George Zimmerman suing Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg for more than $260 million

George Zimmerman Sues Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren for Defamation Zimmerman's suit against the Democratic presidential candidates seeks $265 million in damages. His lawyer, Larry Klayman, filed the suit on Tuesday. Zimmerman, 36, was acquitted of the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2013. In separate tweets earlier this month, both Buttigieg and Warren commemorated what would have been Martin's 25th birthday on February 26. Pete Buttigieg, via Twitter Elizabeth Warren, via Twitter In

George Zimmerman, whose 2013 acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement, is suing two leading Democratic White House contenders for defamation.

On Tuesday, Zimmerman and his attorneys filed a lawsuit in Florida’s 10th Judicial Circuit, alleging U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg defamed him in their attempt to “garner votes in the black community.”

The lawsuit said Warren and Buttigieg’s separate tweets Feb. 5, which would have been Martin’s 25th birthday, used the killing “as a pretext to demagogue and falsely brand Zimmerman as a white supremacist and racist to their millions of Twitter followers.”

Read the lawsuit here.

“Buttigieg and Warren individually defamed and disparaged Zimmerman in separate postings on their Twitter accounts on Feb. 5, 2020,” the lawsuit said. “Buttigieg and Warren defamed Zimmerman for political gain in misguided and malicious attempts to bolster their standings amongst African-American voters, all at Zimmerman’s expense.”

Buttigieg and Warren are battling for crucial African American votes in the race for the Democratic White House nomination.

According to the lawsuit, Warren and Buttigieg falsely tied Martin’s death to “gun violence,” a term that more appropriately describes the “reckless and indiscriminate use of illegally owned firearms." It also claims the tweets defamed Zimmerman by implying he acted out of racism or white supremacy when he shot Martin.

Who was Trayvon Martin? Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old African-American teen who was fatally shot in 2012 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla. Martin was visiting family members who lived in the gated community and had been walking back from a nearby convenience store. He had Skittles and iced tea with him, and no weapon. When Zimmerman had called 911 to report a "suspicious" young man wearing a hoodie, the dispatcher advised him not to leave his car to follow Martin, but he

On Feb. 26, 2012, Martin, 17, attacked Zimmerman, then a neighborhood watch volunteer, in a Sanford, Florida, gated community. Martin, who lived in Miami Gardens, was visiting his father.

Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, who was unarmed, and claimed self-defense. More than a year later, a Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman of murder under the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

» PHOTO GALLERY: Courtroom reaction after Zimmerman not-guilty verdict

Zimmerman's trial and acquittal sparked protests and a national debate about race relations. The Justice Department later decided not to bring a civil rights case against Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is also suing Martin's family, including the boy's mother, Sybrina Fulton, who is running for a Miami-Dade County commission seat.