Angela Corey, the special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case, announced Tuesday she will make her decision on whether to charge George Zimmerman within 72 hours — by Friday. And given recent events, her decision has become tougher, especially if she leans against prosecution.
Unless her investigation of the fatal shooting of Mr. Martin by a neighborhood watch coordinator, George Zimmerman, uncovers a great deal more solid evidence than has been disclosed, the case will remain a narrative Rorschach that each side will interpret as it wishes. Finding the criminal charges that can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, or deciding that Mr. Zimmerman’s account of defending himself in the face of deadly force places him within the protections of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, Ms. Corey has undertaken an exercise that is unlikely to satisfy everyone [...]
That narrative took a bizarre turn on Tuesday when two lawyers for Mr. Zimmerman held a news conference in Sanford, Fla., to say they had withdrawn from the case and had not heard from him since the weekend. The lawyers, Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig, said that against their advice, their client had reached out to Ms. Corey for a meeting. The special prosecutor had declined to speak with Mr. Zimmerman without his lawyers present. They said Mr. Zimmerman had also contacted the Fox News host Sean Hannity, but would not reveal the substance of the call.
Mr. Zimmerman has also started a Web site, therealgeorgezimmerman.com, asking for funds to deal with the “life altering event” that, he wrote, forced him “to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life.” His lawyers said they had been unaware of Mr. Zimmerman’s plans to create the site.
The lawyers also have made prejudicial extrajudicial statements, both in their announcement that they would leave the case and in media appearances prior to that. So Corey has a lot to wade through, and enormous pressure to deliver.
Corey has already declined to impanel a grand jury in the case, which under Florida law means that she cannot seek a charge of premeditated murder. She may opt for a lesser charge like manslaughter or second-degree murder.
There is also an open investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the FBI and the US Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida. So even if Corey declines to prosecute, Zimmerman would not be in the clear.