The following are details from a press conference by the former attorneys for George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who authorities say fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Florida. The attorneys said Tuesday that they're no longer representing him, because they have lost contact with him.
Zimmerman's attorneys, Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner, said that Zimmerman has taken a number of steps without them since Sunday, but that they would be willing to represent him again if he asked them.
[Updated at 5:29 p.m. ET] The news conference has finished. The attorneys used much of it to continue to argue that Zimmerman acted in self-defense in the shooting, which police said happened after Zimmerman had called 911 to complain about a suspicious person in his neighborhood in Sanford, Florida.
Uhrig said Zimmerman's account of his February 26 confrontation with Trayvon Martin was that Martin became the aggressor when Zimmerman asked Martin what he was doing, and that Martin hit Zimmerman in the nose.
The crime that was committed that night, Uhrig said, was battery against George Zimmerman.
[Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET] Uhrig and Sonner have said several times that they believe the evidence in the Trayvon Martin shooting, including forensics, will show that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.
"We still, frankly, are optimistic there will never be a need for him to turn himself in," Uhrig said.
"There's no evidence since the day the Earth cooled whatsoever that George Zimmerman ever has been racially motivated," Uhrig added.
Some supporters of Trayvon Martin, who was black, say they wonder whether Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, was motivated by race. Uhrig said that Zimmerman is not racist.
[Updated at 5:13 p.m. ET] Uhrig and Sonner said they have yet to meet Zimmerman in person, and through Sunday had contacted him only by phone, texts and e-mails.
Sonner said he is "reasonably sure" he knows where Zimmerman is, adding that his former client is somewhere in the United States.
Uhrig said that people who were hunting for Zimmerman "can stop looking in Florida."
[Updated at 5:08 p.m. ET] Uhrig said that pressure might have "pushed him a little over the edge and (he) thought, 'I'm going to take care of it myself."
"Our thought process is, we're professionals. We do this for a living. We try to do a good job of it, but we are not going to put ourselves out to the public ... unless he makes it clear to us that he wants us as his lawyers," Uhrig said.
[Updated at 5:02 p.m. ET] Uhrig said Zimmerman has taken his own steps since they lost contact with him on Sunday, including:
- Setting up his own website under a different Web address than what the attorneys had arranged with him.
- Speaking to Fox News' Sean Hannity by phone, apparently off the record. "(Hannity) is not willing to tell us what our client told him."
- Calling the special prosecutor's office directly, as opposed to through his attorneys, and offering to come in and answer investigators' questions. The prosecutor's office told Zimmerman that they weren't going to talk to him without counsel, Uhrig said.
[Updated at 4:52 p.m. ET] Uhrig said he and Sonner still stand by what they've said previously in defense of Zimmerman. Sonner said he still believes Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense.
[Updated at 4:49 p.m. ET] The attorneys for George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who authorities say fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Florida, say they're no longer representing him, because they have lost contact with him.
Attorneys Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig say they last had contact with Zimmerman on Sunday. Since then, Zimmerman hasn't returned their phone calls or text messages, they told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
"He has gone on his own. I don't know what he's doing or who he's talking to," Sonner said. "... “I cannot represent a client who doesn’t stay in contact with me.”
Sonner said he and Uhrig would resume representing Zimmerman if he asks them.
[Initial post, 4:22 p.m. ET] The attorneys for neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who authorities say fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Florida, are expected to speak to the news media about the case Tuesday afternoon.
Watch this page for developments.
Police say Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African-American, on February 26 in Sanford, Florida, after Martin began walking home from a convenience store. Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, had called 911 to complain about a suspicious person in the neighborhood.
Zimmerman told Sanford police the shooting was self-defense, and Zimmerman was released without charges. Authorities have said Zimmerman was not immediately charged because there were no grounds, at the outset, to disprove his account that he'd acted to protect himself.
But thousands have converged on Sanford to join in protests calling for Zimmerman's arrest and criticizing the police department's handling of the case. Martin's death has triggered a nationwide debate about race in America and Florida's "stand your ground" law, which allows people to use deadly force anywhere they feel a reasonable threat of death or serious injury.
A special prosecutor is investigating the case, and has not indicated when she will decide whether to file charges.
I believe Innocent until proven guilty. There is more to the story and Trayvon wasn't perfect in all of this. I am waiting for the unedited 911 tapes to come out so we can hear the truth.
They didn't quit, they were replaced! Obviously, CNN has learned nothing from the egg on their face of accusing George Zimmerman of being a white racist who gunned down an innocent black youth and it appears as if they're trying to lose the remaining half of their followers this year! ....people are sick of it!
Who replaced them?
....maybe the "black panthers" murdered George? ...that would be just fine for our supposed Harvard law prof. president!
What the hell are you talking about? What does the president have to do with this story? Your whole comment makes no sense. Joking about the Black Panthers murdering Trayvon is sick. You need treatment. This is someones child, grow up!
The question is, will Zimmerman return if the special prosecutor desides to arrest him or will he run? In fact I wonder now if he is even the the U.S. ?? And if anyone has egg on their face it is these two attornies that have dumped Z because he will not even talk to them?
You think the colored are acting up now? Just see how they go wild if Obamo looses. They are animals with no self control. Straight out of the jungle.
I know it's hard. But try to show some class here, Trailer Park.
@Chrissy- That is very disrespectful to over one billion blacks all over the world; especially those of us from the "jungle" of africa. Now I know how some of you reason.
Are you kidding me, Chrissy? First of all, We don't say "colored" anymore....It's 2012. 2nd, I am APPALLED at your lack of intelligence and suggest that you should be banned from posting any type of comments on web pages. 3rd, have some self-respect – you had to know people would think MUCH less of you and any feedback you may have given just based on your ignorant statement. Going to have to "report abuse", sweety.....It's really sad that people like you still lvie in AMERICA.
@ Chrissy- Don't be ignorant!!!!
Phew, that's a relief. For a second, I thought you were going to say they hide behind a false presumption of anonymity on the internet and type racist insults because they are probably cowards in real life... whoops, nope, that's just you, Christy aka the trademark NOBODY WANTS.
Yea, It's a shame SOME people riot when there is an injustice. I guess Chrissy would find it more acceptable if it was a sporting event.
@Megan Grawe – who replaced them?
No matter if the killing was in self defense or racially motivated, Zimmerman murdered an unarmed teen. George should have been arrested and held responsible for his actions that night. If arrested he may have had the opportunity to prove his accusations however he was not arrested and if charges are brought the next step will be finding him to make an arrest. If he feels he is innocent he should turn himself in and let the courts decide his faith.
Why would anyone drop a client who would thrust them into the lime light making a name for themselves. You can't buy this kind of advertisement.
Keep an eye out on Hal Uhrig and Craig Sooner. They are the former attorneys for George Zimmerman. Watch there assets increase. New house , new cars, kids college tuitions paid for etc. They have been bought or pressured out of the light.
Duh! If you haven't noticed this is being turned into a racial battle and the facts should be presented accurately for people to formluate their own opinions.
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