Minority Issues, Racism, Trials

George Zimmerman’s Lawyers Take Their Case Online

Scott Greenfield aptly summed things up on Twitter: “Mark O’Mara launches website/blog/twitter on behalf of George Zimmerman. http://gzlegalcase.com What could possibly go wrong?”

Indeed. After shutting down George Zimmerman’s website, his attorneys have launched their own that is designed to “provide a voice for Mr. Zimmerman.”

And raise money for his legal defense, of course.

I suppose in today’s world, you hire a lawyer to defend you in a court of law, and in the court of public opinion…

The O’Mara Law Group is defending Zimmerman, and one of the first things they did was to shut down Zimmerman’s own website. This is what they’ve erected in its place. From the website:

We understand that it is unusual for a legal defense to maintain a social media presence on behalf of a defendant, but we also acknowledge that this is a very unusual case. Here are our justifications for our online efforts, and some guidelines we have put in place to help you understand what you can expect. We do understand and acknowledge the criticism that this is an opportunistic move using the event of a tragedy for personal or firm gain. Rest assured, that if the controversy surrounding this matter subsided tomorrow, so would our efforts to address the perceived problems the way we feel is necessary.

Is this a recipe for jury tampering? Well, not so long as the O’Mara attorneys conduct themselves responsibly:

It is not in Mr. Zimmerman’s best interests to speak publicly about this case, and as he has hired us to represent him, we feel part of our responsibility to our client is to provide a voice for Mr. Zimmerman, but only when it is appropriate to do so. Please understand that, with pending criminal charges, he cannot speak freely concerning these issues.

Man, can you imagine if the prosecutor’s office started the “Nail George Zimmerman” Facebook page? There’d be a freaking riot.

If the firm isn’t going to be talking about the specifics of the case, what are they going to be talking about? How George Zimmerman pays his taxes and helps his landlady take out her garbage?

Who knows, but I’ll tell you one thing they’re going to do: raise money. The O’Mara Law Group and Zimmerman know that they can use social media to raise a ton of money:

Raising Funds

We do intend to raise funds on behalf of our client, and when we are approved to do so, we will accept funds online. We understand that this is controversial, but Mr. Zimmerman deserves a fair trial, and mounting a defense is an expensive proposition. Moreover, during the legal proceedings Mr. Zimmerman is unable to work, and it is inappropriate for him to raise funds on his own behalf. Funds raised by our firm will be placed in a trust fund, to which Mr. Zimmerman does not have access, and will be used to fund his defense and pay for reasonable living expenses.

Is this just what a legal defense fund looks like in the online age?

Look, you can’t ignore the larger context that the George Zimmerman trial is taking place in, but we also have to keep focused on the actual judicial process. I think what everybody wants is a fair verdict. People want a process they can believe in so that even people who disagree with the verdict can feel like the process was fair.

I’m not sure that stunts like this website and Zimmerman’s social media presence are going to help people feel like things are fair.

Why Social Media For George Zimmerman [George Zimmerman Legal Case]

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