George Zimmerman's family has announced plans to launch a website today that will help raise money to fund his legal defense and cover the family's living expenses. NBC News has confirmed the launch of the Internet destination with the law office of Hal Uhrig, the latest attorney hired by Zimmerman to manage his case.
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Uhrig and Zimmerman's first lawyer, Craig Sonner, have released a statement explaining the intention of the site. "George Zimmerman's family has setup a website for anyone who would like help with George and his family with their living expenses [sic] and for his defense," the statement reads. "Please go to the website at www.zimmermandefense .com."
Uhrig has confirmed with NBC News that the URL
"www.zimmermandefens e.com" will be live later today, but the launch time is not specified.
Zimmerman came to national attention for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen, while the youth was visiting the gated Sanford, Fla. community where Zimmerman lived and volunteered for his undocumented neighborhood watch program.
Before the shooting, Zimmerman worked at Digital Risk, a mortgage risk management firm in Maitland, Fla. The company has stated that Zimmerman stopped reporting to work after the Feb. 26 shooting.
Zimmerman, a bi-racial Latino, was not arrested or charged for killing Trayvon Martin. Police have stated that he was released because he used a registered handgun, and Zimmerman assured police that he acted in self-defense, citing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. This controversial statute authorizes the use of deadly force if one is confronted with a lethal threat.
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Martin was unarmed at the time of the killing, sparking national outrage regarding several aspects of the case. Some believe racial bias motivated the Sanford police department to inadequately investigate Zimmerman's claims. Others question Zimmerman's assertion that deadly force was necessary, and see Trayvon as a victim of the older man's alleged penchant for racial profiling as a watchman.
As critical media coverage and protests calling for Zimmerman's arrest have intensified, the 28-year-old has gone into hiding. Florida State Attorney Angela Corey is now investigating whether Zimmerman will be charged.
Alexis Weiss of NBC News contributed to this report.
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb
Trayvon Martin case: Zimmerman's family to launch fundraising website for legal defense, living expenses