George Zimmerman, who shot dead unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, is suing his family, their attorney, the US state and others for around $100m (£77m). The neighbourhood watch volunteer was cleared of the 17-year-old’s murder in one of Florida’s most-high profile criminal cases.
US law allowed him to say he shot Trayvon in self-defence, but the teenager’s family and friends always insisted it was murder.
The lawsuit claims the Martin family and lawyers used a fake witness against George Zimmerman.
“The prosecution’s key witness in his 2013 murder trial… was an imposter” who “provided false statements to incriminate Zimmerman based on coaching from others”, his lawyer Larry Klayman said in a statement.
The lawsuit accuses Trayvon’s parents and the family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump of forcing Brittany Diamond Eugene, 16, who was reportedly the teen’s girlfriend, to make a recorded statement that implicated George Zimmerman as the person who started the row with Trayvon.
Brittany was on the phone with the 17-year-old moments before it happened, the suit said.
It also alleges that Brittany’s half-sister, Rachel Jeantel, pretended to be Brittany when she was interviewed by prosecutors and provided false statements to incriminate George Zimmerman based on coaching from others in court during his trial.
Benjamin Crump said in a statement, on behalf of himself and the Martin family, that he has confidence that the “unfounded and reckless” lawsuit will be revealed as “another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others.”
Trayvon’s uncle, Ronald Fulton, 56, claimed the lawsuit was no more than a publicity stunt to promote a forthcoming documentary titled the “Trayvon Hoax” that claims Rachel Jeantel was an impostor. READ MORE