George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder after pleading self-defence. (Reuters: Joe Burbank)
George Zimmerman, the man who killed unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in 2012, has sued Martin’s family and lawyers, claiming they used a fake witness against him.
- George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin
- The lawsuit accuses alleges that the half-sister of Martin’s reported girlfriend pretended to be her while making statements
- Martin’s uncle said the lawsuit was a publicity stunt for an upcoming documentary
Mr Zimmerman is seeking at least $100 million in damages from Martin’s parents, state prosecutors and two women, who are accused in a lawsuit of helping provide false statements to investigators and during the trial, according to court papers.
The lawsuit accuses Martin’s parents and the family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, of orchestrating a campaign to force 16-year-old Brittany Diamond Eugene, who was reportedly Martin’s girlfriend, to make a recorded statement that implicated Mr Zimmerman as the aggressor in the altercation with Martin.
Ms Eugene was on the phone with Martin moments before the altercation with Mr Zimmerman, the suit said.
The lawsuit also said Ms Eugene’s half-sister, Rachel Jeantel, pretended to be Ms Eugene when she was interviewed by prosecutors and provided false statements to incriminate Mr Zimmerman based on coaching from others in court during his trial.
Trayvon Martin’s death was one of many cases that drew international headlines. (Reuters: Jason Redmond)
Martin’s uncle, Ronald Fulton, said the lawsuit was no more than a publicity stunt to promote a forthcoming documentary that alleges Ms Jeantel was an imposter.
“During the trial, most of the people they brought in were officers of Orange County, were they a hoax too?” he said.
On February 26, 2012, Mr Zimmerman, who was then a neighbourhood watchman in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, fatally shot Martin after the 17-year-old’s trip to a convenience store to buy snacks.
Mr Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. During the 2013 trial, prosecutors argued he profiled, pursued and confronted Martin.
Mr Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder by a jury after claiming he shot Martin in self-defence.