Attorneys Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner have announced the cessation of their relationship with George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Uhrig and Sonner spoke jointly at a press conference, stating that Zimmerman has not communicated with them since last Sunday and that Zimmerman has attempted to contact television host Sean Hannity and special prosecutor Angela Corey. Zimmerman was told by members of Corey’s staff that prosecutors would not speak with him unless his lawyers were present. Corey was assigned to the case in order to determine whether to file criminal charges against Zimmerman; an announcement is expected relatively soon.
The two attorneys maintain their position that Zimmerman is innocent, having acted in self-defense in accordance with Florida’s “stand your ground law,” under which individuals have the right to “meet force with force”—citizens have no duty to retreat, no obligation to avoid conflict. But they said that they could not ethically continue to represent Zimmerman in an official capacity due to his failure to respond to phone calls, emails, and text messages.
The attorneys’ announcement coincides with a statement from Attorney General Eric Holder in which Holder outlines the “thorough and independent review” of Zimmerman’s case.
Observers say the attorneys’ statement was unusual, given that defenders do not normally speak to the media about such matters. Kendall Coffey, a former Miami-based US Attorney, said, “In the court of public opinion, the press conference was not helpful for George Zimmerman.”
The Associated Press report can be found here.