George Zimmerman is suing top-tier democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg for defamation.
Zimmerman is the former Floridian neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of murder in the 2012 fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman has remained a controversial figure and a bit of lightning rod since his acquittal, with those who support him, and those who abhor him, pretty much split along left-right political lines.
According to Fox News, he is seeking $265 million in damages from the democratic candidates. This all stems from tweets each of the presidential candidates sent on Feb. 5, the day Martin would have turned 25 years old. The lawsuit was filed in Polk County, Florida, and it claims that Warren and Buttigieg tried using the killing “as a pretext to demagogue and falsely brand Zimmerman as a white supremacist and racist to their millions of Twitter followers.”
In one of the tweets on which the lawsuit is focused, Buttigieg said, “Trayvon Martin would have been 25 today. How many 25th birthdays have been stolen from us by white supremacy, gun violence, prejudice, and fear? #BlackLivesMatter.”
Warren said in her tweet, “My heart goes out to @SybrinaFulton and Trayvon’s family and friends. He should still be with us today. We need to end gun violence and racism. And we need to build a world where all of our children—especially young Black boys—can grow up safe and free.”
Zimmerman’s lawsuit claims the presidential candidates defamed him by implying that he had racist or white supremacist motivations or ideologies behind the killing.
“It is high time that the cheap and harmful use of the race card by politicians of all stripes be made to cease and desist,” Larry Klayman, Zimmerman’s attorney and founder of Judicial Watch, said in a statement. “Their despicable ‘race tactics’ are not only causing great harm to persons such as my client George Zimmerman, but also are damaging relations between black and white Americans who are all brothers.”
Zimmerman said that he acted in self-defense after Martin attacked him, and a jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in 2013. In December, Zimmerman sued Martin’s family and others involved in the case, seeking $100 million in civil damages.