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Video: Ex-attorney: Zimmerman not a flight risk

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    >> uhrig are now both joining us. good morning, gentlemen.

    >> good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> craig , first let's start with you. based on what you know, is george zimmerman a potential flight risk? and can you even confirm that he's still in florida?

    >> i don't believe he's a flight risk. he is not in the area. he is -- i can't disclose where he is. but, again, like we said before, if you're, you know, people staking out his house, my office, his parents' house and so on, he's not here. so, that being said, you know, don't keep -- you don't need to keep looking there. he's where he won't be found. he is in contact with fdle, when it becomes necessary for him to turn himself in, i believe he'll do it. i don't believe he's going to flee the country.

    >> hal , you suggested that mr. zimmerman may be suffering from some type of post-traumatic stress syndrome . what causes you to make that statement?

    >> well, let me say this, we've been in contact, and when i say we, primarily i'm talking about mr. sonner, has been in contact with both him and the family, able to draw some conclusions about maybe his mental state , or emotional state , perhaps is a better way to say it. and frankly, his actions here recently don't speak of someone who's completely doing very well. you've used the term that we're dropping him. i'm not sure that's the fair way to characterize it. let's say that we're simply announcing that the relationship no longer exists based on learning from the special prosecutor directly that he had contacted them, when they said we won't talk to you without your lawyers, he said, well they don't really represent me now, they were just my legal advisers, so i can come in and talk to you.

    >> it's interesting you talk about this announcement, because you, of course, know that some people in your profession are criticizing the two of you for making this announcement so public. you're on television this morning. you were last night. and that you're making this announcement while also casting aspersions, essentially, on your former client's mental acuity. i mean -- or ability -- or i -- i suppose his wellness. you believe that you are crossing a line of what lawyers should be doing here? craig ?

    >> let me be clear on two things. first of all, we're not casting any aspersions on george zimmerman whatsoever. we're expressing a concern for his emotional state , given the way that actions have taken place recently. you do that any time you go to a bond hearing. you do it in sentencing hearings. and sometimes you do it in the court of public opinion .

    >> but do you do it publicly --

    >> it cast him in a more favorable light to let the public know he's not a bad guy . he may just be an emotionally beat down guy by this process.

    >> and so to what end --

    >> as far as crossing the line . let me finish. as far as us crossing the line and the criticism of some of the other people that are out there, we've listened to some of them and quite frankly i've got a list of people whose opinions i value and for the most part those that are trashing us aren't on the list.

    >> okay. all right. well, and then, sorry by the way for interrupting you earlier trying to get some answers. let me ask you then, craig , about why stepping down just two days after losing contact with zimmerman was not a rash decision.

    >> oh, it's not a rash decision. i can't keep coming on tv and saying i represent him when he's made statements apparently to the prosecutor that he doesn't -- he wants to handle the case himself, and he doesn't want me to take part in it. and i've tried to contact him many times. family have tried to contact him. he's not returning calls to me. he is calling other people. he's saying i'm going to call you back at 9:00. he doesn't call back at 9:00. he's not returning e-mails, he's not returning text messages . the only conclusion i can draw is that he doesn't want me to represent -- to want us to represent him anymore. i can't keep going forward with the evidence shows he doesn't want us to represent him. he's not going to be in contact with me. then it's my ethical duty to step down. it's not -- it doesn't work the other way around.

    >> right -- you can't --

    >> it's a one way street.

    >> you can't reach him. if he is watching right now what is your message to george zimmerman , hal ?

    >> same message we sent to him by phone, fax, text, and e-mail through his website. give us a call. if you've got something you'd like to talk to us about, we're here. we've been ready for you. waiting for you. but if you're -- even if you don't want us to represent you, just call us and tell us that so that we're clear on it.

    >> hal uhrig and also craig sonner. thank you so much. again sorry for interrupting you earlier.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 4/11/2012 8:48:12 AM ET 2012-04-11T12:48:12

Attorney Hal Uhrig said Wednesday he would welcome a call from former client George Zimmerman — and defended his decision to publicly speculate on the Florida man's mental well-being.

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Zimmerman in custody, charged with second-degree murder

"It casts him in a more favorable light to let the public know he's not a bad guy, he may just be an emotionally beat-down guy by the process," Uhrig told Ann Curry on TODAY.

Uhrig was joined by Craig Sonner, another former attorney for Zimmerman, the community watch volunteer who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, for a live interview via satellite from Florida.

Video: George Zimmerman dropped by legal team (on this page)

The pair announced Tuesday they were withdrawing from the case.

"As far as us crossing the line and the criticism from some other people...we've listened to some of them, and quite frankly, I've got a list of people whose opinions I value, and for the most part those that are trashing us are not on the list," Uhrig told TODAY.

Sonner and Uhrig said they had lost contact with Zimmerman on Sunday, that he has gone into hiding, and that against their advice, Zimmerman had reached out to special prosecutor Angela Corey. Corey, who is expected to announce this week whether Zimmerman will face charges in Martin's shooting death, declined to speak to him.

Video: Ex-attorney: Zimmerman not a flight risk (on this page)

Zimmerman had also contacted Fox News' Sean Hannity. Hannity confirmed on air Tuesday evening he had spoken to Zimmerman about the case Monday but would not report on what was said.

Story: Florida prosecutor to release new information in Martin shooting

Still, the attorneys told Curry Wednesday they would still welcome contact from him.

"(It's) the same message we've sent to him by phone, fax, text and e-mail through his website: Give us a call," Uhrig said. "If you've got something you'd like to talk to us about, we're here; we've been ready for you. But even if you don't want us to represent you, just call us and tell us that so we're clear on it."

Martin's family and their attorney Benjamin Crump have expressed concern over Zimmerman leaving the state of Florida, and while they believe Florida authorities know his whereabouts, they harbor doubts.

"Until there's an arrest and we see him in handcuffs, we don't assume anything," Crump told NBC News' Kerry Sanders. "Is he going to be arrested, is he ever going to be held accountable for killing Trayvon Martin? That's the question."

Video: Retracing Trayvon Martin’s last night

But Sonner said Wednesday he doesn't believe Zimmerman will flee.

"I don't believe he's a flight risk," Sonner said. "I can't disclose where he is...but he's in contact (with authorities). If it becomes necessary to turn himself in I believe he will do it. I don't believe he's going to flee the country."

Uhrig added it is erroneous to say he and Sonner dropped Zimmerman as a client — insisting it's the other way around.

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"We're simply announcing that the relationship no longer exists, based on learning from the special prosecutor directly that he had contacted them," Uhrig told Curry. "When they said we won't talk to you without your lawyers, he said, 'Well, they don't really represent me now, they were just my legal advisors so I can come in and talk to you.'"

Story: Lawyers: Unless he's charged, George Zimmerman will speak out

Sonner said he "can't keep coming on TV and saying I represent him" when Zimmerman has cut off contact.
"I've tried to contact him many times. The family has tried to contact him. He's not returning calls to me," he said. "He is calling other people; he's saying, "I'm going to call you back at nine o'clock,' (but) he doesn't call back at nine o'clock.

"He's not returning e-mails to me, he's not returning text messages. The only conclusion I can draw is that he doesn't want me to represent him anymore. It's my ethical duty to step down. It's a one-way street."

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