George Zimmerman, the man acquitted for the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, is suing the family of the slain teenager – as well as Florida prosecutors – for $100 million, arguing “false evidence” was manufactured during his trial.
The suit was filed in Florida’s Polk County Circuit Court on Wednesday, seeking significant damages for defamation, conspiracy and abuse of civil process. The complaint largely rests on Rachel Jeantel, a star witness for the prosecution in Zimmerman’s 2013 murder trial, alleging she gave untruthful testimony while falsely posing as Martin’s girlfriend, Diamond Eugene.
Zimmerman’s attorneys allege Martin’s family, their lawyers and state prosecutors “ordered, commanded, conspired, and covered up the illegal substitution of Defendant Eugene” – who they deem a “legitimate” witness – with Jeantel, “an imposter and fake witness who told a made to order false storyline to prosecutors.”
Attorney Larry Klayman, founder of legal watchdog Judicial Watch and a longtime conservative stalwart, will represent Zimmerman in the case, which names Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton as the primary defendant. Ben Crump, the Martin family’s attorney, is also named in the suit for allegedly attempting to “deprive” Zimmerman of his constitutional rights, as well as Florida prosecutors Angela Corey, Bernie de la Rionda and John Guy.
Klayman says the defendants conspired to perpetrate a “fraud” on the court during the 2013 trial, adding “It was a complete travesty of justice which destroyed my client’s life.”
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Responding to the allegations on behalf of himself and the Martin family on Wednesday, Crump said Zimmerman “continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions,” calling his charges “outlandish.”
The new suit is largely based on the findings of ‘The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America,’ a book authored by Joel Gilbert that was later turned into a documentary. Though the film was set to premier at a Florida art festival on Thursday, the venue cancelled the screening after Zimmerman launched his suit, stating it was “not aware of all of the details surrounding the event.”
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Martin’s killing and Zimmerman’s subsequent murder trial were intensely controversial, sparking accusations of racism and double standards in the criminal justice system, as well as protests around the country which provided inspiration for Black Lives Matter, an activist movement focused on police brutality against minorities.
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