Zimmerman fate following acquittal uncertain

Will defendant face civil rights charges?
Associated Press
Jul 14, 2013

Following his acquittal on all charges in the fatal shooting death of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman will spend no time behind bars.

But that's about the only certainty in the former neighborhood watch volunteer's immediate future.

The Department of Justice has announced it will look into the case, which could lead to criminal civil rights charges, and Zimmerman may also face civil lawsuits from Martin's family.

He could also potentially make a lot of money by writing a book or from a lawsuit he filed last year against a major television network for allegedly editing his 911 call to police to make it sound like he was racist.

For the moment, however, veteran publicists say Zimmerman's options are limited.

The case and his trial have become — for some — a symbol of everything that's wrong with the country's justice system, and with race relations in America today.

The six-member jury's not-guilty verdict late Saturday prompted a wave of anger among civil rights leaders and others, and protests have erupted across the country. Image handlers say Zimmerman needs to take that anger, and potential death threats, seriously.

"I have one short piece of advice for him," said Jonathan Bernstein, president of the Southern California-based Bernstein Crisis Management Inc.


Hiding is not an unfamiliar feeling for Zimmerman, whose last known appearance in public was on Feb. 26, 2012, the night of the shooting: He was headed to Target to do his weekly grocery shopping before he encountered Martin.

Zimmerman has been living a hermit's life since then and during the months leading up to his highly publicized trial. And now, despite the acquittal, it is unlikely that he will ever be able to do something as mundane as grocery shopping — at least not unaccompanied — for a very long time.

Security experts and crisis management pros say the former neighborhood watch volunteer must immediately get a security plan in place. This could involve hiring an expensive team of bodyguards or consultants who will assess whether the threats against him are credible.

Richard Davis, the operations director for The Bodyguard Group of Beverly Hills, said that if Zimmerman were to hire his firm, he would have a stable of former Navy SEALS and Special Forces guards looking out for his safety around the clock. They would relocate him to a safe home (probably in a large city where he can blend into a busy community), quietly file court paperwork to change his name and create a "protective bubble."

"No one enters the bubble," said Davis, whose company has provided security for A-list celebrities and politicians. "It moves with you."

Davis described what he thinks is the optimal security plan for someone in Zimmerman's situation: a big team of guards for the initial few weeks following the verdict, a cross-country move, and an armored car. Restaurants would have to be pre-screened, exercise would have to be done in a home gym and a trip to the movies would be out of the question.

"You can't go in that store alone, you can't go to the movies ever, unless you rent out the whole theater for yourself," he said. "A movie theater is a death trap."

All of this isn't cheap. Davis estimates that it would cost $3,000 a day initially to pay for such security. But if it keeps Zimmerman alive, he said, it's a small price to pay.

To be sure, there are less expensive security and bodyguard options. But all will cost money — and Zimmerman, who worked as a mortgage underwriter prior to the shooting, isn't independently wealthy.

At one point following the shooting, Zimmerman had his own website and raised $200,000 for his legal defense. His family and attorneys also have set up separate fundraising websites, but it's unclear how much they have raised.

Zimmerman's attorneys say that their client hasn't worked since the shooting. Of course, people in high-profile cases sometimes win lucrative deals to write books or sell their life stories so they can be made into a movie or television program.

Bernstein said if Zimmerman was his client, he would advise against this right now.

"If he's doing a book deal, he should keep it quiet, and don't come out with a book in a hurry," said Bernstein, adding that he would advise Zimmerman not to speak to the news media in either paid or unpaid appearances.

"The more you talk, the more you are a target," he said. "The court has spoken for him. The best thing he could possibly do is go below the radar."

There's also the possibility of further legal action against Zimmerman — some of which could impact any money that he makes.

Martin's family could sue Zimmerman in civil court, much like Ronald Goldman's family did with OJ Simpson. Any proceeds Zimmerman makes from a book or movie deal could be turned over to the Martins, if a civil jury were to find him guilty.

And then there is the possibility that the Department of Justice could bring a federal hate-crime charge against Zimmerman. While legal experts say this is unlikely, Zimmerman could be forced into paying for more lawyers if it does happen.

Veteran publicist Glen Selig said in the coming weeks and months, Zimmerman should let others speak for him and avoid most, if not all, publicity. By speaking to the news media about the case, Zimmerman risks making the story about him — and not about the larger, more complicated issues of race and justice.

"I would clearly advise him not to become the lightning rod for this issue," Selig said.

Emotions over the case are running high, especially among those who think Zimmerman should have been found guilty, said Scott Sundby, a law professor at the University of Miami.

"The hard thing about the law sometimes is that we can have intuitive responses that an outcome is not fair but that doesn't necessarily mean that the law was not followed," Sundby said.

"The criminal justice system is often an imperfect system of handling wrongs that occurred. Many acts we feel were unjust will go unpunished by the law because of larger issues as to why the system is set up that way."





Thomas Sowell:

"I am so old that I can remember when most of the people promoting race hate were white."



Then Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton and the like found they could make money playing the race card...... and more sheep followed

BULLISDEEP's picture

And the rappers


Here we go with "the rappers" nonsense.


double post!


Re: "Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton,"

See: W.E.B. Du Bois for the beginnings of the modern political movement.


I'm a fan of Booker T. Washington, George E.Johnson, Sr., Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Bill Cosby and others.


Key word..... movement. Took a lot of guts for some of these strong people to work towards a better society, but then they drift way left in an attempt to do more in less time. They benefit from capitalism and then denounce it as being the root cause holding society back.
Movement is like a journey with some roads taking you where you thought you wanted to go, and others get you lost

The Big Dog's back

Seeing how they were still lynching people in the south in 1978, Jackson, Sharpton and MLK started their movement way before that.

sandtown born a...

Interesting reading, enlightening to say the least, kinda puts in print what most honest people would already admit


This country unfortunately will remain divided until we start seeing people as people, not as colors.


That's why the message of individualism needs to be spread. Value a person based upon their individual contributions to society, not what group they belong or don't belong to. Base laws on the protection of the individual, and you inherently protect the rights of the group. Base laws on the protection of certain groups, and you will eventually infringe on the rights of certain individuals. It's all very much commonsense, but nowadays, it seems to be un-commonsense.

sandtown born a...

This tragedy is just that. Either one Zimmerman or Martin could have chose to walk away and we all know that didn't happen. To say it was racially motivated is out in left field. A local black pastor had a sermon on Sunday talking about the injustice and what we need to do to stop/ reverse it. Funny less than a year ago a young black male walked into this same church shot another young black male dead right there during Sunday service. What's funny about this is the same pastor did or said nothing of trying to stop our youth from killing each so freely. Priorities people! not fuel the hate and racism. I bet he shot him because he was black and in the wrong side of town, sounds racially motivated to me. He had a civil right to be in church get the Feds involved, BS wake up people


Six women - five white and one black got together to deny justice to Travon - yeah right.

A hung jury would mean no verdict was reached by a jury - surely you can't say that six people after hearing all the evidence were all nervous about taking a stand if they thought that the trial was rigged. They had a choice of 2nd Degree Murder or Manslaughter - they chose neither.

You obviously have little faith in the intellegence of women or in the tenacity of one black sister to make a stand.

The Big Dog's back

5 white, 1 hispanic. Or do consider all non whites the same?


PAY ATTENTION! There were NO BLACKS on the jury! GOT THAT???????


What I am finding that she is a black-Hispanic. She could be bi-racial.


I don't care what the jury decided-it was not self-defense and he played a large part in the death of Martin. He should not have gotten off scot-free. There was a lack of real evidence and much conflicting witness testimony. He had to have had his gun handy as well because if Martin was on top of him it would have been very difficult for him to remove it from a holster or a pocket. This whole case was a travesty.

sandtown born a...

Lack of real evidence and conflicting witness testimony yes they should have convicted him anyways. GIVE ME A BREAK, Seriously that sounds about right for the mentality of a lot of the racist people in this country


You are describing reasonable doubt. The prosecutor made the decision on what to charge Zimmerman with. He/she could have charged him with lessor charges since they didn't have evidence for what they charged. The only choices the jury had was 2nd degree murder and manslaughter. Which under Fla law is almost the same jail time as murder. Blame the prosecutor and those who pressured her/him to decided to go for what they cold not prove. It wasn't the jury's or Zimmermans decision on what charges to make. It is what happens when outside forces decide that "something" had to be done. If they had listened to the locals who knew the evidence wasn't there for 2nd degree murder or even manslaughter. If they had waited and continued to look for evidence they might have made better decisions on what or if to charge. Blame the outside (political) forces.


"Will defendant face civil rights charges?"

"NAACP, NAN Call On DOJ To Bring Civil Rights Charges Against Zimmerman"

"Eric Holder promises "compassion" and "truth" in Zimmerman case"


As to civil rights charges being brought Holder has hobbled the DOJ when he had the FBI make a report on that last year, and found no evidence of predjuice and made the report public instead of burying it



"Obama Won't Press Justice Department On George Zimmerman Case: White House"

More BS from the Sock Puppet-in-Chief.


The Big Dog's back

You have NO room to talk about sock puppets contango, grumpy, rich close or one of your other puppets.


Wassamatter, don't you want the DOJ to press charges against Zimmerman DERPY?


"What the Media Choose Not to Know about Trayvon"

"On external examination Martin’s body seemed perfectly normal for a 17-year-old. He weighed 158 pounds, was 71 inches tall, and had a medium build in apparently good health.."

71 inches would be 5'-11" tall.

The Big Dog's back


Darwin's choice

Another great reply! You are really swinging for the fence today!!



Nana boo boo! :)


The Big Dog's back
Mon, 07/15/2013 - 4:08pm
Yes zim was a wuss. Letting a 17 year old take him down. Sissy.

The sissy wuss was taken down by a 17 year old 158 pound 5'-11" ...thank you for explaining it to the SR readers.