Reporting Tim Kephart
ORLANDO, Fla. (CBSMiami) – In a surreal press conference Tuesday evening, George Zimmerman’s lawyers said they are withdrawing as his defense counsel because of lack of communication from their client.
Zimmerman’s lawyers Hal Uhrig and Craig Sonner said they lost track of Zimmerman on Sunday when he stopped returning their calls.
“I know his phone works, but he’s not returning my text messages or my calls,” Sonner said
WEB EXTRA: Attorneys’ News Conference
Additionally, both lawyers said he never met face-to-face with them.
Uhrig said that they had been trying to set up a meeting between Zimmerman and the special prosecutor’s office investigating the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Uhrig said that Zimmerman had himself contacted the special prosecutor’s office without their knowledge.
When special prosecutors asked Zimmerman if he had lawyers, he said he only had legal advisers, not a lawyer, according to Uhrig and Sonner.
“I’m not sure what the distinction is, but in his mind there’s a distinction,” Uhrig said.
According to CNN, Zimmerman was told by the special prosecutor’s office that he should have legal counsel present if he was going to speak to them.
The lawyers also said Zimmerman had directly contacted the Sean Hannity show on Fox News without their consent or knowledge.
“George called Sean Hannity of Fox News off the record and he was unwilling to tell us what was said,” Uhrig said.
Hannity has also declined to say what was said during the conversation.
Zimmerman claimed that he shot Trayvon Martin because he feared for his life. He based his claim on the controversial Florida “Stand Your Ground” law. The shooting death caused a massive media firestorm and sparked protests across the nation.
As for the websites that were setup for Zimmerman, both Uhrig and Sonner said they were not told about the new website until reporters started calling them about it. The website has a Paypal link for people to contribute to his defense.
Zimmerman went “off the grid” and quit returning the calls from both lawyers. Zimmerman has been in hiding ever since the scandal surrounding the shooting started to erupt across Florida and the nation.
Sonner said during the impromptu press conference that he doesn’t believe Zimmerman will try to leave the country.
Zimmerman is not in the state of Florida, according to Uhrig.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called the press conference a “bizarre episode” that may force the special prosecutor arrest Zimmerman to prevent him from running.
Both lawyers said they still stand with everything that they have said in the media and that they hope for the best for both Zimmerman and the Martin family.