Skip to main content

Zimmerman balks at ABC interview after network rejects demands

By the CNN Wire Staff
July 20, 2012 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
  • Zimmerman sets up a new website with a video of him speaking in English and Spanish
  • Zimmerman asked ABC for shelter and security for a month, his lawyer says
  • ABC refused, Barbara Walters says, and rebuffs his call on the air
  • He gave his first television interview to Fox News on Wednesday

(CNN) -- The man accused of killing an unarmed Florida teenager dropped plans for a second television interview after the ABC network would not provide a month of "shelter and security" for his family, his attorney said Thursday.

George Zimmerman had been in talks with ABC's show "The View" about an interview to be aired Thursday, a day after he sat down with Fox News commentator Sean Hannity. One of the show's hosts, Barbara Walters, told viewers Thursday that she had been forced to scrub the plans when Zimmerman demanded "a condition that we could not agree to."

Walters would not specify the demand, but Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, told CNN that Zimmerman "asked for shelter and security for his wife for a month. They said they could not do that." Zimmerman had not yet agreed to sit for questions from ABC, O'Mara said, and "decided to wait on doing another interview."

Zimmerman: Shooting 'God's plan'

But near the end of Thursday's show, Walters said Zimmerman called in and offered to talk. She refused.

A photo posted online Monday, December 3, shows George Zimmerman with blood on his nose and lips. His attorneys say it was taken the night unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, 28, faces second-degree murder charges in the death of Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Other evidence photos were released earlier this year: A photo posted online Monday, December 3, shows George Zimmerman with blood on his nose and lips. His attorneys say it was taken the night unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, 28, faces second-degree murder charges in the death of Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Other evidence photos were released earlier this year:
Trayvon Martin evidence
Photos: Trayvon Martin evidence Photos: Trayvon Martin evidence

"If you could not do the interview yesterday, I don't think we should do a quick one today," she said to applause from the studio audience. "If in the future you feel different, we will consider it."

O'Mara said Zimmerman is again soliciting money through the website he set up in the aftermath of the shooting, and the legal defense fund amassed so far is "basically broke." But he said Fox had not offered his client anything in exchange for its session with him, and that Zimmerman agreed to go on the show because Hannity "was fair to him from the beginning, telling everyone to not rush to judgment."

It's Trayvon Martin's parents' turn
Walters' Zimmerman interview a no-go
See new Zimmerman web video to supporters
Tracy Martin on talking to Zimmerman: No

Meanwhile, Zimmerman has created a website with text and a video of him speaking directly to the camera in English and then in Spanish; the website's location is

"I want to set the record straight about some things. I created this website to give me, the real George Zimmerman, a place to do that," Zimmerman writes on the Web page. "This is not my website, this is our website. I am going to use this as a chance to communicate with you and listen to you, and as an opportunity to share important things about the case."

The website also solicits donations to his legal defense fund.

Zimmerman, 28, is charged with second-degree murder in the February 26 death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old who had been walking through Zimmerman's neighborhood that evening. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who was carrying a pistol, has said he killed Martin in self-defense during a struggle.

In interview, Zimmerman gives shooting account, expresses regret

Prosecutors say Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, racially profiled the African-American Martin and ignored a police dispatcher's advice to avoid a confrontation. The case drew national attention because police did not bring charges against Zimmerman in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, saying the circumstances required further investigation.

During the Fox interview, Zimmerman expressed his regrets to Martin's parents, but said, "I'm not a racist, and I'm not a murderer." He said he can't now second-guess what happened, adding, "I feel it was all God's plan."

That drew an angry response from Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton.

"I think it's absolutely ridiculous. God did not have a plan for Trayvon to die and for George Zimmerman to shoot Trayvon for no reason," she told CNN's Soledad O'Brien on Thursday.

Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin, said, "I would just like to know, why did he even get out of the car? Why was my son so suspicious? What made him rush to judge my son and think that he was a criminal?"

Zimmerman told Hannity that Martin appeared to be suspicious as he cut between buildings. He said he moved toward a different area when police told him not to continue following the young man, but Martin approached him with "confrontational" body language.

"He asked me what my problem was," Zimmerman said. "I said I did not have a problem." When he reached for his cell phone, Zimmerman said, Martin punched his nose and broke it.

Zimmerman said he didn't know whether he fell or was pushed to the ground. Martin straddled him and told him to shut up during their struggle, he said.

"He started bashing my head into the concrete sidewalk. And as he broke my nose, I started yelling for help. I was disoriented," he said.

Timeline of events in Trayvon Martin case

Zimmerman said it was his voice heard screaming for help on a recording of a 911 call. "(Martin) started to try to suffocate me, and I continued to push his hands off my mouth and nose." He said he was concerned he would lose consciousness.

Zimmerman told Hannity he had to shoot Martin when Martin told him he was going to die and made a move for Zimmerman's handgun.

Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump told O'Brien that the state attorney will see the interview as a "gift," because Zimmerman's description of what happened conflicts with the 911 calls from the night of the shooting.

Witness alleges she was abused by suspect in Trayvon Martin killing

Zimmerman, who apologized to Martin's parents during an April bail hearing, again expressed regret Wednesday.

"My wife and I don't have any children. I have nephews that I love more than life. I love them more than myself. And I know when they were born, it was a different unique bond and love that I have with them," Zimmerman told Fox. "And I love my children even though that they aren't born yet. I am sorry that they buried their child. I can't imagine what it must feel like. And I pray for them daily."

Tracy Martin said he had no desire to speak with Zimmerman.

"Absolutely not," he said.

Zimmermans has pleaded not guilty and has been free on $1 million bail since early July. He had been granted bail in April but a judge revoked it after finding that Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie Zimmerman, had failed to disclose more than $150,000 in donations from the public among their assets.

Zimmerman asks for another new judge

Zimmerman was arrested in April on the murder charge. His wife was arrested on a perjury charge related to the donations in June. Defense attorney O'Mara told Hannity that he could not comment on the donations, given the case against Shellie Zimmerman.

He did say the case against his client would be an appropriate example of a "stand your ground" defense in Florida. Zimmerman said he had not heard of the law before the incident. He also said the media have made a rush to judgment.

Witnesses tell FBI that George Zimmerman is no racist

CNN's Marylynn Ryan and Michael Martinez contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
George Zimmerman
February 6, 2014 -- Updated 0150 GMT (0950 HKT)
Let's get ready to ... mumble.
January 25, 2014 -- Updated 0135 GMT (0935 HKT)
George Zimmerman, who sold his first painting on eBay for a whopping $100,000, is at it again.
September 29, 2013 -- Updated 1841 GMT (0241 HKT)
George Zimmerman's estranged wife said that while she respects the jury's not guilty verdict in his second-degree murder trial, she now has doubts about his innocence.
July 28, 2013 -- Updated 1711 GMT (0111 HKT)
George Zimmerman's defense team says people should delve into the "substance" of other comments made by a juror who claimed the man who killed Trayvon Martin "got away with murder."
July 28, 2013 -- Updated 1712 GMT (0112 HKT)
A juror in the George Zimmerman trial says she feels the man who killed Trayvon Martin "got away with murder."
July 24, 2013 -- Updated 1952 GMT (0352 HKT)
Four days after he was acquitted of murder, George Zimmerman stepped out of seclusion to help a family.
July 28, 2013 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
Florida law kept George Zimmerman from being held accountable in last year's shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, the teen's mom said.
July 25, 2013 -- Updated 0210 GMT (1010 HKT)
Vowing to keep fighting for his son Trayvon -- even after Zimmerman was acquitted of murder -- Tracy Martin said that his family wants to turn "negative energy" surrounding their plight "into a positive."
July 20, 2013 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
The nation has a long history of self-defense laws. Almost every state allows some version of the "castle" defense, as in "a man's home is his castle."
July 18, 2013 -- Updated 0443 GMT (1243 HKT)
The woman known as Juror B37 in the George Zimmerman trial released a statement exclusively to CNN pushing for new laws.
July 16, 2013 -- Updated 2057 GMT (0457 HKT)
One of the jurors who acquitted George Zimmerman said she had "no doubt" he feared for his life in the final moments of his struggle with Trayvon Martin.
July 17, 2013 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
George Zimmerman "didn't do anything unlawful" and was "justified" in shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, according to one of the jurors who acquitted Zimmerman.
July 17, 2013 -- Updated 0504 GMT (1304 HKT)
The friend who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin when his fatal confrontation with Zimmerman said she is upset at his acquittal on murder charges.
July 16, 2013 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
His trial's over. And now it turns out that George Zimmerman might need the same thing millions of Americans are looking for: a job.
July 15, 2013 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
An employee of the Florida State Attorney's Office who testified that prosecutors withheld evidence from George Zimmerman's defense team has been fired.
July 15, 2013 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
This might sound like a legal conundrum.
July 15, 2013 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
Suspected racism in the justice system, deep-seated, secretive and historic, was the crux of the case for millions, writes Tom Foreman.
March 30, 2012 -- Updated 1533 GMT (2333 HKT)
Just like most any other teenager, Trayvon Martin enjoyed listening to music and going to the movies, friends and family said.
July 2, 2013 -- Updated 1938 GMT (0338 HKT)
With a single phrase, Rachel Jeantel, that friend of Trayvon Martin's, may have lit a fuse in the trial of his accused killer.