George Zimmerman's Lawyers Confirm Loop 21 Exclusive
Martin legal team fears Zimmerman is a 'flight risk'
The legal team representing Trayvon Martin’s shooter confirmed details exclusively given to Loop 21 on Monday night by a man claiming to be George Zimmerman.
Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner, who spoke outside of the Seminole County courthouse on Tuesday evening, cited Zimmerman’s reclusive behavior and his disregard for their legal advice, as one of several reasons for their departure.
"He has gone on his own. I don't know what he's doing or who he's talking to," Sonner said. “I cannot represent a client who doesn’t stay in contact with me.”
Uhrig said the legal team had never met with Zimmerman face-to-face and that he was hard to reach by phone. In an exclusive, Loop 21 attempted to confirm a series of emails between Loop 21 contributor Wesley Lowery and a man claiming to be Zimmerman.
During the courthouse press conference, the lawyers confirmed Zimmerman gave an off-the-record interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, which Loop 21 was the first to report. The emails sent to Lowery on Monday night were the first to mention the Hannity interview.
Spokespeople for Hannity and Fox News have not responded to requests for comment. The man claiming to be Zimmerman did not reply to an email request for comment, immediately following his lawyers’ press conference.
Zimmerman is also said to have contacted state attorney Angela Corey on his own, and told someone in her office that he was not officially represented by Uhrig and Sonner.
On Monday, Corey announced she would not send the case to a grand jury. The decision of charges against Zimmerman is effectively in her hands. Legal analysts say the move suggests Zimmerman will not be charged with first-degree murder, which requires a grand jury indictment, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Lawyers for the Martin family said they have been concerned that Zimmerman was a flight risk.
“Trayvon’s family was always concerned that Zimmerman doesn’t try to skirt his legal responsibilities,” said attorney Benjamin Crump, in a statement to Time following Tuesday’s press conference.
“We always wanted this before a judge and a jury. We hope that [authorities] will take this under consideration that this a flight risk. If they go to press charges, is he really going to face them?”
Earlier, Crump told Loop 21 that they remained hopeful after the state attorney’s decision against the grand jury.
"We're viewing this as a positive thing," said Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump, in an interview with Loop 21 on Tuesday.
"A grand jury is a private proceeding. In the legal community, it's well known that if you take a case to a grand jury you want it to die," Crump said. "By not doing that, we believe that (Corey) believes she has enough evidence for an arrest."
It's been more than a month since, against the instruction of police, the 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer pursued and scuffled with Martin, a black Miami student, before shooting him to death, in a Sanford gated community. After news of the case went national, Zimmerman was dogged by allegations that he racially profiled the teen. Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.
In the press conference announcing that they will no longer represent Zimmerman, his former attorneys cited their inability to maintain constant contact with him and his decision to start a fundraising website without their knowledge as part of their rationale.
Using that site — www.therealgeorgezimmerman.com — Loop 21 believes it was able to contact Zimmerman directly.
Zimmerman purchased the site Sunday, according to domain registration records available from GoDaddy.com.
A spokesperson for GoDaddy declined to comment on the site or who the domain is registered to, referring inquires to the information page for Domains by Proxy, a third party privacy organization (owned by Go Daddy founder Bob Parsons) that allows domain owners to remain anonymous by registering sites in the company's name.