George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012, is now suing Martin's family, their legal team, and a book publisher over the case, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Zimmerman claims that the murder charge against him was the result of false witness testimony put forward by Martin's family and attorneys to support the allegation of murder.
Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder charge. He maintained that the killing was an act of self-defense. Zimmerman confronted Martin as Martin was walking through a gated community at night, and fatally shot him during the ensuing fight. Martin had been staying nearby with his father.
According to Zimmerman's attorney, Larry Klayman, the case of Martin's death was closed as self-defense until a recording from someone claiming to be Martin's girlfriend, 16-year-old Diamond Eugene, was produced by Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump. Martin was allegedly on the phone with his girlfriend right before the confrontation that led to his death.
During the trial, an 18-year-old named Rachel Jeantel reportedly told prosecutors that she was Diamond Eugene. She said she signed a letter to Martin's mother using that nickname after his death.
Zimmerman's lawsuit alleges that Jeantel was not Martin's girlfriend, and that she was not on the phone with Martin before his death, and that she provided false statements against Zimmerman based on coaching from others. The lawsuit also claims the real "Diamond Eugene" is a Miami resident named Brittany Diamond Eugene who did not testify in the trial.
"Defendant Jeantel lied repeatedly about having a relationship with Trayvon, about being on the phone with Trayvon in the days and minutes up to his death, and lied about everything she claimed to have heard over the phone in the hours and minutes prior to Trayvon's death," the lawsuit alleges. "Defendant Jeantel also lied about her identity, falsely claiming her nickname to be 'Diamond Eugene.'"
Zimmerman is seeking $100 million in damages from the Martin family and attorneys, Crump, and HarperCollins, which published a book by Crump about the case, which the lawsuit says caused Zimmerman "great mental anguish."
Crump denied that the lawsuit's allegations had any truth to them.
"This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions," Crump said in a statement. "He would have us believe that he is the innocent victim of a deep conspiracy, despite the complete lack of any credible evidence to support his outlandish claims."