George Zimmerman's attorneys said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that they will no longer be representing him. The attorneys claim that Zimmerman repeatedly rebuffed their legal advice, and that they have now lost contact with him.
"As of now we are withdrawing as counsel for Mr. Zimmerman," Craig Sonner, one of his attorneys, told reporters outside the Seminole County Courthhouse in Sanford, Fla. "We've lost contact with him. Up to this point, we've had contact with him everyday. He's gone on his own. I'm not sure what he's doing or who he's talking to, but at this point we're withdrawing as counsel. If he wants us to come back as counsel, he will contact us."
Sonner said that he had never met Zimmerman face to face, and that their conversations have all taken place via telephone.
Zimmerman said he killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, on Feb. 26 in the gated community where the girlfriend of the teenager's father lived in Sanford. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch member, called 911 and told a police dispatcher that Martin, who was returning from a trip to a nearby convenience store, "looked suspicious." After an altercation, Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. He told the local police that he shot Martin in self defense, and he was not arrested or charged.
Protesters around the country have held rallies calling for Zimmerman's arrest, and the Sanford police department has been the focus of withering criticism for its handling of the initial investigation. The case has become a flashpoint in the national debates over racial profiling and gun control laws.
Sonner said that he still believed that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense, which Zimmerman and his surrogates have maintained since the shooting. "Nothing that I've said about him or this case has changed in any way," Sonner said.
Uhrig said that Zimmerman had stopped responding to their phone calls, and that they had a "pretty good idea" of where he was, while Sonner maintained that Zimmerman was "still in the United States." Last week, Zimmerman's lawyers said their client was ready to surrender if charged with a crime.
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