Feb 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

 George Zimmerman,  shooter in the death of Trayvon Martin, faces a judge during a hearing on charges including aggravated assault of his girlfriend November 19, 2013 in Sanford, Florida.

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Florida., seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.

  • He alleges they made false innuendos including tying him to "gun violence," "white supremacy" and "racism," implying that he "thus murdered" Martin as a result, despite him being acquitted of homicide charges in 2013.

Why it matters: The Zimmerman case inspired the Black Lives Matter movement in which Martin's parents have been leading voices.

The big picture: Zimmerman is also suing Martin's parents, a law enforcement agency and a publishing firm for malicious prosecution and defamation.

  • Warren's campaign did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment and a spokesman for Buttigieg declined to.

Go deeper: George Zimmerman sues Trayvon Martin's family for $100M

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