Natalie Jackson, an attorney for Martin’s family, said these lawyers “continue to make irresponsible statements to the media.” In a statement obtained by NBC News she said, “Not only have they spoken recklessly about racial issues, enflaming passions and reinforcing stereotypes,” now they’ve thrown “their own client, George Zimmerman, under the bus by [alluding] to his possible flight from justice.”
Yes, it would be nice if attorneys involved with the case refrained from making irresponsible statements to the media, speaking recklessly about racial issues and inflaming passions. It should be noted that this is the same attorney Natalie Jackson who, with colleague Benjamin Crump, promoted the “cold blood” or “two shots” account of the case that was influentially picked up by the New York Times’s Lizette Alvarez on March 17 and then by much of the rest of the press:
On the recordings, one shot, an apparent warning or miss, is heard, followed by a voice begging or pleading, and a cry. A second shot is then heard, and the pleading stops.
“It is so clear that this was a 17-year-old boy pleading for his life, and someone shot him in cold blood,” said Natalie Jackson, one of the Martin family lawyers.
Soon thereafter, the Orlando Sentinel found that only one bullet had been fired from Zimmerman’s gun. While indirectly acknowledging the problems with the audio — put more bluntly, the first “shot” was imaginary — the Times has appended no correction regarding the “two shots” account, though it has corrected an unrelated error in the Lizette Alvarez story.
Tom Maguire at Just One Minute has been all over media misreporting of the Martin/Zimmerman case, including the two-shots account. He points out that a large number of memes unfavorable to Zimmerman, and which turned out to need revision or correction in later coverage, originated with the Martin family’s lawyers, particularly Benjamin Crump. That would include Zimmerman’s allegedly huge weight advantage over Martin, the supposed “racial slur” that dominated coverage for a few days, and the negligence of the Sanford police department in still (“unbelievably,” says Emily Bazelon) not having interviewed Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend, who allegedly “heard him get pushed” over a cellphone (when in fact the family’s lawyers had instructed her not to cooperate). Related here (on civil suit against homeowners’ association).
I would not place any bets that with Zimmerman’s original lawyers out of the case we will now be spared irresponsible or racially inflammatory lawyering.