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. legalzen

    Read between the lines. Of all the things that the article listed, the most concerning from the perspective of a defense attorney is that Zimmerman called the prosecutor on his own and is talking to the media on his own. A defense attorney cannot properly represent a client who does not follow directions, who doesn't keep his mouth shut, and who doesn't use the attorneys to help keep him from saying something stupid. It seems, perhaps for a second time, Zimmerman has shown he is going to do what he wants, regardless of what others tell him is in his own best interest.....

    April 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave

    Zimmerman can't hide anywhere in the United States. Once someone recognizes him, it's going to be all over the internet. And with pending charges, no one is going to hire him. The world knows who he is.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mick


    We understand that you were frightened and fired. Just say that. Five years probation, 120 days in jail, then call me. I'll write your book for you!

    April 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joyce

    What happen was~ Zimmerman was fighting with the young man; they rolled on the ground because the young man was trying to get away. On the first confrontation Zimmerman fell on his back and pulled the victim down with him. All during that time Zimmerman was trying to get to his gun and the victim tried to get away, the medical report that the youth had blunt blows to the side of his neck, shoulder, face and stomach and unlined scratches to the hair line. During the last 4 min Zimmerman had his hands on the gun to shoot the youth. The diameter that the bullet landed will prove that this was a close inflected wound. If they had exam the small abrasion on the back of Zimmerman’s head the proof will show that this was NOT a continued, as was stated (his head being hit several times to the ground). There will show that there are no left or right angle cuts or deep open cuts which are ALWAYS visible with the statement made. Zimmerman had a change of clothes in his car and he removed an item prior to the official arriving. The clothing will show that the victim in his effort to get away tore the shirt and several buttons are missing. The truck will show with lighting and testing of blood vapor on the floor where the shirt appeared or was placed at that time. The gun needed 5 thrush pulls to shoot the gun(5 lbs) and if tested is done deeper in the lower trigger a small print of Zimmerman's DNA will be found and a test release can prove on or about the time the DNA got there with power and blood spots (if the evidence has NOT been tampered with). The telephone call (length) and the time of death is only a small key factor... the shirt that Zimmerman removed tells the whole story. There is NO blood spots on the back neck of Zimmerman's shirt. Zimmerman was NOT going back to his truck an asked a question. The question was asked when Zimmerman continued to chase and run up on the youth and the youth did not have a clue as to who Zimmerman was. Zimmerman NEVER stated who he was... As stated after Zimmerman shot the youth which Zimmerman said to himself, "Oh my...." then rolled over on his back on the ground in fear and that's when the lies or new story developed. Bottom line he was given an order, "WE don't need you to do that". So he claims along with the attorney he was getting the address, Zimmerman knew that street like the back of his head and his head. Running up behind the youth and getting an address is 2 different events. He could have said, I am on the corner of AB cross section CD and NOT pursue the youth but he did what he was TOLD NOT TO DO is the BOTTOM LINE.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      Comic genius!

      April 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

      @ Joyce:
      "Given an order?"
      "We don't need you to do that" is not imperative.
      "Do not do that," or, "we order you not to do that," would be "an order."
      I am not the first writer to post that information here, but this board is full of distorted thinking and twisted phrases.

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

      Every word of your post is fiction. You have no idea what happened. You're a big part of the problem. You don't have the intelligence to discuss this situation. Please be quiet and just listen.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • abdulla oblongata

      All we asked is if you wanted fries with that Big Mac. Please drive up to the next window, sir.

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

    Stop it daddy! When I assaulted that cop you got the charges dropped! When I threw that woman across the room and broke her ankle you made it all go away! When I had to show in court because of that restraining order you were there! Don't tell me that you can't make a phonecall and make this all disappear! Do it now!

    April 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. usa as of today ©™™®

    What is going on with news hour today. Frozen picture of train yard.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Raul

    Did anybody ever think that Trayvon feel that his life was in danger, cause I know if I was a kid and I saw a grown man aproaching me and in the rain, I would feel threating and I would do what ever it takes to get away from him .Stand your ground Trayvon.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wow

    What happen to innocent until proven guilty, no one can say what happen or take a side until all the evidence is out. Also how can we say this isn't a racial issue when the black panthers are involved, the equivalent to the kkk. Everyone needs to cool down and let everything unfold befor joining the mob. I feel bad for Zimmerman, because even if proved innocent there will be a mob out for his head. people only want to see what they believe, and not all facts even if it possable hurts there side.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tonyt

      a man follows a person he identifies as a teen, who he also identified as running away from him, and claims to have stopped following him, yet 3 minutes later he's dead and admits to being the one who killed him. I don't need to wait for a court case. I am quite confident that if I turn around tomorrow and see Zimmerman following me I'm gonna wet my pants in fear. He doesn't need to be guilty in a court of law. The simple facts I just stated are enough for me.
      Others however seem to find sense in a man who is on the phone following someone who is running away from him somehow managed to stop, walk back to his truck, encounter the boy again, travel to the destination in which the altercation occurred which wasn't near the truck, fight, be seen by witnesses who saw them fighting and who saw them separated on the ground, begin yelling for quite a few seconds, and then be fighting for his life, all in a 3 minute time span.
      I on the other hand have found that I've grabbed my keys to head to work in the morning, in a panic, cuz I'm late, locked my door, walked to my driveway which is about 100 feet from my door, got in the car only to see that 2 minutes have passed, all while I was rushing. Sometimes time moves slow, sometimes it moves fast. If he can do all that in 3 minutes, and not figure out to put his weapon down and start CPR in the 60 seconds it took for the police to get there, I'm thinking he is either really really slow, or really really fast, but you can't have both.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • juskishi

      absolutely correct, great post. this guy has no chance of being found innocent in the court of public opinion. it's too bad all the racists have to use the race card to automatically try and convict a presumably innocent man under the law.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geezy

      How can you compare the Black Panther Party to the KKK? Who have the Black Panthers killed? Who have they hung from a tree? Contrary to what you think, the Black Panthers were for equality "by any means necessary". They are tired of the way black people in America are treated in America. Just because we don't want to roll over and accept the abuse doesn't make them monsters. Name an instance of them being the aggressor. I'll wait......

      April 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tonyt

    Oh gosh, I hope he's not in NY. I bet all those supporters of his that thought he was tucked away in Florida and they would never have to worry about Zimmerman a few steps behind them are thinking twice. How sad is it that that bit of info makes me nervous.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pam

      Ya, free to move about the country...coming soo to a neighborhood near you...beware, ppl, loose cannon running around...

      April 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nate

    When is Eric Holder going to go after his bruthas that are threatening Mr Zimmerman?

    April 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dave

    Most of us are just about sick and tired of the whiny African Americans crying racism every time they do not get their way. They are just jokes wanting a handout.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geezy

      Spoken like a true racist 🙂

      April 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Good Riddance

    Hopefully Zimmerman leaves the country and takes his brain-dead Southern conservative supporters with him.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Salvice

    If his whereabouts are unknown, then no one is safe.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chrissy

    @ rhope, if he commits suicide the police should be held accountable? WTH kinda logic is that? Theyve already given him every break! And this clown thinks we should give him $ to pay for his defence? He doesnt deserve a defence. And whats next, a book?

    April 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dan

    I saw a comment that said Zimmerman's altercation with a policeman that landed him in jail was his attempt to protect a perfect stranger, a homeless------------------BLACK MAN. Can anyone verify that?

    April 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
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