From The Orlando Sentinel
SANFORD, Fla. – Like two worried parents with a wayward child, George Zimmerman’s lawyers stood puzzled in front of the Seminole County Courthouse on Tuesday and admitted they’d lost control.
Zimmerman has not talked to or communicated with them since Sunday, said Craig Sonner, one of his lawyers.
Worse, Zimmerman has done two dangerous things, his lawyers said: He telephoned a special prosecutor who’s trying to put together a criminal case against him, and he called Sean Hannity of Fox News.
Both were bad ideas, said Sonner and co-counsel Hal Uhrig.
The call to the office of Special Prosecutor Angela Corey apparently did no harm, Uhrig said.
“They cut him off,” Sonner said.
Still, Uhrig said, “We were a bit astonished.”
Sonner and Uhrig admitted they are flummoxed by what Zimmerman is doing. They held the news conference, they said, because they now believe they are off the case. It is no longer ethical for them to present themselves as his lawyers, they said.
“He’s not returning my calls. He’s not returning my texts. He’s not returning my emails,” said Sonner, adding that he has tried many, many times to get a response since he last heard from Zimmerman on Sunday. “I said, ‘Please call me. Please call me collect.'”
Until then, they had communicated at least once a day, Sonner said.
Despite stepping back from the case, Uhrig gave an impassioned defense of Zimmerman, 28.
He is no racist, Uhrig said, and all the evidence that Uhrig knows about corroborates Zimmerman’s account that he acted in self-defense after Trayvon Martin knocked him down and began pounding Zimmerman’s head on a sidewalk.
If there was a crime, Uhrig said, Trayvon committed it.
“The first person who swung, from what we can tell, was Trayvon,” Uhrig said. “The crime was battery by Trayvon Martin against George Zimmerman.”
A mortician didn’t find any injuries on Trayvon’s body, Uhrig said, because he was the one throwing the punches – not the one taking them.
The lawyers said they would eagerly go back to work for Zimmerman. All it would take is one quick phone call or text message from him.
Tuesday’s news conference was a bizarre twist in a case that for weeks has captivated the nation and forced people to ask hard questions about racial profiling and gun control.
Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, shot and killed Trayvon, an unarmed black 17-year-old, on Feb. 26 after seeing the youth walk through his Sanford neighborhood, calling police and following him on foot. Zimmerman told police he acted in self-defense, and they let him go.
For weeks, protesters have held rallies in Sanford and cities across the country, demanding that Zimmerman be arrested.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, representing Trayvon’s family, said he was alarmed by Tuesday’s news.