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Exclusive: Zimmerman wants to go to law school to help others like him - friends

Posted by on Jul. 14, 2013 at 6:12 PM
  • 12 Replies

George Zimmerman stands alone at the defense table moments after the jury left the courtroom to deliberate during his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida July 12, 2013. REUTERS/Gary W. Green/Pool

NEW YORK | Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:18pm EDT


(Reuters) - After his acquittal on murder charges for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman may go to law school to help people wrongly accused of crimes like himself, close friends told Reuters on Sunday.

The 29-year old was found not guilty late Saturday for shooting the unarmed black teenager in a case that sparked a national debate on race and gun laws. One of his first calls was to defense witness John Donnelly and his wife Leanne Benjamin.

They got to know Zimmerman in 2004 when he and a black friend opened up an insurance office in a Florida building where Benjamin worked. They grew close and the couple spent time with him during the trial.

Over dinner with Zimmerman recently, Benjamin said he told them he would like to go to law school.

"I'd like to help other people like me," she quoted him as telling them.

Zimmerman, an insurance investigator, attended community college and was a credit shy of an associate's degree in criminal justice but was kicked out of school because he posed a danger to the campus, according to family sources.

"Everybody said he was a cop-wannabe but he's interested in law," Benjamin said. "He sees it as a potential path forward to help other people like himself."

Zimmerman's defense attorney Mark O'Mara agreed.

"He wanted to be a cop for awhile, but he's talked about going to law school," O'Mara told Reuters on Sunday.

"He has a real interest in the law and ... prosecuting appropriately - not like what he got - is something he's very interested in. I will not be surprised if he ends up in criminal law," O'Mara said. "His dad was a judge, and he wants to be a prosecutor or a lawyer."

Experience shows that re-building life after a major trial may prove difficult, even for those acquitted of headline-making crimes.

Casey Anthony, the young Orlando mother acquitted in 2011 of killing her 3-year-old daughter Caylee, remains hidden and unemployed while her lawyers fight civil lawsuits seeking monetary damages from her.

Former NFL star O.J. Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of killing his wife and an acquaintance, but his life fell apart. He lost a $33 million wrongful death civil suit in 1997, moved to Florida where he was arrested and eventually sent to prison in 2008 for up to 33 years for robbery and kidnapping.

THREATS TO HIS LIFE

Even O'Mara and Zimmerman's brother, Robert, admitted his life would never be the same after the trial, which has forced him to go out in disguise and wear bullet proof vests because of threats to his life.

Donnelly told Reuters that Zimmerman was hurt very deeply by prosecutors' portrayals of him as a racist vigilante who targeted and pursued Martin simply because he was black.

"The person they are talking about is somebody completely different," Donnelly quoted Zimmerman as telling him recently. "Sometimes I have to go look at a mirror. They are talking about a totally different human being. They are talking about a racist. I'm not a racist."

He said Zimmerman was anything but.

"He's been mentoring young black kids for years, he launched a campaign to help a homeless black man who was beaten up by a white kid, and he still just can't believe all the things that have been said about him in the media."

Other friends of Zimmerman who spoke exclusively to Reuters remain angry at what he has endured since the shooting.

"I knew the man was innocent the whole time,'' said Jorge Rodriguez. "He called me yesterday to thank me ... for believing in him. He was just so relieved."

Rodriguez is deeply frustrated by civil rights activists like Al Sharpton, who he feels pressured prosecutors into charging Zimmerman with a crime he didn't commit.

"Everybody asked for justice, and they got it," Rodriguez said. "Everybody asked for George to be arrested, and they got it. Everybody asked for George to be tried, and they got it. Everybody asked for a fair trial, and they got it."

He dismissed criticism of the prosecution and calls by civil rights groups for a federal civil rights investigation. The Martin family is also considering a wrongful death civil suit.

"Now can't we leave George Zimmerman alone?", Rodriguez said. "It was nothing about racism. It was about the community being robbed and broken into, and one man stood up. The state should be giving this man an award, and instead they took him to trial."

(Additional reporting by Barbara Liston in Sanford; Editing by Dina Kyriakidou, Bernard Orr)

by on Jul. 14, 2013 at 6:12 PM
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Replies (1-10):
trippyhippy
by on Jul. 14, 2013 at 6:21 PM
I got the impression that he's not the brightest. Doubt he's capable of becoming a lawyer. But hey, I'm sure the george lovers will send him lots more cash so he can pretend to try to become one on their dime.
SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Jul. 14, 2013 at 6:55 PM
1 mom liked this

I think GZ is naive, but sincere - not stupid. 

I also used to believe the media's narrative until I learned about the actual facts. I recommend LegalInsurrection.com - for videos of the entire trial, analysis, and even live Tweets from the trial.  If you learn what the actual facts are -vs basing judgments on emotions - you likely will have a different opinion.

Trayvon's death was an absolute tragedy. It did not have to happen.

If Trayvon had actually gone home, and not beaten the crap out of GZ so that he feared for his life, and not done what GZ believed was reach for his weapon - TM would be alive today.


Quoting trippyhippy:

I got the impression that he's not the brightest. Doubt he's capable of becoming a lawyer. But hey, I'm sure the george lovers will send him lots more cash so he can pretend to try to become one on their dime.



Ziva65
by Bronze Member on Jul. 14, 2013 at 7:16 PM
2 moms liked this

:( Even the article is biased.

I just watched part of the trial on some cable channel. MJ is right, the media and people's assumptions are astounding.

I wish him well, after what he went through I hope he really becomes successful and probaably has learned alot about how the system should work. I wish there were a way for him to sue the system for all the time they took from his life-

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Jul. 14, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Every article is biased, Ziva - every article has a point of view. I think you are just not used to ones defending GZ. That's understandable, since the vast majority of the media have been biased against GZ for the past 16 months. And their bias is especially demonizing of GZ - and astonishingly disappointed - because they never expected him to be acquitted, based on their narrative and not on the evidence.

Please learn more about the case. I found LegalInsurrection.com to be an excellent site with videos of the entire trial, analysis, and even llive blogging via Tweet. Their coverage is remarkable - I learned about them during week 1 of the trial.


Quoting Ziva65:

:( Even the article is biased.

I just watched part of the trial on some cable channel. MJ is right, the media and people's assumptions are astounding.

I wish him well, after what he went through I hope he really becomes successful and probaably has learned alot about how the system should work. I wish there were a way for him to sue the system for all the time they took from his life-



muslimah
by on Jul. 14, 2013 at 9:39 PM
3 moms liked this

 This is what fucks me up. They got everything they asked for but when it didn't go their way that wasn't good enough.

"Everybody asked for justice, and they got it," Rodriguez said. "Everybody asked for George to be arrested, and they got it. Everybody asked for George to be tried, and they got it. Everybody asked for a fair trial, and they got it."

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Jul. 14, 2013 at 9:42 PM

clapping


Quoting muslimah:

 This is what fucks me up. They got everything they asked for but when it didn't go their way that wasn't good enough.

"Everybody asked for justice, and they got it," Rodriguez said. "Everybody asked for George to be arrested, and they got it. Everybody asked for George to be tried, and they got it. Everybody asked for a fair trial, and they got it."



Ziva65
by Bronze Member on Jul. 14, 2013 at 11:16 PM

 

Oh- I didn't watch news on it- I'm not "used" to any of it really, I find most news/ media to be more liberal and biased than actually newsworthy. The news is skewed. I watched a good portion of the trial directly on cable. The prosecution didn't have much to go on anyway.  Much more interesting to see live aspects of it, and discuss it with friends who are prosecutors. I went to law school, but never was interested in taking the bar- we had fun picking it apart. Overall though, I'm not interested in watching more of it, or learning more of it.

I just honestly wish him well. I fear there is a vendetta, and the family will still try to ruin his life.

I know every article has a point of view, but some are certainly not as biased as others. I don't put too much credence in the medias reports anyway- but just like CM, they can be entertaining.

When I talk about peoples assumptions, I'm talking specifically about people here on CM- and how viscous they are (not this group so much but another one in particular). The media is better than they are actually.

Quoting SallyMJ:

Every article is biased, Ziva - every article has a point of view. I think you are just not used to ones defending GZ. That's understandable, since the vast majority of the media have been biased against GZ for the past 16 months. And their bias is especially demonizing of GZ - and astonishingly disappointed - because they never expected him to be acquitted, based on their narrative and not on the evidence.

Please learn more about the case. I found LegalInsurrection.com to be an excellent site with videos of the entire trial, analysis, and even llive blogging via Tweet. Their coverage is remarkable - I learned about them during week 1 of the trial.

 

Quoting Ziva65:

:( Even the article is biased.

I just watched part of the trial on some cable channel. MJ is right, the media and people's assumptions are astounding.

I wish him well, after what he went through I hope he really becomes successful and probaably has learned alot about how the system should work. I wish there were a way for him to sue the system for all the time they took from his life-

 

 

 

 

Ziva65
by Bronze Member on Jul. 14, 2013 at 11:20 PM
1 mom liked this

 

I totally agree.

Quoting muslimah:

 This is what fucks me up. They got everything they asked for but when it didn't go their way that wasn't good enough.

"Everybody asked for justice, and they got it," Rodriguez said. "Everybody asked for George to be arrested, and they got it. Everybody asked for George to be tried, and they got it. Everybody asked for a fair trial, and they got it."


 

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Jul. 15, 2013 at 12:25 AM
1 mom liked this

I agree.

I have learned a LOT about the criminal justice system from this case - unfortunately, a lot about malicious prosecution. It will be interesting to see those lawsuits against the prosecution, and to see if Angela Corey loses her license, a la Mike Nifong.

The prosecution's whole case against GZ has been political - and I feared the jury would decide based on politics and "heart" or emotion - as the prosecution told them to do!!! - rather than on evidence. 

I am heartened about the verdict. As Don West, the assistant defense attorney, "There are no winners, there are no monsters (the way the media had demonized GZ)."


Quoting Ziva65:


Oh- I didn't watch news on it- I'm not "used" to any of it really, I find most news/ media to be more liberal and biased than actually newsworthy. The news is skewed. I watched a good portion of the trial directly on cable. The prosecution didn't have much to go on anyway.  Much more interesting to see live aspects of it, and discuss it with friends who are prosecutors. I went to law school, but never was interested in taking the bar- we had fun picking it apart. Overall though, I'm not interested in watching more of it, or learning more of it.

I just honestly wish him well. I fear there is a vendetta, and the family will still try to ruin his life.

I know every article has a point of view, but some are certainly not as biased as others. I don't put too much credence in the medias reports anyway- but just like CM, they can be entertaining.

When I talk about peoples assumptions, I'm talking specifically about people here on CM- and how viscous they are (not this group so much but another one in particular). The media is better than they are actually.

Quoting SallyMJ:

Every article is biased, Ziva - every article has a point of view. I think you are just not used to ones defending GZ. That's understandable, since the vast majority of the media have been biased against GZ for the past 16 months. And their bias is especially demonizing of GZ - and astonishingly disappointed - because they never expected him to be acquitted, based on their narrative and not on the evidence.

Please learn more about the case. I found LegalInsurrection.com to be an excellent site with videos of the entire trial, analysis, and even llive blogging via Tweet. Their coverage is remarkable - I learned about them during week 1 of the trial.


Quoting Ziva65:

:( Even the article is biased.

I just watched part of the trial on some cable channel. MJ is right, the media and people's assumptions are astounding.

I wish him well, after what he went through I hope he really becomes successful and probaably has learned alot about how the system should work. I wish there were a way for him to sue the system for all the time they took from his life-







JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on Jul. 15, 2013 at 9:45 AM
If it's something he wants to do then good for him
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