was Martin's girlfriend and that she was on the phone with him right before his death. The film and a corresponding novel floats the conspiracy theory that a woman named Brittany Diamond Eugene was actually Martin's girlfriend but refused to say she was on the phone with him prior to his death, so prosecutors found someone else to testify.
In the lawsuit, Zimmerman said the prosecution forced Jeantel to lie about being Martin's girlfriend and about being on the phone with him right before his death. Zimmerman allegedly filed the lawsuit in Polk County on Wednesday.
The filmmaker originally planned to have a screening of the film at Coral Gables Art Cinema, but the theater recently came out and said it was canceling the event.
Coral Gables Art Cinema was not aware of all of the details surrounding this event and has made a decision to cancel it.
— Coral Gables Art Cinema (@gablescinema) December 4, 2019
On February 26, 2012, a 17-year-old Martin was visiting his dad in Sanford, Florida, when he was coming from a nearby 7-Eleven. Zimmerman called the police on him because he believed him to be suspicious.
The 911 operator repeatedly told Zimmerman not to approach Martin. He nonetheless ignored the order and confronted the child, attacked him and fatally shot him. Zimmerman then claimed he had no choice but to attack the teenager who was notably smaller in stature.
He was eventually arrested and charged with second-degree murder, but a jury acquitted him in 2013 under Florida's broadly applied "Stand Your Ground" law.
In a statement, Martin's family lawyer Crump said Zimmerman's latest claims were fairytales and represented another attempt by Zimmerman to profit from Martin's killing.
“I have every confidence that this unfounded and reckless lawsuit will be revealed for what it is — another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others,” Crump said.
“This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions. He would have us believe that he is the innocent victim of a deep conspiracy, despite the complete lack of any credible evidence to support his outlandish claims,” he added.
Zimmerman said he was also suing HarperCollins Publishers, the publisher of Crump's recently released memoir, for defamation.
Fulton gained national prominence when she campaigned with Hilary Clinton and became an advocate for social justice and gun reform. She recently announced that she is running for the District 1 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.