A website to raise money for Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman will be hitting the Internet soon, as his family looks to fund his legal defense and cover their living expenses, his attorneys said. Meantime, Zimmerman's newest attorney, Hal Uhrig, said that police have evidence indicating that Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin did scuffle on the night of their fateful encounter in Sanford.
Just hours after George Zimmerman's lawyers announced they were no longer representing him, the special prosecutor leading the investigation into Trayvon Martin's death said she would release new information within 72 hours.
State Attorney Angela Corey said in a statement Tuesday night that she "is preparing to release new information regarding the Trayvon Martin shooting death investigation," at a news conference that will be held either in Jacksonville or Sanford.
The statement said she will give the media three hours notice for the time and location.
Meanwhile, Zimmerman's attorneys said they have lost track of him.
"He has gone on his own," Craig Sonner said. "I’m not sure where he’s going or who he’s talking to."
He said that Zimmerman, 28, has not returned phone calls or emails in the past couple of days.
“I still believe that he was acting in self-defense that night," Sonner said, referring to Feb. 26, when Zimmerman shot Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin in Sanford, in what he told police he did in self-defense.
But, Sonner said, he cannot represent a client who doesn't stay in touch with him.
Their withdrawal came after Zimmerman launched a new website to defend himself and raise funds for his legal defense in the wake of the Martin shooting.
Attorney Hal Uhrig said on Tuesday that the website he and Sonner were planning to launch, for technical reasons, did not get posted on time.
On Sunday, Uhrig said, "we lost track of George" -- and on Monday they began getting questions about another website.
"Our initial response was that’s probably bogus. We didn’t talk about that," Uhrig said, but then they confirmed “that he had in fact set that site up, and that it was legitimate."
Sonner said "we've had a good working relationship" with Zimmerman, but he cannot ethically go forward and say he is representing Zimmerman when he is not talking to them.
Zimmerman's simple site features an American flag background and a brief message from Zimmerman about the aftermath of the Feb. 26 shooting of the Miami Gardens 17-year-old in a gated community in Sanford.
"On Sunday February 26th, I was involved in a life altering event which led me to become the subject of intense media coverage," Zimmerman writes. "As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage, I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life. This website's sole purpose is to ensure my supporters they are receiving my full attention without any intermediaries."
Several sites purporting to raise money for Zimmerman have popped up since the shooting, and last week, his attorneys announced they were launching another website, "www.zimmermandefense.com", to fund his legal defense and living expenses.
"It has come to my attention that some persons and/or entities have been collecting funds, thinly veiled as my 'Defense Fund' or 'Legal Fund,'" Zimmerman writes. "I cannot attest to the validity of these other websites as I have not received any funds collected, intended to support my family and I through this trying, tragic time."
Sonner said he and Uhrig last spoke with Zimmerman just before their press conference late Tuesday afternoon in Sanford.
Uhrig said, "We're not taking the position that we are leaving him. We are open to George Zimmerman. But he’s got to reach out to us."
Uhrig said the intense scrutiny that has followed the Martin shooting "has been a terribly corrosive process" for Zimmerman and that he "is not doing well emotionally."
"Our concern is that for him to do this … to handle it this way suggests that he may not be in complete control of what’s going on. We’re concerned for his emotional and physical safety," he said.
Sonner said that he initially agreed to handle Zimmerman's case pro bono until charges were filed, and that he has not met him face to face.
"Because I'm so concerned about his safety, I’m not going to give too much detail. He’s in the United States," he said.
"You can stop looking in Florida. He’s much further away than that," Uhrig told reporters.
Sonner added of Zimmerman's location, "It's been kept secret from a lot of people, and I’m not going to reveal that now."
Martin was visiting with his father at his father's girlfriend's home in the gated community and was walking back from a 7-Eleven when he was shot by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.
Zimmerman had spotted the teen and called 911, telling the dispatcher he was following Martin. The dispatcher told him not to, but Martin and Zimmerman got into a confrontation.
Zimmerman said he shot Martin, who was unarmed, in the scuffle, police said.
Police said Zimmerman had a bloody nose, gash on the back of his head and grass stains on the back of his shirt. His family also claim his nose was broken in the attack.
The Martin family and their attorney say Martin wasn't the aggressor and claim race played a factor in the shooting. Martin was black, while Zimmerman is a biracial Latino.
Zimmerman includes a section on his website titled "MY Race," which includes a Thomas Paine quote with the words "all mankind are my brethren" underlined.
Under a section titled "The Facts," Zimmerman says he can't discuss the details of the shooting.
"I am grateful to my friends that have come to my aid, whether publicly or personally, never questioning my integrity or actions, understanding that I cannot discuss the details of the event on February 26th, and allowing law enforcement to proceed with their investigation unhindered," Zimmerman writes. "Once again, I thank you for your patience and I assure you, the facts will come to light."
As for the donations, Zimmerman says he will be personally maintaining accountability of all funds he receives.
"I have created a Pay Pal account solely linked on this website as I would like to provide an avenue to thank my supporters personally and ensure that any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment," he writes.
The site includes a page called "Album" which shows photos of people displaying their support for him, as well as a form to contact Zimmerman.
Zimmerman hasn't made any public appearances since the shooting and hasn't been charged.
On Monday, Corey, the special prosecutor appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to investigate the case, announced she wouldn't be taking the case to a grand jury.
The grand jury was set to meet Tuesday, but Corey said her decision not to use it shouldn't be considered a factor in the final determination of the case.
Corey said she is still investigating the shooting. After the announcement, Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump released a statement saying he believes Zimmerman will be arrested.
"We are not surprised by this announcement and, in fact, are hopeful that a decision will be reached very soon to arrest George Zimmerman and give Trayvon Martin's family the simple justice they have been seeking all along," Crump said. "The family has been patient throughout this process and asks that those who support them do the same during this very important investigation."
After Sonner and Uhrig held their press conference Tuesday, Crump told NBC 6 that Martin's family "is very concerned because George Zimmerman, the man who killed their child, is unaccounted for."
"That is a really big concern to us because it’s important that he does not try to flee and escape just facing the charges that may come," Crump said.
Sonner said Tuesday that Zimmerman called Corey's office but she wouldn't speak to him because had representation.
In another new development, Uhrig said they learned that Zimmerman called Fox News host Sean Hannity "and we believe that he talked directly with Sean, off the record."
Uhrig maintained that deadly self-defense was necessary in the encounter between Zimmerman and Martin, saying that Zimmerman could have been killed if he had not shot his gun.
“The first person that swung, as far as we can tell, was Trayvon Martin," he said.
Uhrig criticized the media for relying initially on two available, dated photos in their coverage of the case: one of Martin younger and smaller than his 17-year-old self, and a 7-year-old booking photo of Zimmerman. He also chided the media for portraying the story as “big mean man tracks down little boy."
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr., who has temporarily stepped down pending the investigation into the shooting, had said there was no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman, citing the state's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law.
Corey, based in the Jacksonville area, was appointed the special prosecutor in the case by Scott on March 22 after State Attorney Norm Wolfinger, whose district covers Sanford, recused himself.
Scott also appointed a task force led by Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll to hold hearings about the shooting and make recommendations for changing state laws and procedures. The U.S. Justice Department and FBI are also investigating the shooting.
Communities all across the nation have been galvanized by the event. The shooting has led to numerous marches and protests throughout South Florida and across the country, as Martin's family and supporters demand Zimmerman's arrest.
Protesters on Monday forced the Sanford Police Department to temporarily close to the public after police said the demonstrators blocked the entrance. Early Tuesday, Sanford Police said one of their cruisers was found with at least two bullet holes at a school across the street from where Martin was shot.
Police said no one was injured and they are investigating the incident.