THE MAN who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is suing the teenager’s family for defamation.
George Zimmerman, who was on patrol as a neighbourhood watch volunteer when he followed and killed Martin, has launched a $100 million lawsuit against the Martin’s family, their lawyers and prosecutors.
In the lawsuit, Zimmerman, 36, who was acquitted of murdering Martin in 2013, claims that the family’s lawyers replaced a witness reluctant to testify, reportedly Martin’s girlfriend who he was on the phone to him at the time, with her half-sister.
The lawsuit claims also acuses those named of malicious prosecution, abuse of process, civil conspiracy and defamation.
The allegations have been denied by the family and their lawyer, CNN reported.
Ben Crump, the civil rights lawyer who represent Martin’s family, described the lawsuit as “unfounded” and “shameless”.
In a statement Crump said: “I have every confidence that this unfounded and reckless lawsuit will be revealed for what it is – another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others.
“This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimising individuals whose lives were shattered by his own miguided actions. 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.
“This tale defies all logic, and it’s time to close the door on these baseless imaginings.”
Martin’s death is one of the most high profile killings of unarmed black teenagers in recent US history and one of the cases that contributed to the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In 2016 Zimmerman auctioned the gun that he used to kill Martin, claiming proceeds would go towards combatting the work of Black Lives Matter activists. It was reportedly sold for $138,900.
Responding to news of his lawsuit, the NAACP described Zimmerman’s attempts to profit from Martin’s death as “egregious” and something that needs to stop.
“Trayvon’s parents have suffered enough. Leave them alone,” the NAACP tweeted.
Zimmerman’s lawyer, Larry Klayman, has previously filed a “birther” lawsuit which falsely claimed Barack Obama could not be president of the US because he was not a “natural-born citizen”.