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George Zimmerman unveils Facebook, Twitter, new website

Legal team attempting to leverage social media in defense case.

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Attorney Mark O'Mara is using Facebook, Twitter and a dedicated website in his defense of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin. (Facebook.com/Screengrab)

Lawyers representing George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, have established Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as a new website, on their client’s behalf.

The social media blitz is to “discourage speculation regarding the facts and evidence of the case,” a press release on http://gzlegalcase.com reads.

The site will also raise money for his legal defense, while “establishing the credibility of official digital properties that the media and the public can trust as the official voice for what is legitimate and what is not.”

Martin, 28, said his shooting of Martin in late February near his home in Sanford, Fla., was self-defense, Reuters reported.

Police didn’t charge him, sparking an international outcry and an independent investigation.

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A special prosecutor in the case has now charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder. Zimmerman pleaded not guilty and was released on $150,000 bail.

“It is not in Mr. Zimmerman’s best interests to speak publicly about this case, and as he has hired us to represent him,” defense attorney Mark O’Mara told Reuters. “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.”

Zimmerman’s first website, therealgeorgezimmerman.com, was a crude effort but raised more than $200,000 for his legal defense and lost income before being closed, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

His lawyers said they were unaware of the money, but admitted social media’s role in society is growing too fast to ignore.

As of Monday night, @GZlegalcase had more than 1,000 followers, while his Facebook page had more than 1,500 “likes.”

“This is a brilliant move on his part,” Florida psychologist and trial consultant Amy Singer told the Sentinel. “You get a lot of comments, a lot of perspectives, a lot of discussion (online).”

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120501/george-zimmerman-unveils-facebook-twitter-new-we