We understand that it is unusual for a legal defense to maintain a social media presence on behalf of a defendant, but we also acknowledge that this is a very unusual case. Here are our justifications for our online efforts, and some guidelines we have put in place to help you understand what you can expect. We do understand and acknowledge the criticism that this is an opportunistic move using the event of a tragedy for personal or firm gain. Rest assured, that if the controversy surrounding this matter subsided tomorrow, so would our efforts to address the perceived problems the way we feel is necessary.
First, we contend that social media in this day and age cannot be ignored. It is now a critical part of presidential politics, it has been part of revolutions in the Middle East, and it is going to be an unavoidable part of high-profile legal cases, just as traditional media has been and continues to be. We feel it would be irresponsible to ignore the robust online conversation, and we feel equally as strong about establishing a professional, responsible, and ethical approach to new media.
Discrediting and Eliminating Fraudulent Websites and Social Profiles
We are aggressively working to identify, discredit, and eliminate fraudulent websites and social profiles that pretend to represent George Zimmerman or his legal defense team. A critical part of this effort is 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. We are also working hard to identify negative, hate- or prejudice- based web presence and will report those to the proper authorities.
There is a tremendous volume of conversation on the Internet regarding news about this case. Some of it is based on fact; some is opinion and speculation; some is rumor; and some is malicious misinformation. We are in a position to distinguish (when appropriate) fact from the rest.
Update June 20:
On June 18, we began posting public documents associated with the case. We feel that providing these documents directly on our website allows interested parties to access the information without the filter of the media and thereby serves the purpose of disputing any potential misinformation surrounding the documents. Moving forward, we will use our online presence to post public records, pleadings, and reciprocal discovery that is relevant to the case.
It is also important to understand that we cannot and will not comment about the facts of the case, as that is the purpose of the courts and legal process. Part of our presence online is to discourage public speculation about the facts of the case.
Acknowledging The Larger Significance of the Case
The O’Mara Law Group was engaged for George Zimmerman’s legal defense, but we cannot ignore that there are other issues surrounding the charges against Mr. Zimmerman. Professionally, it is not our place to be involved in the surrounding discussion, but we do feel a responsibility to help distinguish between what is relevant to the current legal case and what is not. It is our hope and intent to assist in focusing the conversation when appropriate, rather than allowing the lack of focus to distort the process.
Providing a Forum for Communication with the Law Firm
We know people have strong opinions about this case, and many people have a strong desire to express their point of view to our firm and to Mr. O’Mara. As you can imagine, we receive a high volume of phone calls, emails, and correspondence on a daily basis to this effect. By maintaining a presence online, we provide a place for people to express their opinions in a place where they feel it is being heard and in a way that is less disruptive to our practice outside of the Zimmerman case.
Providing a Voice for Mr. Zimmerman
We have worked to shut down all of Mr. Zimmerman’s websites and social profiles. It is not in Mr. Zimmerman’s best interests to speak publicly about this case, and as he has hired us to represent him, 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. Please understand that, with pending criminal charges, he cannot speak freely concerning these issues.
We do intend to raise funds on behalf of our client, and when we are approved to do so, we will accept funds online. We understand that this is controversial, but Mr. Zimmerman deserves a fair trial, and mounting a defense is an expensive proposition. Moreover, during the legal proceedings Mr. Zimmerman is unable to work, and it is inappropriate for him to raise funds on his own behalf. Funds raised by our firm will be placed in a trust fund, to which Mr. Zimmerman does not have access, and will be used to fund his defense and pay for reasonable living expenses.