Zimmerman's Lawyers Withdraw From Shooting Case

By: AP
By: AP
Where is George Zimmerman?  Many are asking that question amid new concerns that he might be a flight risk if charged.  Two of Zimmerman

CBS

Two attorneys for the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin said Tuesday that they have withdrawn as his counsel because they haven't heard from him in days and he is taking actions related to the case without consulting them.

Attorney Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig said at a news conference they haven't heard from George Zimmerman since Sunday. They said that against their advice, Zimmerman contacted the special prosecutor who will decide if he should face charges. A spokeswoman for Angela Corey's office didn't immediately respond to an email and two phone calls.

Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense after following the teenager in a Sanford, a gated community outside Orlando on Feb. 26. He said after he followed Martin for a time, he was returning to his truck when the teen attacked him. He shot the unarmed teen to death during the altercation.

Sonner said they legal team had talked to Zimmerman almost every day the last couple months.

"As of the last couple days he has not returned phone calls, text messages or emails," Sonner said. "He's gone on his own. I'm not sure what he's doing or who he's talking to. I cannot go forward speaking to the public about George Zimmerman and this case as representing him because I've lost contact with him."

Attorney Hal Uhrig said that his legal team is still concerned about Zimmerman, who he said is "not doing well emotionally" and may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

CBS News senior legal analyst Andrew Cohen said that the withdrawal should not impact the investigation. "It will not determine the outcome of the case. But the publicity surrounding today's [announcement] can only help Zimmerman, despite the withdrawal, because it gives these guys a chance to humanize Zimmerman and try to portray him as a sympathetic figure."

The split came as special prosecutor Angela Corey neared a decision on whether to charge Zimmerman with a crime in the Feb. 26 shooting.

That decision could come later this week, as Corey released a brief statement late Tuesday saying she would make an announcement about the case within 72 hours. She did not specify what new development in the case would be released.

The lack of an arrest has led to protests across the nation and spurred a debate about race and the laws of self-defense. Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

Craig Sonner, the first attorney Zimmerman contacted, said he agreed to take the case on a pro bono basis until Zimmerman is perhaps charged.

Sonner said he has never talked to Zimmerman face-to-face and that the 28-year-old man has gone into hiding but that he believes he's still in the U.S. Both attorneys said they'd be willing to represent him again if he asks.

Ben Crump, an attorney for Martin's family, said they're concerned that Zimmerman could be a flight risk if he is charged with a crime since his now-former attorneys don't know how to contact him.

"At this point, we're just concerned that nobody knows where he is at. Nobody knows how to get to him," Crump said.

Zimmerman set up a website therealgeorgezimmerman.com to collect money from his supporters, but the attorneys didn't know about it until they started getting questions from the media, Sonner said.

"I am the real George Zimmerman," the website said. "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."

That portrait of his life since the shooting was confirmed by his attorneys.

Sonner said that he stands behind his statements that Zimmerman did act in self-defense, however, "I just can't proceed to represent a client who doesn't stay in contact with me."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Troy Location: NC on Apr 12, 2012 at 04:26 AM
    Why are poeple making a big case about this? Blacks kill blacks all the time for ten dollars or less or because someone said something negative about someone and its not front page news.Yet,when a white person kills a black person, its all over the news. Why?
  • by Mr X Location: se spgs on Apr 11, 2012 at 11:16 AM
    who the f((( cares! the black punk is dead !
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 11:23 AM in reply to Mr X
      Mr x needs professional help. His fatuous remarks are all over this site. I implore you, plase get help mr. X.
    • reply
      by jazzcat on Apr 11, 2012 at 11:27 AM in reply to Mr X
      If you don't care, why bother to comment?
  • by Baaaaa(d) Location: Colorado Pasture on Apr 11, 2012 at 08:49 AM
    His lawyers quit because they were not cut in on the deal. The special prosecutor is supposed to make an announcement in 72 hours. So, Zimmermen is holed up with a ghost writer detailing his life and what happened that night. The special prosecutor is shopping for a writer before the announcement...cause a book deal about what happened and what led to the announcement will be written. The family is already writing their book about how justice was denied because the big announcement will be that not enough evidence exist to bring to trial or a key witness has step forward. It all doesn't matter because those on both sides of the issues have been played for fools. The media is making money, Zimmerman is making money, the special prosecutor will make money and the family will make money. There is no racial divide in American, only the pursuit of money and victim-hood and the fools that support it.
  • by wasteofmediatime on Apr 11, 2012 at 08:24 AM
    lawyers withdraw because they are affraid of their own lives. The legal terrorist groupd Black Panther of America already put a reward on Zimmerman's head and they will put one on both of the attorney representing him. The media wont report on Black Panther's memo thats for sure. We have a huge problem in this country hypocrisy
    • reply
      by okay on Apr 11, 2012 at 09:21 AM in reply to wasteofmediatime
      The DOJ(Holder) has been asked by the family why they are letting a publicly announced hit go untouched and no arrests being mad. If you don't believe Obama surrounds himself around militant racists you are a fool. Malik Shabazz aka Paris Lewis is a frequent visitor of the whitehouse and friend of Obamas. You can find the name Paris Lewis on the whitehouse guest list multiple times. Obama is the David Duke of the Democrats, he is guilty of racism by association with these black cowards.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 09:46 AM in reply to okay
        Okay, That's why shabazz was arrested then? Quit watching fox and friends, it rots your mind thus turning you into what you are today, an idiot.
        • reply
          by okay on Apr 11, 2012 at 10:16 AM in reply to
          You are referring to Malikah Shabazz who is Malcom X's daughter who was arrested recently. Malik Shabazz is walking free to this day I suggest you do a little research before you show that YES you are an IDIOT who just put his foot in his mouth. Hows that taste by the way?
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 10:34 AM in reply to
          Look it up, he was arrested along with calling Obama the N word. Again who is the idiot? Try doing a little MORE research.
        • reply
          by okay on Apr 11, 2012 at 10:43 AM in reply to
          Sorry he hasn't been arrested I have researched it. You must be thinking the malik shabazz in Oregon the murder I am referring to the terrorist.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 10:44 AM in reply to
          Oh and by the way he also said Obama was a punk and called him uncle Tom, again really sounds like this guy LOVES Obama. yeah....u r an idiot. Have a nice day and don't rot your brain too much watching faux news!
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 10:45 AM in reply to
          Guess you suck at researching too.
        • reply
          by ?? on Apr 11, 2012 at 11:35 AM in reply to
          You both are idiots. Grow up.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 11:41 AM in reply to
          ?? And you are sooooo mature for jumping right on in with the name calling ***rolling eyes***
        • reply
          by okay on Apr 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM in reply to
          Sorry anonymous he has not been arrested even the 2nd in command called out for an attack on Obama last year and she hasn't been touched by secret service. You are the one who sucks at searches, yes he has a criminal record but is untouchable at the moment do to a corrupt DOJ and President. As far as the things he has said that is not an arrest able offense and you are unwilling to check the list of whitehouse guests over the past 4 years you best just shut your mouth little man.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 03:55 PM in reply to
          Sorry okay, you are right, I am a giant ididot.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 08:02 AM
    Why run if you did nothing wrong? Makes no sense, unless he's guilty.
    • reply
      by Sarah on Apr 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM in reply to
      What an enormously stupid comment. You obviously haven't been paying attention to the events surrounding Zimmerman since the incident occured. The media and people like Al Sharpton have painted a target on the man's head. People out there would very much like to kill him, all because the aforementioned people have painted him as a cold-blooded racist and a killer. Nobody can kill in self-defense anymore unless the attacker is of the victim's same race and color!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 10:12 AM in reply to Sarah
        Sarah, are you mentally disabled?
        • reply
          by S'sPlasticMan on Apr 11, 2012 at 10:17 AM in reply to
          More off the meds and facing the lunar cycle- my batteries are dead.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 10:16 AM in reply to Sarah
        Actually I have been and if he were innocent he would want to get his store out there and be heard. Running away onl makes it worse and screams guilt. Your last comment is ignorant and unnecessary by the way, have a great day!
  • by hmmmmm on Apr 11, 2012 at 07:13 AM
    Maybe he has committed suicide. No phone calls, emails, or texts. Has his family heard from him? I wouldn't be surprised. At all.
    • reply
      by anon on Apr 11, 2012 at 09:05 AM in reply to hmmmmm
      That would save on the costs of a long drawn out trial!
    • reply
      by Dilbert on Apr 11, 2012 at 10:29 AM in reply to hmmmmm
      I would so help him tie the rope, sharpen the razor blade, or get the childproof cap off. We could hold a lottery for the chance to help him and pay for Tray's funeral, a statue, and increase school funding.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 11, 2012 at 06:39 AM
    Why would they hang thier hat on this guy just because they haven't heard from him in 2 days? Makes no sense. Probably because they haven't been paid? Who knows. Maybe the shadow.
    • reply
      by DanReeves on Apr 11, 2012 at 08:22 AM in reply to
      Your comment makes no sense. I know what you mean but you used that analogy incorrectly...
  • by Juan on Apr 11, 2012 at 06:36 AM
    You would hide to if all those black people (panthers) were after you!
    • reply
      by Eh on Apr 11, 2012 at 08:41 AM in reply to Juan
      Or if you were say, running to get across the border as you and yours did.
  • by Monique the Cat Lady on Apr 11, 2012 at 06:26 AM
    Could be stress, could be guilt, maybe time will tell.
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