Polk County, FL – George Zimmerman, the man acquitted in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, filed a defamation lawsuit seeking $265 million from Democratic Presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren.
The lawsuit was filed in the 10th Judicial Circuit Court on Tuesday and claimed both Presidential candidates defamed Zimmerman in tweets posted on what would have been Martin’s 25th birthday, USA Today reported.
Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch leader who fatally shot Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, but was acquitted in a 2013 jury trial.
Martin was visiting his father in Sanford when he encountered Zimmerman, who told police he was out patrolling the neighborhood when he encountered the teen, the Miami Herald reported.
Zimmerman had reported Martin to police before and was following him before the two engaged in a physical altercation that ended when 28-year-old Zimmerman fatally shot the teen.
Prosecutors called it an unjustified shooting of a teenager eating Skittles and Zimmerman claimed it was self-defense, according to the Miami Herald.
The jury believed Zimmerman’s account of the incident and he was acquitted.
Zimmerman has had a few brush-ups with the law since the Trayvon Martin trial ended.
In 2015, he was arrested for throwing a wine bottle at his girlfriend but she decided not to press charges, according to The Hill.
And Zimmerman was given 12 months’ probation in November of 2018 on a misdemeanor stalking charge after he was accused of threatening to feed a private investigator to an alligator.
The private investigator claimed that Zimmerman had called him 21 times, texted him 38 times, and left seven voicemails in less than two-and-a-half hours, The Washington Post reported.
In December of 2019, Zimmerman filed a $100 million lawsuit against Martin’s family that alleged “malicious prosecution.”
The new lawsuit against Buttigieg and Warren accused the two Presidential hopefuls of defaming Zimmerman on Twitter “for political gain in misguided and malicious attempts to bolster their standings amongst African-American voters, all at Zimmerman’s expense,” USA Today reported.
Neither candidate’s tweet about Martin mentioned Zimmerman by name.
Buttigieg has 1.7 million followers who liked and retweeted the post more than 55,000 times combined.
Warren has 3.7 million followers who liked and retweeted the post a combined 18,000 times.
The court file said that Zimmerman’s lawsuit was seeking $265 million in damages from the candidates, USA Today reported.