CORAL GABLES, Fla. — A jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of murder for the Feb. 26, 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Nearly eight years later, that remains the only fact that no one disputes.
Zimmerman has maintained from day one that he shot the African American teenager in self-defense.
Martin’s parents have never wavered from their belief that their son was murdered – and that the shooting was racially-motivated.
Now, Zimmerman is suing the Martin family, their attorney and the Florida prosecutors who brought him to trial – for $100 million dollars. His attorney released details of the lawsuit to the media on Wednesday.
Zimmerman is claiming prosecutors used a “fake witness” to paint him as a cold-blooded killer, and his attorney says Martin’s parents knew about it. The famed attorney who represents the Martin family, Benjamin Crump, is also included in the lawsuit. He’s being accused of defamation.
The claims center around an audio tape brought forward by Crump a week after the Sanford Police Department had originally closed the case without pressing charges. On it was the voice of “Diamond Eugene.” Crump said she was Martin’s girlfriend, and she was on the phone with the teen moments before he was killed.
At trial, a young woman named Rachel Jeantel told the jury she was Diamond Eugene – but the lawsuit claims that was a lie. The suit alleges the real Diamond Eugene was swapped out after she refused to lie about what happened, and Jeantel “provided false statements to incriminate Zimmerman based on coaching from others.”
Zimmerman and Klayman will hold a news conference Thursday in South Florida to publicly unveil the lawsuit – then host a movie screening.
Director Joel Gilbert will screen his new movie, called The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America.
So far, neither the Martin family, Benjamin Crump, nor the prosecutors who tried the case have commented on the lawsuit.