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. jbwhite

    attorney's quit because they can't talk to him? And if they can't talk with him ad infinitum, they can't bill him either!

    April 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • becky

      if they can't talk to him, they can't counsel him. if your client won't listen, you can't represen them or you place yourself in professional jeapordy.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Yawn

    Yet more crap.

    Latino kills unarmed black, but it gets sensationalized as "race crime" and goes viral.

    Meanwhile – 2 white idiots actually commit race/hate crime and kill multiple unarmed/innocents of differing ethnicity and it goes straight to the back page.

    Keep your bleeding hearts out for everyone, or nobody.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • wycliffewy

      Those "2 white idiots" weren't identified, apprehended, released, and the crime scene left to wash away, right? So totally different factors, not at all a comparable case.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • stwebb

      white this...

      black that...

      depends if you watch regular TV or FOX TV...

      George if you're listening...

      Just kill yourself!!!

      April 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dphockey13

      Its only national news because they let him go. Those two clowns got arrested and are being charged. Relax dude. Someone kills your unarmed kid and admits it, yet gets away scott free, bet you make a scene and try it get it national.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • becky

      sorry, but it the crux of your argument that latinos can't commit a racially movited crime against blacks?

      April 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lette

      The got ARRESTED!!!! They are going to trial and they will have their day in court. ARREST GEORGE ZIMMERMAN!

      April 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tiff

      Ok Yawn, I dont know if you heard or not but those guys were actually arrested for their crime. Maybe if they had not been arrested people would be concerned with that issue as well. It kills me how ignorant people can be.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. wycliffewy

    I wonder if they aren't telling us that he did the right thing and used his pistol one last time.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Maybe_Me

    Justice for George! He's already been tried and executed in the court of public opinion. I stand by him and if this does go to trial I will support him to have his day in court to plead his case.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • bhartman36

      He most certainly hasn't been executed in the court of public opinion. To my knowledge, he's still very much alive.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cndhawg

    Looks like this dude has headed for the border in hopes of escaping. If that is the case, the Prosecutor should be put on trial also.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Diddy

    I heard he is hiding out at Epcot Center with Goofy

    April 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Patrish

    Zimmerman's daddy is a retired judge. Bet he's giving him all sort of advice.. Now that we know that, we know why he was not arrested.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NoJustice

    He will not be charged. There's not enough evidence to dispute his claim.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. citizen

    Totally unrelated, but an equal injustice, stories like this are not posted on major media outlets. Why?

    April 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. streetdude66

    this proves hes guilty

    April 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      No, this does not...

      April 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Daddy

      How, streetdude66, does this in any way "prove that he's guilty?" Your comment is absurd & asinine, and it is an indicator that no matter what facts come out in court, you have already made up your mind. Way to be closed-minded, dude. I hope you don't have kids, as I can only imagine how they would interpret your warped logic.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • stwebb

      Hope he doesn't kill himself...

      It'll only prove his guilt!!!

      April 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • daringenuff

      Not necessarily. He could have disappeared because of the Lynch mob mentality of people who already have him convicted in the court of public opinion. Therefore he could likely feel he would be convicted at trial.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RegisQuando

    Whenever he does turn up, Zimmerman will have an automatic job as FAUX News Pundit. Shooting a black guy puts you a shoe-in over there.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Daddy

      Is that so, Regis? Exaclty how many employees of "Faux News," much less on-air talent, do you know to have shot a black man?

      Or do you just go around making up "facts" in order to get a few cheap laughs out of people you've never met on the internet??

      April 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. areck

    These two publicity hounds should be ashamed of themselves. They call a press conference leading everyone to believe that it was be a press conference where George will speak and instead they tell us he's been missing for a few days!!! Oh, puh-leeze! This is not "huge news". This is a legal-malpractice case in the works - oh, how exciting!!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Daddy

      Legal malpractice?

      How about this (my conclusion, which is just as made up as yours, but at least grounded in reality): They called this news conference because, 24/7, their phones and emails are blowing up with requests from the media for comment. If they haven't spoken with him in two days, there is nothing new to comment. It is a lot easier to have one press conference and announce to the world they are recusing themselves from the case, than it is to explain to every research associate at places like CNN, MSNBC, even Fox for goodness sake.

      People, you know that big lump in between your ears? It's your brain, try to use it before posting.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • areck

      Two words for you, Big Daddy: Associated Press.
      Oh, wait, three more words: Attorney-client privlege.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • areck


      April 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ed

    He's smart not taking their calls. Who would want to be represented by lawyers so enamored of the spotlight that they call a press conference to talk about private matters? His relationship with them should be between him and them. This is just them wanting their name in the paper one last time before their minute in the sun is over.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RegisQuando

    If doesn't turn up, Zimmerman will become a mythic folk hero for Southern white conservatives everywhere.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      LOL Good one! I see he stays in contact with FOX News.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. thomiss

    without a gun in his hand he is a coward. Just like he is a real cowarddddddddddddddddd.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
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