Attorneys drop Zimmerman
Attorneys Craig Sonner (left) and Hal Uhrig told reporters Tuesday afternoon that they hadn't heard from George Zimmerman since Sunday.
April 10th, 2012
05:29 PM ET

Attorneys drop Zimmerman

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.

soundoff (173 Responses)
  1. kay

    I will just be glad when all the "real" truth comes out in this case.....

    April 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Crips vs. Bloods

    For every case that resembles Travon vs. Zimmerman, we have a thousand cases of one black gangsta murdering another black gangsta, with the 'N' word flying free like the eagle. Why do you all focus on one tiny little crap story and ignore the thousands of others? If Trayvon were white he would have still got shot. race has NOTHING to do with the Travon case. Race has everything to do with the 'crips and bloods' of this world though.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Because this story is not about black on black crime. The issue has to do with a corrupt police department and a law that seems flawed in that there is no accountability of killing a person- even out of "self defense". The reason this story came about if you recall, was because the parents could not get ANY answered at to what happened.Had the police atleast done that, this would not have been a major story. Comprende? Also , you can stop using black on black crime as a scapegoat. Its not half as big of a problem as the media and bigots would make it out to be. Do yourself a favor. Find out the murder statistics for 2011 by race. You will see that the figures for white and black are actually quite close for males . Then out of the blacks who were murdered, find out the percentage that falls under black on black crime. You will be shocked to see that it doesn't even make up a majority of black murders. Secondly, where is the concern for white on white murders? Do hear about do you? So I think people on BOTH sides should stop race baiting and creating an exaggerated crisis unless they can provide hard facts.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Truth

      That is a pretty shallow way to look at it. People are focusing on it because it has nothing to do with gang violence. It has to do with a wannabe cop trying to play policeman and making a tragic mistake. And if Trayvon were white trust me this case wouldn't exist. Zimmerman would have thought he was a neighbours relative or lived on that street. You can't blame gang violence on Zimmerman fearing a tall a black guy walking down the street. Also you are a Hippocroit, if race didn't matter why are you bringing up the bloods and crips shooting people? I hope justice is severed soon. Regardless what happen, Zimmerman instigated the confrontation, he followed Trayvon. The 911 operator told him not to follow Trayvon, he did, case closed.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • She Speaks

      The reason is because police actually investigate and lock them up. So because black kill blacks that means white should be able to kill one and no one speak about it that sounds like what racist are trying to say when they throw up black on black crime guess what when a black person kills a black person the police actually investigate and put them in jail. ZIMMERMAN actually sound like a typical street fight because he was not a cop he had no right to confront any one so he instigated a fight started he decided to kill a man he should go to jail just like any other thug..... so you assume that because you hid behind money, law enforcement and privilege that means you don't had hoodlum like ideology you can't kill people just because you losing a fight its not stand our ground or self defense its getting your ass kicked for messing with someone that was where they BELONGED.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Valerie Styles

      It is such a big story because this has been going on far too long, on all sides. It needs to stop!!!!We are talking about equality & justice for all, not color

      April 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • zaxd038022

      You win for the most ignoring comment of the night.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Marion

    I would be willing to bet that Sean Hannity has something to do with why Zimmerman won't respond to these two lawyers. Just a hunch......that Hannity referred him to an attorney. We'll see.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Elizabeth

    Zimmerman's former lawyers are full of themselves. Trayvon Martin actually should have the stand your ground law on his side because George – from the evidence presented thus far – was stalking him in his vehicle & most likely Trayvon felt threatened & scarred of George. So the law should actually be on the side of Trayvon not George. Could someone at HLN please bring this up – instead of everyone talking about George being protected by the Stand your ground law.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Iyana

    WOWW! News Break people....George Zimmerman is going to plead insane!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sagebrush Shorty

    Why should he stick around? He hasn't been charged with anything so he can co wherever he pleases. With the New Black Panthers advocating bounty hunting and rioting he would be crazy to stay in Florida. Perhaps Mr. Holder will investigate the Panthers but I won't hold my breath waiting.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Valerie Styles

      perhaps he is having plastic surgery!!!

      April 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Val

    Is there a reason these guys are going into such detail about the case and going to great lengths to defend Zimmerman right now, after they've already declared they're no longer his lawyers? Isn't this not their job anymore? What are they doing?

    April 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trina

      that is exactly what I was thinking?

      April 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Truth

      They are sending a message to Zimmerman as they know he is watching cable TV somewhere. How else are they going to deliver the message of calling it quits if they lost contact with him. They are also begging him to call them (on public TV), "please George come back to us, we need the money and popularity from your case" basically.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Trina

    Why are they still talking...i thought this was about them stepping down...not putting all the evidence out in the public.......this look like a planned news conference to get George Zimmerman's side out.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Valerie Styles

      they said, that he is in hiding, if not found guillty, is he going to come out of hiding????

      April 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ABC,123

    Why isn't anyone covering the connection that Zimmermans Dad, the retired judge, has used all his connections to keep George out of jail. I hope they supeona the phone records of the judge from that night. I think they will find the missing peice of the puzzle as to why charges were not filed and all previous assault records from George had been erased.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. una amiga

    It doesn't seem to be a very good reason to drop him just because he hasn't contacted them in a couple days. It makes me think there's more to the story. Maybe they wanted the donations to go to them directly. After all, I doubt Zimmerman can't have much money. Zimmerman's site even says to ignore other sites set up for him, since he's not getting the money. Either that or the lawyers just decided defending him wasn't going to be the big case for them to make their reputations on. Personally, I think he should bhae convicted. He approached Martin. Anything that happened after that is his fault. Police recently charged someone with manslaughter because he called 911 and said he was robbed at gunpoint. The police later shot an innocent man and are blaming the 911 caller. If THAT guy can be charged, how can they NOT charge Zimmerman?? Unbelievable

    April 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Valerie Styles

      I agree with you, and let us not forget the grown man that invited a 16 yr old over to his front yard (in central Fl too) to have a duel with his 16 yr old son, the invitee got the best of the man's son, so the grown man decided to beat the 16 yr old almost senseless, and he tried the "SYG" law, but he is now facing up to 20 yrs in prision ( a beating) ppl

      April 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Aaron

    According to this lawyer if someone is pursuing you down a dark alley and you feel threatened you have no right to defend yourself unless they stab you in the back first. Trayvon didn't just decide to beat up Zimmerman. Zimmerman did something to make Trayvon fear for his safety which is why the fight occurred. I don't believe the gun should have ever come out. This law is not right if it defends something like this.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • juskishi

      so you should be able to beat someone to a pulp, maybe to death because you THINK that they are following you and THINK they may do something even though they've shown no signs of aggression? yeah, makes sense. the kid was a thug.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • mac victor

      FINALLY SOMEONE GOT IT RIGHT. TRAYVON SAW A BIG GUY GET OUT OF HIS SUV. (even though we know that dispatch said don't do it.) LOGICALLY G.Z. MUST HAVE RUN OR ALMOST RUN TO GET NEAR TRAYVON. THAT IN ITSELF IS A THREAT TO TRAYVON.
      IN KEEPING WITH THE "STAND YOUR GROUND LAW" HE HITS THE PERSON ATTACKING HIM. (and maybe he would be alive if he had run) G.Z THEN SHOT HIM. AT LEAST MANSLAUGHTER. IF I WERE G.Z. I WOULD PLEAD OUT AND GET ON WITH LIFE IN JAIL. WHETHER IT WAS RACIAL OR NOT, I DON'T KNOW. BUT G.Z. ATTACKED TRAYVON AND HE STOOD HIS GROUND.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. serg

    If he george was the part of the watch team, why does he need to go and check the address, he should at least know the streets and are to tell the officers....doesnt sound right.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • juskishi

      they said get the house # and it was dark and raining. makes total sense.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • serg

      dont think police would be dumb enough to ask someone to go and check it out if he felt he could be in danger...

      April 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. juskishi

    that attorney just wiped the floor with all the zimmerman bashers. just wait til the rest of the evidence comes out. the police asked him to get the # of the house martin was at? then on the way back, martin confronts him, says now you do have a problem, hits him and breaks his nose? zimmerman was the vicitm of assault. all you protestors, and race baiters should be ashamed of yourselves. if i was zimmerman, i'd be calling these guys back, they're awesome.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right vs. Wrong"

    The attorneys said Tuesday that they’re no longer representing him, because they have lost contact with him?
    Maybe he got a little overwhelmed. Maybe George Zimmerman is working on setting up "block watches" in other towns, so others can "stand thier ground" too. You think?

    April 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sprocketart

    Thank you former Zimmerman lawyers for standing up to the court of public opinion and standing up to the press for trying to create an outcome that is racially motivated. My hat is off to you both for saying things of such that no one else would say!

    April 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
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