Though acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the incident, George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a Black teen carrying Skittles and an iced tea on his way back from a store at the time.
Zimmerman went on to rack up aggravated assault allegations against his girlfriend, though they didn’t net charges because she walked back her claims in 2015, according to CNN.
Then Zimmerman decided to launch a $100 million defamation lawsuit against Martin's parents, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, and others linked to his murder case. And with that, a Florida judge finally decided enough is enough. Tallahassee Judge John Cooper dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety, writing in an order filed more than two weeks ago that Zimmerman failed to show “any fraudulent representation,” the Associated Press reported on Monday.
“There can be no claim for conspiracy to defraud if there is no adequately stated claim for fraud,” Cooper wrote in the order.
Zimmerman had targeted in the lawsuit Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin; HarperCollins Publishers, which published their book; and prosecution witnesses Brittany Diamond Eugene and Rachel Jeantel. Also named in the suit were prosecutors Bernie De La Rionda, John Guy, and Angela Corey; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; the state of Florida; and HarperCollins Publishers LLC.
Zimmerman—a white Hispanic man—claimed in the lawsuit that “he has been directly affected, harmed, and victimized by the unlawful conduct complained herein.”
“His injuries are proximately related to the conduct of Defendants, each and every one of them, jointly and severally, and acting in concert,” attorney Larry Klayman wrote in the suit.
Zimmerman alleged that Jeantel, whom he called an "imposter," lied "repeatedly" to incriminate him, and New York Times writers Lizette Alvarez and Cara Buckley did acknowledge that Jeantel, who was 19 years old at the time, "might have damaged her credibility by acknowledging she had lied about her age and why she did not attend Mr. Martin’s wake."
"She also testified that she softened her initial account of her chat with Mr. Martin for fear of upsetting Ms. Fulton, who sat next to her, weeping, during Ms. Jeantel’s first interview with prosecutors," the journalists wrote.
But please don’t let a young woman’s alleged indiscretions in the face of one of the country's more widely covered allegations of racial profiling distract from Zimmerman’s actions as a 29-year-old man.
The state contended in its murder case against him that Zimmerman instigated a fight with Martin, who was wearing a hoodie while on his way to the home of his father's girlfriend on Feb. 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida.
The deadly encounter began when Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, followed Martin in an SUV and called 911 alleging a "suspicious" man. “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining, and he’s just walking around,” Zimmerman said during the call CNN described.
He told the dispatcher he was following the man later identified as Martin, and the dispatcher responded: “OK. We don’t need you to do that.”
A witness told police “she heard a commotion, which sounded like arguing,” and it wasn't long before neighbors recorded in 911 calls were reporting the sound of a gunshot.
Zimmerman claimed he was defending himself against Martin after he knocked Zimmerman to the ground, "punched him and slammed his head repeatedly against the sidewalk," The New York Times reported.
Rionda said in a 2013 interview with ABC News that Zimmerman lied.
"The defense is going to argue that this is self defense … but you can't take that in a vacuum," De la Rionda said. "It's not like this defendant was walking home and somebody just started beating him up."
The attorney pointed to Zimmerman's claim that he only got out of his SUV to find an address, which De la Rionda said was visible from Zimmerman's vehicle. De la Rionda also questioned how Zimmerman was able to get a gun positioned behind his hip if Martin had him pinned to the ground like the wannabe cop claimed.
"A teenager is dead and he is dead through no fault of his own,” De la Rionda said. “He is dead because another man made assumptions."
The fact that the same man who triggered so much pain has the audacity to prolong the devastation with lawsuit after lawsuit is simply sad.
Zimmerman also filed a lawsuit against Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, alleging their social media posts on what would have been Martin’s 25th birthday defamed his killer.
That lawsuit was also dismissed because as the court stated in an order the Courthouse News Service posted, the “Plaintiff fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted.”
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