ORLANDO, Florida — A Florida judge has dismissed a defamation and conspiracy lawsuit brought by a former neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, against the parents of Trayvon Martin, the teen who was shot nearly a decade ago in a case that drew international attention about race and ethnicity. gun violence.
Judge John Cooper of Tallahassee dismissed all charges against all defendants in Zimmerman’s lawsuit against Martin’s parents, Sibrina Fulton and Tracy Martin; attorney Ben Crump, who was representing the family; and others.
In his order, the judge wrote that Zimmerman failed to show “any fraudulent representation” and said any further arguments in the case would be futile.
“There can be no allegation of conspiracy to fraud if there is not a sufficiently publicized claim of fraud,” Cooper wrote in the order filed over two weeks ago.
Other defendants in the lawsuit include HarperCollins Publishers, which published a book written by Martin’s parents about the case; Brittany Diamond Eugene; and Rachel Gentle.
According to Zimmerman’s lawsuit, Brittany Diamond Eugene did not want to testify that she was talking to Martin prior to his murder. So, her half-sister, Rachel Gentle, pretended to be talking to the teen before he was fatally shot. Gantel ended up testifying at the 2013 Zimmerman trial in Sanford, Florida.
The lawsuit alleged that Trayvon Martin’s parents, along with Crump, participated in the plot in an effort to bring charges against Zimmerman, causing him to try to “destroy his goodwill and his reputation in the community.” Zimmerman also alleged that the defendants portrayed him as a racist murderer who portrayed Martin as a racist. Martin was black. Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is Latina.
Zimmerman was acquitted during a 2013 trial, which focused attention on race and the Florida “Stand Up Before You” martial law that allows people to use force without holding back if they feel threatened.
The case was originally filed in 2019 in state court in Polk County, central Florida, but was later moved to state court in Tallahassee to accommodate some of the participants.