Published April 09, 2012
The Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who is the focus of a national uproar after he claimed self defense in the shooting death of an unarmed 17-year-old has created a website to seek financial support to aid his legal defense.
George Zimmerman's attorney, Hal Uhrig, confirmed to Fox News that the website, therealgeorgezimmerman.com, was in fact produced by the real George Zimmerman, who otherwise has gone into hiding as a special prosecutor determines whether he should face charges in the death of Trayvon Martin.
The website was no longer available Monday night, possibly because of increased traffic after news of existence spread. But earlier, it featured a first person plea for help.
"On Sunday February 26th, I was involved in a life altering event which led me to become the subject of intense media coverage," the site reads. "As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage, I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life. This website's sole purpose is to ensure my supporters they are receiving my full attention without any intermediaries.
Zimmerman then warns that others have tried to set up campaigns to collect donations for his cause, but he "cannot attest to the validity of these other websites."
For his site, he said he created a PayPal account, "as I would like to provide an avenue to thank my supporters personally and ensure that any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment. ... I reassure you, every donation is appreciated."
News of Zimmerman's appeal came on the same day that the special prosecutor, Angela Corey, said a grand jury will not look into the Trayvon Martin case, leaving the decision of whether to charge the teen's shooter in her hands alone and eliminating the possibility of a first-degree murder charge.
Corey said her decision had no bearing on whether she would file charges against George Zimmerman. She still could decide to charge him with a serious felony such as manslaughter which can carry a lengthy prison sentence if he is convicted.
Martin was killed Feb. 26 during a confrontation with Zimmerman in a gated community in Sanford.
Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, and Florida's self-defense law gives wide leeway to use deadly force and eliminates a person's duty to retreat in the face of danger.
The case has led to protests across the nation and spurred a debate about race and the laws of self-defense. Martin was black; Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.
One of those protests led to the temporary closing of the Sanford Police Department offices to the public on Monday as about a half dozen student activists blocked the entrance to the building.
Police officers took no action to remove the protesters who were part of a group of students who marched from Daytona Beach to Sanford over the weekend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.