This story has been updated
Lawyers for the family of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed at a Sanford, Florida housing complex on February 26th, want the Justice Department to look into whether members of Zimmerman’s family, and the state attorney then on the case, were at the police station on the night of the shooting.
In a letter to Roy Austin, the deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, dated April 2nd, attorney Benjamin Crump states that, since their last meeting with Justice officials, the attorneys ‘have learned new information which is of paramount importance in considering whether or not a fair and impartial investigation was conducted by the Sanford police department.”
“In particular,” the letter states, “we learned that on the night of February 26, 2012, within hours of the shooting in which Trayvon Martin was killed, Sanford Chief of Police Bill Lee met with State Attorney Norm Wolfinger. We also believe that family members of shooter George Zimmerman were present at the police department.”
The letter goes on to list other issues, including allegations that Wolfinger and Lee overruled the investigating homicide detective, Chris Serino, who, according to news reports, disbelieved Zimmerman’s account of the shooting and recommended that he be arrested for manslaughter.
The letter doesn’t doesn’t offer any caveats regarding the allegations, including reporting by theGrio, via an anonymous source, that Wolfinger traveled from his home on the night of the shooting, after 7:30 p.m. on a Sunday night, to confer with the police chief and the investigations supervisor, Robert O’Connor.
But sources tell theGrio that rumors are swirling in Sanford, that Zimmerman’s father Robert, a former magistrate judge in Virginia, picked Zimmerman up from the police station after he was released.
Robert Zimmerman has given what he calls his son’s account of the shooting, saying Trayvon Martin attacked George Zimmerman and went for his gun before being shot.
As a magistrate, the elder Zimmerman’s responsibilities included conducting probable cause hearings for persons entering the Virginia criminal justice system and determining whether to issue search warrants in criminal cases.
UPDATE: The office of State Attorney Norman Wolfinger released the following statement Monday at 4:09 p.m.:
I am outraged by the outright lies contained in the letter by Benjamin Crump to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin dated April 2, 2012. I encourage the Justice Department to investigate and document that no such meeting or communication occurred. I have been encouraging those spreading the irresponsible rhetoric to stop and allow State Attorney Angela Corey to complete her work. Another falsehood distributed to the media does nothing to forward that process.
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