Though he hasn’t been formally charged, the neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin is setting up a fundraising campaign to cover his legal fees, The Huff Post reports.
“George Zimmerman’s family has setup a website for anyone who would like help with George and his family with their living expenses and for his defense,” attorneys Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner said in a statement.
Uhrig joined Zimmerman’s defense team earlier this week, though the 28-year-old hasn’t been charged in the Feb. 26 shooting of Martin in a gated community in Sanford.
The simple website – www.therealgeorgezimmerman.com – opens with a message from Mr Zimmerman, where describes the night of Martin’s death as a “life altering event” and said: “On Sunday February 26th, I was involved in a life altering event which led me to become the subject of intense media coverage.”
“As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage, I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life. This website’s sole purpose is to ensure my supporters they are receiving my full attention without any intermediaries.”
Zimmerman has already found some support from gun advocacy groups. For example, The National Association for Legal Gun Defense announced it would donate $10,000 to help pay for his legal expenses.
Legal Boom, a Florida-based gun rights group, pledged to back Zimmerman, whose reputation, they say, has been unfairly “ruined.”
“We wanted to help someone who we feel has been wronged and found guilty in the court of public opinion,” Chris Kossmann of Legal Boom, told HLN. “People have been crying for justice but we don’t think people know what real justice is. As of yet nobody’s stood up for him.”
“I have created a Paypal account solely linked on this website as I would like to provide an avenue to thank my supporters personally and ensure that any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment,” Zimmerman writes on the website.
He continues: “I will also personally, maintain accountability of all funds received. I reassure you, every donation is appreciated.”
Zimmerman left his job at a mortgage risk management firm after the shooting and hopes to get some financial support to pay for his lawyers and living expenses
The Miami Gardens 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was visiting with his father Feb. 26 at his father’s girlfriend’s home in the gated community and was walking back from a convenience store when the shooting happened.
Though Martin was unarmed, Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watch captain, told police the shooting was self-defense.
Communities all across the nation have been galvanized by the event. The shooting has led to numerous marches and protests throughout South Florida and across the country, as Martin’s family and supporters demand Zimmerman’s arrest.
The Martin family and their attorney say race played a factor in the shooting. Martin was black, while Zimmerman is a biracial Latino. However, Zimmerman’s family has denied claims his son was a racist.
At the same time, reports The New York Times, Angela B. Corey, 57, a Republican state attorney with a reputation for toughness, has decided not to seek a grand jury review of the Trayvon Martin shooting, keeping the resolution of a case that has transfixed the nation solely in her hands.
Ms. Corey, who was appointed special prosecutor in the case by Florida’s governor and attorney general, must decide herself how to proceed with the particularly difficult case, in which many facts are in dispute and no witnesses have come forward publicly.
She must determine olone whether to file charges against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch coordinator who shot and killed the unarmed Mr. Martin, or to drop the case.