Attorney Mark O'Mara launched the social media campaign last week for his client, who is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. "We understand that it is unusual for a legal defense to maintain a social media presence on behalf of a defendant, but we also acknowledge that this is a very unusual case," O'Mara says in his first website posting.
The lawyer says Zimmerman's legal team started the site to discredit fake websites and social profiles claiming to be Zimmerman, to dispute misinformation and to discourage speculation. Zimmerman claims self-defense in the Martin shooting.
A second website will soon go live to accept donations. Zimmerman's previous website raised more than $200,000 before it was taken down this week by O'Mara, the Orlando Sentinel reports. O'Mara also took down Zimmerman's other social media profiles. "It is not in Mr. Zimmerman's best interests to speak publicly about this case, and as he has hired us to represent him, we feel part of our responsibility to our client is to provide a voice for Mr. Zimmerman, but only when it is appropriate to do so," a post on Zimmerman's site reads.
The new sites have sparked a range of views, including some negative feedback over the intentions of the campaign.