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Attorneys for George Zimmerman drop representation in Florida shooting case

Trayvon Martin (left) and George Zimmerman (right) are shown in this undated file photo. (Orlando Sentinel)

April 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Attorneys for George Zimmerman have withdrawn from representing him in the Florida shooting case of Trayvon Martin, saying they've lost contact with Zimmerman.

Attorney Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig said at a news conference they haven't heard from George Zimmerman since Sunday. They said that against their advice, Zimmerman contacted the special prosecutor who will decide if he should face charges.

Uhrig said that his legal team is still concerned about Zimmerman, who he said is "not doing well emotionally" and may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sonner said he has never talked to Zimmerman face-to-face and that the 28-year-old man has gone into hiding but that he believes he's still in the U.S. Both attorneys said they'd be willing to represent him again if he asks.

Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot and killed Feb. 26 by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self defense.

Zimmerman called police to report the teen walking through a gated community in Sanford. Zimmerman was advised not to follow Martin, but he continued. Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him, resulting in the fatal shooting. Martin was unarmed. Zimmerman was not arrested, which sparked nationwide protests.

Ben Crump, an attorney for Martin's family, said they're concerned that Zimmerman could be a flight risk if he is charged with a crime since his now-former attorneys don't know how to contact him.

"At this point, we're just concerned that nobody knows where he is at. Nobody knows how to get to him," Crump said.

Whether Zimmerman will face a lesser charge rests in the hands of the special prosecutor. Charges could be filed within days, according to ABC News.

Zimmerman's attorney earlier said he would invoke Florida's controversial "stand-your-ground" law, which gives enormous leeway to someone who feels their life is threatened. Sonner, the first attorney Zimmerman contacted, said he agreed to take the case on a pro bono basis until Zimmerman is perhaps charged.

There will be no grand jury investigation into the teen's death, which means a first-degree murder charge is off the table.

"What that means is that the state must go forward and be able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, so it makes the case, in general, more difficult than a normal criminal case," said Fla. Special Prosecutor Angela Corey.

Meantime, for the first time since the shooting, Zimmerman spoke out publicly through his new website. He said he has been forced to leave his entire life, and he's soliciting donations for his legal fund.

Demonstrations demanding that Zimmerman be prosecuted continue across the country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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