George Zimmerman sued the family of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old who he shot and killed in 2017, for $100 million, accusing Martin’s parents of defamation and makes other claims.
Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, said he shot Martin out of self-defense in 2012 and was ultimately acquitted. The teen was visiting his father at the time.
When he was acquitted, it sparked protests and a national debate on race relations.
He said a key witness, Rachel Jeantel, was actually an “imposter and [a] fake witness” during Zimmerman’s trial. The lawsuit’s allegations are a culmination of what was published in a book by Joel Gilbert, titled, “The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America.”
The lawsuit claimed there was defamation by Martin’s attorney and a book publishing company, “malicious prosecution” by prosecutors, and a conspiracy by Martin’s family and a lawyer to use a false witness with a made-to-order false storyline to try to fraudulently create probable cause to” get Zimmerman convicted.
“This tale defies all logic, and it’s time to close the door on these baseless imaginings,” it said.
Zimmerman’s lawyers alleged that Jeantel lied about being Martin’s girlfriend and also lied about being on the phone with the teen before he was shot. They alleged that she also “lied about her identity,” the paper reported.
“Defendant Jeantel lied repeatedly about having a relationship with Trayvon, about being on the phone with Trayvon in the days and minutes up to his death, and lied about everything she claimed to have heard over the phone in the hours and minutes prior to Trayvon’s death,” the suit said. “Defendant Jeantel also lied about her identity, falsely claiming her nickname to be ‘Diamond Eugene.’”
The suit then said that the last person Martin spoke to was actually Jeantel’s half-sister, Brittany Diamond Eugene. She didn’t want to testify that she was speaking to Martin before his death, so Jeantel pretended that she was talking to the teen, The Associated Press reported. Jeantel ended up testifying in the 2013 trial.
The Martin family attorney, Benjamin Crump, described the lawsuit as baseless.
“This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, re-victimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions. He would have us believe that he is the innocent victim of a deep conspiracy, despite the complete lack of any credible evidence to support his outlandish claims,” Crump stated. “This tale defies all logic, and it’s time to close the door on these baseless imaginings.”