George Zimmerman, who in 2013 was acquitted after being charged with murder for his fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, has filed a lawsuit against two Democratic presidential candidates seeking $265 million in damages. The complaint, reported Wednesday, accuses Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg of defamation.
At issue are tweets each candidate posted on what would have been Martin's 25th birthday in early February:
My heart goes out to @SybrinaFulton and Trayvon's family and friends. He should still be with us today.
We need to end gun violence and racism. And we need to build a world where all of our children—especially young Black boys—can grow up safe and free. https://t.co/9lXXlRnvzL
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 6, 2020
Trayvon Martin would have been 25 today.
How many 25th birthdays have been stolen from us by white supremacy, gun violence, prejudice, and fear?#BlackLivesMatter
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) February 5, 2020
The posts were made "for political gain in misguided and malicious attempts to bolster their standings amongst African-American voters, all at Zimmerman's expense," the lawsuit filing claims, arguing the timing was merely "a pretext to demagogue and falsely brand Zimmerman as a white supremacist and racist to their millions of Twitter followers."
Zimmerman is already suing Martin's family, including his mother, whom Warren tagged in her tweet. That lawsuit seeks $100 million in damages and alleges falsified testimony.