New George Zimmerman Lawsuit v. Trayvon Martin’s Family, Prosecutors & Attorney Ben Crump
Today, December 4, 2019, a new lawsuit was filed by George Zimmerman against essentially everyone in the case, including:
- Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin’s Mother)
- Tracy Martin (Trayvon Martin’s Father)
- Benjamin Crump (Trayvon Martin’s Family’s Lead Lawyer)
- Bernie De La Rionda (Prosecutor in State v. Zimmerman)
- John Guy (Prosecutor in State v. Zimmerman)
- Angela Corey (Prosecutor in State v. Zimmerman)
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement
- The State of Florida
- Rachel Jeantel (Witness in State v. Zimmerman)
- Brittany Diamond Eugene (Witness in State v. Zimmerman)
- Harper Collins Publishers (Publisher of Ben Crump’s book)
Here is the Complaint.
In what can only be described as unprofessional, inappropriately litigious and sloppy, a lawyer on behalf of George Zimmerman filed a 36 page lawsuit against essentially all of key components in the State of Florida v. George Zimmerman, “for conspiring to switch and/or cover up the identity of Defendant Eugene who was the real phone witness to the events prior to Trayvon Martin’s death, by substituting an imposter and fake witness, Defendant Jeantel, and to assist Defendant Jaentel in committing perjury in sworn testimony to cause the arrest, prosecution, and sentencing to life in prison of George Zimmerman, as well as causing a federal investigation and prosecution of Zimmerman for civil rights violation.”
Additionally, Crump and Harper Collins have been sued for defamation because of his book. This is actually an entirely separate issue and may be the most compelling part of the lawsuit. However, both Zimmerman and his lawyer should worry about the countersuit, as a Complaint can be defamatory if circulated to the media by the drafting lawyer.
Statute of Limitations:
The criminal trial of George Zimmerman concluded in 2013. As such, most statutes of limitations for any civil action would have long expired. However, Zimmerman claims he did not know about the “subject illegal acts and practices” of the Defendants until September 16, 2019 through the publication of a book and film by “Hollywood director Joel Gilbert, both entitled The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud the Divided America.” Trailer for the film is here: https://www.joelgilbert.net/films/the-trayvon-hoax/.
Joel Gilbert is known for being a frequent guest on InfoWars and has produced a dew documentary or mock-umentary style movies. In 2012, Gilbert released Dreams from My Real Father, which detailed his conspiracy theory regarding US President Barack Obama‘s biological father. The film was panned for its unsubstantiated allegations.
Further, Ben Crump’s book came out on October 15, 2019, which would present a separate statute of limitations for purposes of anything actionable contained therein.
The Complaint is a mess and clearly written for the media or anyone who will read it. Under Florida law, parties can file a motion to strike redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter pursuant to Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.140(f). Specifically, the rule provides that “[a] party may move to strike or the court may strike redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter from any pleading at any time.” The motion applies to “any pleading,” and is available to both claimants and defendants, with respect to all manner of complaints, answers, and replies.
Immunity usually applies to legal pleadings. However, as the Complaint was apparently distributed to the media, no immunity would apply and could subject Zimmerman and his lawyer to sanctions and countersuit.
Rachel Jeantel versus Brittany Diamond Eugene:
The crux of the argument in the Complaint is that Brittany Diamond Eugene was a hidden witness and Rachel Jeantel testified on her behalf or otherwise pretended to be Brittany Diamond Eugene at trial, thus possibly perjuring herself. Of course, all of this occurred under the watchful eyes of, and to Zimmerman’s successful acquittal on behalf of his own lawyers (who notably were not sued). The fact is all of this was played out in 2013, when Jeantel was forced to admit in court that she could not read a letter she allegedly wrote (signed as “Diamond Eugene”) about the teen’s shooting, saying, ‘I don’t read cursive.’ It was all there and clear. It did not hinder Zimmerman’s defense and was not the sole basis of evidence against him.
The Complaint says Ben Crump worked to coach Trayvon Martin’s actual girlfriend, Brittany Eugene, to “witness switch,” and get Jeantel to commit perjury. This is not a purely new allegation. In fact, this whole episode of coaching witnesses was discussed in 2013 in this news article. Crump could not even sit in trial because he was on the witness list because of the “witness influence” allegation.
These very theories have also been circulated on websites such as the Conservative Treehouse. There is certainly something to it, but it was all acknowledged in 2013 by Mark O’Mara and Don West and has been thoroughly debated by bloggers long before a documentary. There is no case based on the witness issues.
Defamation by Crump
Given Zimmerman’s status as a public figure, did Crump commit defamation of Zimmerman? One would have to read the book, but the allegations contained therein aren’t lies which caused Zimmerman damages. The Complaint is too sensational and poorly drafted to truly understand what is intended. We aren’t going to analyze that aspect of the Complaint.
Claims Against State Agents and Agencies
The Prosecutors, State of Florida and Florida Department of Law Enforcement have been sued for Malicious Prosecution, Abuse of Process and Civil Conspiracy. These are due to be dismissed, as stated.
About George Zimmerman’s Lawyer
Larry Klayman filed the Complaint. Although his Complaint lists an address out of Boca Raton, Florida, his Florida Bar address is listed in Washington, DC. He’s practiced since 1977.
He is the founder of self-styled right-wing watchdog groups Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch. In addition to his numerous lawsuits against the Clinton Administration, Klayman has filed a number of lawsuits against political figures and governmental agencies. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described him as “pathologically litigious.’
According to wikipedia:
Following Klayman’s behavior in a 1992 trial in California federal court, Judge William Keller barred him from his courtroom for life. Five years later, in a separate case in New York, Klayman’s behavior led then district judge Denny Chin to issue a lifetime ban on the attorney practicing law before him.
In 2007, Klayman received a $25,000 retainer from a Daytona Beach woman facing criminal charges and she accused him of not providing legal services in return. The Florida Bar Association mediated the matter and Klayman agreed to pay off a small portion within 90 days, but after the deadline lapsed he was reprimanded by the association.
In 2014, Klayman agreed to be publicly censured by the D.C. Bar. Klayman represented three individuals who had sued Judicial Watch, his former employer and client, but he failed to obtain Judicial Watch’s consent to waive his conflict of interest. Klayman maintained that the bar “recognized there was no evidence of dishonesty or personal gain”. In June 2017, however, the discipline committee recommended that Klayman be suspended from practicing law for 90 days. The disciplinary matter remains pending before D.C. Court of Appeals.
An October 2016 opinion by a federal appellate court, concerning Klayman’s attempt to represent Cliven Bundy, noted 12 cases “in which Klayman’s ability to practice law in an ethical and orderly manner was called into question.”
In 2018, Klayman unsuccessfully sued the D.C. Bar and some of its employees, alleging they were conspiring to disbar him. Klayman’s lawsuit acknowledged three disciplinary actions then pending against him: the above Judicial Watch matter, Klayman’s attempts to represent Bundy, and a complaint concerning his representation of a sexual-harassment plaintiff.
In 2019, with respect to his representation of a sexual-harassment plaintiff, the discipline committee recommended that Klayman be suspended from practicing law for 33 months.
These articles well describe the type of lawyer he is: