Polk County, FL – George Zimmerman, the man acquitted in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, has filed a $100 million lawsuit for “malicious prosecution” against Martin’s family and others.
Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch leader who fatally shot Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, but was acquitted using Florida's Stand Your Ground defense in a 2013 jury trial.
Martin was visiting his father in Sanford when he encountered Zimmerman, who told police he was out patrolling the neighborhood when he encountered the teen, the Miami Herald reported.
Zimmerman had reported Martin to police before and was following him before the two engaged in a physical altercation that ended when the 28-year-old Zimmerman fatally shot the teen.
Prosecutors called it an unjustified shooting of a teenager eating Skittles and Zimmerman claimed it was self-defense, according to the Miami Herald.
The jury believed Zimmerman’s account of the incident and he was acquitted under the state’s then-new Stand Your Ground law.
Zimmerman has had a few brush-ups with the law since the Trayvon Martin trial ended.
In 2015, he was arrested for throwing a wine bottle at his girlfriend but she decided not to press charges, according to The Hill.
And Zimmerman was given 12 months’ probation in November of 2018 on a misdemeanor stalking charge after he was accused of threatening to feed a private investigator to an alligator.
The private investigator claimed that Zimmerman had called him 21 times, texted him 38 times, and left seven voicemails in less than two-and-a-half hours, The Washington Post reported.
His newly-filed lawsuit alleged that he was prosecuted based on false evidence and accused Martin’s family of engineering false testimony, the Miami Herald reported.
The suit asked for $100 million in damages and claimed defamation, abuse of civil process, and conspiracy.
Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, is the lead defendant, but Zimmerman has also named Martin’s father Tracy Martin, several of the prosecutors, a couple of witnesses at the trial, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the family’s attorney, Ben Crump, and Harper Collins, the publishing house that printed Crump’s book about the trial, the Miami Herald reported.
The suit alleged that the defendants “have worked in concert to deprive Zimmerman of his constitutional and other legal rights.”
Zimmerman has claimed that the entire Trayvon Martin narrative perpetuated by the defendants was a “hoax” built on “witness fraud,” according to The Washington Post.
Fulton became a national social justice advocate in the wake of her son’s shooting and acted as a campaign surrogate for Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 Presidential bid, the Miami Herald reported.
She is currently running for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.
Crump, who represented Martin’s family during the trial and afterwards, wrote a book about the trial entitled “Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People” that was released in October, the Miami Herald reported.
“I have every confidence that this unfounded and reckless lawsuit will be revealed for what it is – another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others,” the attorney said in a written statement released on Wednesday.
Zimmerman’s attorneys had planned to announce the lawsuit at the premiere of a documentary titled “The Trayvon Hoax” in Coral Gables, the Miami Herald reported.
But after news of the suit became public, the venue hosting the premiere announced it was cancelling and that they hadn’t known what sort of event had been planned when they rented the theater to Zimmerman’s team.
Zimmerman is being represented by Larry Klayman, a high-profile attorney who was the founder of activist group Judicial Watch, the Miami Herald reported.
Klayman previously represented a wounded police officer in his suit against Black Lives Matter.
The officer who was injured by a rock thrown during a riot after the officer-involved shooting of Alton Sterling, according to AP News.
A judge ultimately tossed the lawsuit after determining that Black Lives Matter didn't exist and therefore couldn't be sued.