Appearing as agitated as they were red-faced, Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner walked side-by-side to the podium late Tuesday, compelled by obligation and circumstance to admit to an overflow crowd of media members that George Zimmerman, their ultra-high profile and unarguably controversial client, had once again chosen to disobey a direct order and instead take matters into his own hands.
Sound familiar? It’s the same suspect behavior Zimmerman exhibited on the night of Feb. 26, when he shot to death 17-year-old unarmed Trayvon Martin just steps away from his father’s gated community doorsteps, apparently for no other reason than the volunteer crime watch commander thought the unsuspecting teen suspicious based on no more than the way he dressed and walked.
Through it all, Zimmerman has maintained he acted in self-defense and only shot Martin after he attacked him, breaking and blooding his nose and repeatedly banging his head on the concrete pavement. What’s indisputable is that the two only engaged one another after Zimmerman blatantly ignored a police dispatcher’s command to cease with following the teen, and instead chose to confront him face-to-face.
“Right now, we don’t know where George is and we haven’t had contact with him since Sunday,” Uhrig admitted. “Since then, he’s stopped answering our calls, emails and texts.”
Added Sonner, “We don’t know who he’s talking to or listening to. He’s gone out on his own.”
The more the two veteran mouthpieces spoke, the more Sonner’s words clearly resonated, just as a more colorful portrait of Zimmerman’s clearly volatile and erratic nature began to emerge.
Over the course of the last 24-hours, Uhrig reluctantly admitted that he and Sonner have become aware their one-time client placed at least two calls to the offices of assigned special prosecutor Angela Corey, offering himself for a grilling by prosecutors without the basic benefit of having his attorneys present.
“George called once… and was told they would not be open to speaking with him without counsel,” said Uhrig. “Later, he called back, at which point he described us as just his legal advisors and not his attorney, again offering to meet with them.”
Just as perplexing – not to mention yet another example of Zimmerman electing to take ignore all instruction and instead do whatever it is he chooses – both men insist they were completely caught off guard to learn Zimmerman has actually set up a web site and began soliciting donations from supporters for what he terms living expenses and funds for his legal defense.
According to Uhrig, the original plan called for his defense team to handle that endeavor, with Zimmerman’s retired federal judge father ultimately overseeing all proceeds and accounts.
“We don’t know anything at all about therealgeorgezimmerman.com site, but through friends and family George indeed seems to have set that up,” said Uhrig, adding that all this took place after Sonner had released the website address they set up together to the media as his official domain.
Perhaps the final proverbial nail in the coffin for the two came upon realizing Zimmerman had also reached out to and spoken with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity about his case. “Neither he or Sean will share with us just what they talked about,” shrugged Uhrig.
On Monday, Corey announced her office would not be taking the case before a grand jury, adding late Tuesday that she instead would be rendering a decision of some sort over the next 72 hours in the case.
Even such an immediate timetable doesn’t come soon enough for lead Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump, who upon witnessing all of Tuesday’s developments again called for Zimmerman’s hastened arrest.
“The family is deeply concerned that George Zimmerman could pose a flight risk if he does indeed face charges in the murder of Trayvon Martin,” said Crump. “All the family has asked for from the very beginning is simple justice. It is their hope that George Zimmerman will face his legal responsibilities if arrested and charged.”
Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s grief-stricken father who has repeatedly described his fallen son as his best friend, added he is troubled by the prospect of Zimmerman now monetarily benefiting based on his demise.
“It just doesn’t seem fair. My son is never coming back home,” he said.
And yet, even in parting, Zimmereman’s one-time, high-powered legal team felt compelled to make it seem as if it’s their former client who’s been most victimized.
“George Zimmerman in our opinion…is not doing well emotionally, probably suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, we understand from others that he may have lost a lot of weight,” Uhrig said. “Our concern is that for him to do this…to handle it this way suggests that he may not be in complete control of what’s going on. We’re concerned for his emotional and physical safety.”
Sonner added that he too still believes that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense, and clearly within reason of the law. “Nothing that I’ve said about him or this case has changed in any way,” he said.