George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed and killed Trayvon Martin, is now suing Trayvon Martin’s family, their attorneys, and prosecutors for over $100 million in damages.
The lawsuit alleges “malicious prosecution” by prosecutors, defamation by both the Martins’ defense attorney and Rupert Murdoch’s book publishing company, and “civil conspiracy” by the Martins family and lawyer “to put on a false witness with a made-to-order false storyline to try to fraudulently create probable cause to” get a conviction.
Benjamin Crump, the Martin family’s defense attorney, responded Wednesday saying: “I have every confidence that this unfounded and reckless lawsuit will be revealed for what it is – another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others.”
Zimmerman’s attorney, Boca Raton-based Larry Klayman, a former federal prosecutor, said the lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Polk County. He alleges that the prosecution’s key witness in his 2013 murder trial, Rachel Jeantel, was an “imposter and fake witness.”
Zimmerman was assaulted by the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin when he shot him in self-defense. Zimmerman stood trial for murder and was acquitted.
The suit is based on the results of an investigation by filmmaker Joel Gilbert, whose documentary The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America uncovered the witness swap.
According to Gilbert, 16-year-old Brittany Diamond Eugene was on the phone with Trayvon during his final minutes. After he was killed, she faced enormous pressure to come forward. She eventually gave a phone interview but then disappeared, and 18-year-old Rachel Jeantel took her place. Gilbert believes that this didn’t come out back in 2012 because “the media wanted to turn out black voters for Obama’s reelection,” and so they all “pushed the race-fueled narrative that a white racist shot a smallish black child who was just trying to get home with candy.”
Here is the trailer for the documentary:
Despite the evidence that the prosecution relied on a fake witness, the Martin family’s attorney claimed that Zimmerman “continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions.” He added, “This tale defies all logic, and it’s time to close the door on these baseless imaginings.”
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis