(CN) — George Zimmerman, the Florida man acquitted of murder after killing unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, filed a $265 million lawsuit against Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg over tweets they posted on what would have been Martin’s 25th birthday.
In a 24-page lawsuit filed late Tuesday in Polk County Circuit Court, Zimmerman alleges the two presidential hopefuls defamed him on Twitter in Feb. 5 posts wishing Martin a happy birthday.
According to the complaint, the politicians’ posts were made “for political gain in misguided and malicious attempts to bolster their standings amongst African-American voters, all at Zimmerman’s expense.”
“Trayvon Martin would have been 25 today,” Buttigieg’s tweet said. “How many 25th birthdays have been stolen from us by white supremacy, gun violence, prejudice, and fear? #BlackLivesMatter”
Mentioning Martin’s mother, Warren’s tweet said, “My heart goes out to @SybrinaFulton and Trayvon’s family and friends. He should still be with us today. We need to end gun violence and racism. And we need to build a world where all of our children- especially young Black boys – can grow up safe and free.”
Neither tweet mentions Zimmerman by name, but the lawsuit says he has been “severely harmed and damaged” by the posts.
“These false, misleading and defamatory statements were disseminated on the Internet to the public and directly to millions of their followers, and republished for persons in this circuit and the entire world to see and hear,” the complaint states. “These false, misleading and defamatory tweets were further disseminated by thousands of ‘retweets’ and ‘likes’ by thousands of their followers and others and covered by the media, which was the intent of their postings and publications.”
Zimmerman, represented by conservative legal activist Larry Klayman, seeks $265 million in damages for claims of defamation.
The Warren and Buttigieg campaigns did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
Zimmerman, working as a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Florida, fatally shot Martin in February 2012. Martin was carrying a bag of candy and an iced tea home to watch basketball with his father in the Retreat at Twin Lakes subdivision. Zimmerman claimed Martin looked suspicious and said he shot him in self-defense.
Now 36 years old, Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder in July 2013 after a month-long trial. In December, he filed a $100 million lawsuit against Martin’s parents, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, witnesses and prosecutors alleging defamation and conspiracy. That case was also filed in Polk County, where Zimmerman lives.
Fulton, Martin’s mother, announced last year that she is running for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.