In the grand scheme of things to do when you are the center of one of the first big media firestorms of the year, ignoring your legal help is probably not near the top of the list. And for anyone looking for more reasons to be suspicious of George Zimmerman, the shooter of Trayvon Martin, doing that is a powerful sign of weakness. Reuters reports:
George Zimmerman's lawyers withdrew from his defense on Tuesday after the man who shot and killed an unarmed black Florida teenager telephoned prosecutors directly, contacted a television journalist and set up a website all without their knowledge.
Defense lawyers Craig Sonner and Mark Uhrig said they lost contact with their client on Sunday and were concerned for his mental and physical health following a wave a protests across the country that have demanded Zimmerman's arrest for the death of Trayvon Martin, 17.[...]
They said they were particularly concerned that Zimmerman had telephoned the special prosecutor's office and offered to answer questions. The prosecutor's office told the attorneys about Zimmerman's call and said they declined to meet or speak with him without his legal representation.
Additionally, Zimmerman is described in the story as "emotionally crippled," and overly obsessed with the news surrounding the case. This may explain his semi-panicked response. However, given that he has been taking to the web to beg for help with legal fees, alienating the legal help he already had is a very poor decision. Mediaite has a video report on this development:
Reportedly, Zimmerman also reached out to Radio and TV personality Sean Hannity to speak about his side of the story off the record. Hannity apparently declined.
Trayvon Martin's family attorney, Benjamin Crump, has already expressed concerns about Zimmerman potentially being a flight risk because of his lack of touch with legal authorities:
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?
Regarding the website, therealgeorgezimmerman.com, Crump says:
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.