Attorneys for George Zimmerman have announced they are withdrawing as his counsel, after losing contact with the Trayvon Martin shooter.The lawyers, Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig, say they last spoke to Zimmerman on Sunday, via text message, but that he has not returned phone calls, emails, or text messages since then.
The two attorneys also conceded that they have never met Zimmerman “face to face,” and that their communication has largely been limited to “texts,” an admission that raises questions about whether or not these lawyers even represented Zimmerman in the first place.
CNN reports that the lawyers never signed a written agreement to represent Zimmerman.
Although the two attorneys have had limited contact with Zimmerman, they emphasised that their former client has not fled, saying that they have a “pretty good idea” about where he is. They gave no clues as to Zimmerman’s whereabouts, but said he is no longer in the state.
“If you are looking in Florida, look much further,” Uhrig said.
In addition to ending contact with his lawyers, Sonner and Uhrig also indicated that Zimmerman has become increasingly unhinged, and recently started to reach out to the media and the special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case on his own.
“George called Sean Hannity of Fox News off the record and he was unwilling to tell us what was said,” Sonner told reporters.
The attorneys were clearly agitated by Zimmerman’s media strategy (namely, the fact that he’s been talking publicly at all). But they left the door open to future representation if Zimmerman explains his behaviour and requests their services.
But the big red flag apparently went up yesterday, when Zimmerman launched a website that solicited PayPal donations for his living expenses and legal defence. Although Zimmerman’s family and attorneys had announced last week that they planned to launch a similar website controlled by Zimmerman’s father, the attorneys learned from reporters Monday that Zimmerman had launched his own site, under a different domain.
According to the lawyers, Zimmerman himself is in control of the Paypal donations to his site, www.therealgeorgezimmerman.com.
The lawyers suggested that Zimmerman has become increasingly unstable since going into hiding, and that he may be suffering from PTSD.
“We’re concerned for his emotional and physical safety,” Zimmerman’s legal counsel said.
UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.:
Time magazine has a statement from Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Trayvon Martin family:
“Trayvon’s family was always concerned that Zimmerman doesn’t try to skirt his legal responsibilities and become a flight risk. 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?”
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