(CN) – George Zimmerman, the Florida man acquitted of murdering black teen Trayvon Martin in 2012, is suing Martin’s family as well as an attorney and prosecutors for malicious prosecution and defamation in an explosive $100 million lawsuit filed Wednesday.
In the 36-page complaint filed in Polk County Circuit Court, Zimmerman alleges that Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, conspired with attorney Benjamin Crump and state officials in pressuring Brittany Diamond Eugene into making false public statements and then coached Rachel Jeantel to take her place as a witness who falsely stated she was on the phone with Martin in the moments leading up to his fatal confrontation with Zimmerman.
The complaint states that Zimmerman, who was a neighborhood watch volunteer when he shot Martin, learned about the alleged conspiracy in September, when he came across a book and film called “The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America.”
“Defendant Crump openly coached and led defendant Eugene into repeating his false narrative of events he had been pushing in the media for several weeks,” the lawsuit alleges, citing Eugene’s interview with ABC in March 2012.
After that interview, Zimmerman claims the defendants “helped recruit and coach” Eugene’s half-sister, Jeantel, to pretend to be Eugene in an interview with state prosecutors, including defendants Angela Corey and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“Defendants…prepared and planned the arrest, trial and prosecution of George Zimmerman all the while obscuring what they knew and/or should have known, that Defendant Jeantel was a fake witness and an imposter, and that she was not the girlfriend of Trayvon named Diamond Eugene who was on the phone with Trayvon in the days before and day of the shooting,” the complaint states.
Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder in July 2013 by a jury that heard the alleged false testimony from Jeantel.
In addition to malicious prosecution and civil conspiracy claims, he is also suing Crump and publisher HarperCollins for defamation over Crump’s recently released book, “Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People.” Zimmerman says the book was written and published with malice.
“Because of the arrest, charges, prosecution and federal investigation, Zimmerman lives in constant fear of physical harm due to regular death threats, which often are expressed in rap music as well as online social media commentary,” the lawsuit states.
Crump pushed back on the allegations in a statement Wednesday, calling the lawsuit a “failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others.”
“[Zimmerman] would have us believe that he is the innocent victim of a deep conspiracy, despite the complete lack of any credible evidence to support his outlandish claims,” Crump said. “This tale defies all logic, and it’s time to close the door on these baseless imaginings.”
Crump’s statement, issued on behalf of himself and Martin’s parents, also says Zimmerman is “revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions.”
“I have every confidence that this unfounded and reckless lawsuit will be revealed for what it is – another failed attempt to defend the indefensible and a shameless attempt to profit off the lives and grief of others,” he said.
Zimmerman is represented by Boca Raton attorney Larry Klayman, who founded the conservative group Freedom Watch. He seeks at least $100 million in damages.
Fulton, Martin’s mother and the first defendant listed in the complaint, is running for the Miami-Dade County Commission in 2020.