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. Luke

    Lets be honest, these two guys dumped their client when he either couldn't pay or they cracked under pressure....they should be ashamed of their behavior. Also the media is terrible...they twist the story and are heartless. What about the black panthers...why are they getting arrested for putting a bounty on zimmerman. This whole situation is terrible and needs to be resolved peacefully...

    April 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Truth

      New Black Panther Party? So now they should be the target them because they put a bounty on Zimmerman. Nothing illegal about saying "find this guy and I'll pay you 10k", private investigators do that for a living. Not like NBPP said dead or alive or anything. A bounty on someone doesn't mean you are out to kill them.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Geri Chatmon

    I think this press conference was just a ploy to get Zimmerman's story out. I don't believe Zimmerman fired these guys but after reading the comments on his website, he knew the public opiinion swayed against him. He had to figure out how to get his side of the story out . He and his attorneys came up with this. The entire press comference was them trying to sway public opinion and their excuse for holding the press conference was weak "So you all won't keep calling us about it"

    April 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg M

      I agree that the stated reasons for the press conference sound fishy, but I can't agree that this is an effort on the part of Zimmerman and the attorneys to sway public opinion in favor of Zimmerman. It makes the attorneys look like bumbling fools (what kind of attorney, after all, fails to meet with his/her client in person?), and it makes Zimmerman look like a total nutcase.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sam

    The Travon/Zimmerman case is a horor and a tragedy regardless of the outcome. It is made more of a tragedy by all those that use it to fuel racial hate. Conversely there is a video report from 4/4 of a "very" white young man being robbed, attacked, beaten and stripped in Baltimore by a group of black youths... The reporter characterizes it as inhuman behavior - but not a hint of any racial overtones. Interesting.

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

      There will always be racism as long as there are people. You can try to hide it. But you can't tie a bow around a pile of $%#t just to make it look better. Its still a pile

      April 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annoyed@Ignorance

      Agree with James ^^^

      April 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • juskishi

      yes it's a damn shame that the media only reports racism in one direction.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. WorriedTX

    Maybe he decided to hire Jose Baez. As inbreed as that seems coming from Florida!

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

    Run Bambi Run!! Not only do they want him dead, they want to eat him.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. WorriedTX

    Maybe he has hired Jose Baez.,, as inbred as that seems, it is Florida!

    April 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Barbara

    This is the attorneys way of diverting the whole situation.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. usa as of today ©™™®

    Only lawyers could afford suits like that or to quit a job.
    Well good for them finding an opportunity to live the American dream.
    And lucky for lawyers the American people have rediscovered bankers.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Barry

    I am going to move to Florida, pursue Zimmerman with my Chinese SKS, if he runs, I will chase him and when he stops, I'll questions him, start a fight and shoot is A$$. Then I would be standing my ground. for those of you who are pro-Zimmerman, I will do the same to you. After all, I will call the cops just to say you look strange (because you don't look, talk, walk, or better yet, you are wearing different clothing) Surely, I will be standing my ground.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Truth

      nice one 🙂

      April 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JanetFromMD

    Jose Baez was used as a CNN "expert" in discussing this case a few weeks ago. He seemed to have already made up his mind that Zimmerman was innocent of any wrong doing. Maybe Zimmerman is lining up Baez to defend him. He seems able to pull the wool over jurys' eyes.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SK

    stop the witchcraft
    He's not indicted or convicted yet.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg M

      Trayvon Martin wasn't indicted or convicted either. Why does Zimmerman have the right to administer the death penalty on a person who was at least as innocent as Zimmerman is?

      April 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. WeAllAreWatching2012

    Zimmerman's new legal team is his dad Robert Zimmerman, retired U.S. Magistrate of the Middle District of Florida. His website was set up for his dad's retainer, legal fees and his one way ticket to flee arrest. His former lawyers confirmed he was not in Florida that he is somewhere far away.... WOW!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Barry

    ASDFR. That is the problem in america. The justice system seldom do the job when its situations such as this... where have you been? Since Blacks have landed in this America, they have been trampled on, used, refused and their only rewards are prison or death.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tommy C

    We are tired of you blacks and your sharptons and james idiots. This is WHY we feel the way we do about you people. Most of you are nothing but a bunch of thugs with your stupid rap music and the way you act. Look at your black pro athletes... having multiple children with multiple women... and don't support your children or mentor them to be positive contributors to society. Yes, there is white trash out there, and they are losers too.... but we are certainly sick and tired of you people playing the race card in everthing you do. This is why this cra{} will never go away. Start being responsible, contribute to society as a whole, and quit acting like thugs!

    April 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. juskishi

    if you listen to the attorney's timeline and explanation of the evidence, it sure sounds like zimmerman is innocent and was actually the victim of assault and was justified in defending himself.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
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