George Zimmerman’s attorneys said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that they will no longer be representing him, reports The Huff Post. The lawyers say that Zimmerman repeatedly rebuffed their legal advice, and that they have now lost contact with him.
“As of now we are withdrawing as counsel for Mr. Zimmerman,” Craig Sonner, one of his attorneys, told reporters outside the Seminole County Courthouse in Sanford, Fla.
“We’ve lost contact with him. Up to this point, we’ve had contact with him every day. He’s gone on his own. I’m not sure what he’s doing or who he’s talking to, but at this point we’re withdrawing as counsel. If he wants us to come back as counsel, he will contact us.”
According to MSN BC, the attorneys said they have not talked to Zimmerman, whose location is not known, in at least two days but in the past had spoken with him over the phone. “We can’t represent him unless he comes forward and asks us,” Hal Uhrig said.
“We have a pretty good idea where he (Zimmerman) is,” Uhrig said, but added that Zimmerman is not answering the phone. The attorneys said they thought Zimmerman was still in the United States, but not likely in Florida.
“You can stop looking in Florida. Look much further away than that,” Uhrig said. Uhrig said Zimmerman had called Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity, which worried them.
“We learned that he had called Sean Hannity of Fox News directly — not through us,” Uhrig said. “We believe that he spoke directly with Sean off the record and [Hannity’s] not even willing to tell us what our client told him.”
They also have reservations about a web site Zimmerman set up to solicit money for help in his defense.
On Thursday the attorneys helped George Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman, set up a website to solicit donations for George’s legal defense and living expenses. The site’s address, zimmermandefense.com, had been made available to news outlets.
But it turned out that Zimmerman set up a different website that was different from the one set up by his attorneys and his father.
“On Monday we began fielding questions…’did we know anything about [therealgeorgezimmerman.com] website?’ And our initial response was, well that’s probably bogus, we don’t know anything about that.”
“And we started making inquiries and frankly confirmed that he, through friends or family, had in fact set that site up and it was legitimate. We immediately began telling the media, disregard the earlier website we gave you that we had set up. Go for the one we now know that he set up,” Sonner said.
The lawyers also heard that Zimmerman had contacted a special prosecutor, who will decide whether or not to press charges against him, against their advice.
“We were a bit astonished and had some conversation back and forth with the prosecutor’s office,” Uhrig said.”They told us what we expected, ‘[that they] were not going to talk to a criminal or [defendant] without counsel.'”
Uhrig said that Zimmerman told officials at the prosecutors office that Uhrig and Sonner were not his lawyers, but “his legal advisers.”
George Zimmerman, whose father is white and his mother Peruvian, says he shot Martin, who was black, in self-defense Feb. 26 after following him in a gated community in Sanford.
However, Sonner said that he still believed that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense, which Zimmerman and his surrogates have maintained since the shooting. “Nothing that I’ve said about him or this case has changed in any way,” Sonner said.
Meanwhile, Angela Corey, the special prosecutor investigating the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida, said Tuesday evening that she was preparing to release new information on the investigation, and would do so in the next 72 hours.
Yahoo! reports that the press conference than took an unusual twist, with Uhrig essentially trying the case before the gathered members of the press.
Uhrig said, “If you don’t believe this has been crouched in racial terms, you’re not watching the same media, the same TV, reading the same blogs.” In an unfortunate choice of words, Uhrig added, “I’m taking a shot at the press when I say this.”
Uhrig then directed criticism at Martin, alleging that his own actions were to blame for Zimmerman shooting him.
“Whoever decided to turn it from a war of words into a war of fists does so at their own peril,” Uhrig said. “We frankly believe the correct decision will be to not charge him [Zimmerman],” Uhrig said.
Natalie Jackson, an attorney for the Martin family, responded to the news conference with a statement obtained by NBC News.
“These attorneys continue to make irresponsible statements to the media,” Jackson said. “Not only have they spoken recklessly about racial issues, enflaming passions and reinforcing sterotypes, but now they have throw their own client, George Zimmerman, under the bus by alluding to his possible flight from justice.”
Trayvon Martin’s parents and their attorney appeared on CNN tonight to discuss the latest developments in the case, including the special prosecutor’s announcement that new details about the case will be made public in the next 72 hours.
“We’re encouraged, but we have a lot of anxiety,” Benjamin Crump, the attorney, told Piers Morgan. “No one has any idea where the killer of Trayvon Martin is.”
Tracy Martin,Trayvon’s father, said he believed that Zimmerman was a flight risk. “He definitely needs to be contained,” he said.