Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner stood side-by-side as they explained to a small crowd of reporters that they couldn't find former client, George Zimmerman, which is why they'd no longer be representing him. As the Trayvon Martin case continues to capture the nation's attention, his lawyers said at press conference on Tuesday that Zimmerman he went off the grid on Easter Sunday. Zimmerman set up his own website to raise funds for his defense and spoken to the special prosecutor's office in Jacksonville against their instructions. Zimmerman also apparently called Sean Hannity directly and spoken to the Fox News host off the record. "He has not returned phone calls, text messages or emails," Uhrig said. He added, "I still believe that he was acting in self defense that night."
What's even more bizarre, Uhrig and Sonner admitted that they had never even met Zimmerman in person. "He's in hiding," Sonner said, "And it was better for him to stay hiding and stay safe than come to my office." As reporters pushed for details about the shooter's whereabouts, Uhrig turned down his brow and said to the crowd, "Stop looking in Florida because he's certainly much further away than that. That's why we couldn't meet with him."
Update 5:45 p.m.: Trayvon Martin's family lawyer Benjamin Crump responded to Uhring and Sonner's press conference in a statement to TIME:
Trayvon’s family was always concerned that Zimmerman doesn’t try to skirt his legal responsibilities and become a flight risk. We always wanted this before a judge and a jury. We hope that [authorities] will take this under consideration that this a flight risk. If they go to press charges, is he really going to face them?
Of Zimmerman's new fundraising website, Crump said:
It’s America, and he has a right to do what he wants to do. The family was a little taken aback that George said he had this life-changing occurrence [and needs money]. Well Trayvon Martin had a life-ending occurrence; his family had to do all this stuff [to get someone] who killed their child to face a judge and a jury. The fact that he has this website and he’s out to do this website, when you see the balance, Trayvon is dead. If it were the reverse, Trayvon would have been arrested by day one.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.