Trayvon Martin family lawyers hit back at Wolfinger: 'This family deserves answers'

theGRIO REPORT - The family of Trayvon Martin responded to Seminole County State Attorney Norman Wolfinger Tuesday, after he called the allegations the family wants the Justice Department to review, 'outright lies'...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Trayvon Martin’s family responded to Seminole County State Attorney Norman Wolfinger Tuesday, after Wolfinger called the allegations the family wants the Justice Department to review, “outright lies.”

Wolfinger’s office released a statement yesterday blasting a letter sent by Benjamin Crump, one of the attorneys for Martin’s family, to the Justice Department, asking the feds to probe whether the state attorney for Seminole County met with then-Sanford police chief Bill Lee Jr. and his top criminal investigator, Robert O’Connor, on the night Trayvon Martin was shot to death by George Zimmerman, and whether they overruled the lead homicide detective and released Zimmerman, rather than charging him with a crime. The letter also asked for an investigation into the police department’s overall handling of the case. Wolfinger recused himself from the case on March 23rd, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott replaced him, along with the Duval County state attorney, Angela Corey.

Wolfinger’s statement called the allegations in Crump’s letter “outright lies,” saying:

“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.”

Natalie Jackson, a lawyer for Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, told theGrio the family “have a right to ask questions, since nobody is giving them answers, and that’s what they’re doing.”

Jackson said the family is “asking the same questions that the American people are asking.” She added, in a pointed rebuke of Wolfinger, who, an anonymous source told theGrio, personally met with the chief on the night of the shooting, February 26th, after which the decision to release Zimmerman was made: “the family is getting the same information the public is getting, through the media, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be. They should be getting it from the source.”

Jackson said Wolfinger’s office failed to keep the family informed when he had the case, and added, “the only source who can get answers for this family at this point, is the Justice Department.”

Jackson said Trayvon’s parents have a core question: “why was George Zimmerman not arrested that night? Why did [Wolfinger’s office and Sanford police] say there was no probable cause? We as Americans see there was probable cause. That is the core of the problem. If the state attorney had answered that question, we wouldn’t be here. But it’s not acceptable to ignore the family. So let’s not attack these parents when all they want to know is what happened to their dead child. Because no matter what, their child was walking home from the store. If George Zimmerman had stayed in his car, we wouldn’t be here. The lead homicide detective believed there should be an arrest. Why wasn’t [Zimmerman] arrested?”

“The only person who can ask those questions and possibly get an answer is the Justice Department,” Jackson said, “And so [Trayvon’s parents] are asking the Justice Department to please ask these questions and get an answer. They haven’t had a chance to grieve. They deserve those answers.”

Follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport