February 17th, 2014
04:55 AM ET

Zimmerman: God is 'The Only Judge'

George Zimmerman says he still gets death threats, is still accused of being a racist and is still a lightning rod for criticism.

But in the end, there's only one judge who matters, he told CNN.

"God," Zimmerman said in an interview broadcast on CNN's "New Day" on Monday. "I know that ultimately, he's the only judge that I have to answer to.

"He knows what happened. I know what happened. So I'd leave it up to him."

It's been seven months since a Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in Trayvon Martin's death.

Zimmerman thought his life would go back to normal.

"I was hoping for that," he told Chris Cuomo.

But nearly two years after the night when Zimmerman killed 17-year-old Martin in a Florida subdivision, life is anything but the way it used to be for the 30-year-old former neighborhood watchman.

His run-ins with law enforcement since the trial's July conclusion have kept his name in the headlines. He's recently drawn renewed criticism for using his notoriety to hawk his own artwork.

And now, the man who once aspired to become a police officer tells CNN he's hoping to go back to school and pursue a career as a lawyer "to stop the miscarriage of justice."

"I'd like to professionally ... continue my education and hopefully become an attorney," he said. "I think that's the best way to stop the miscarriage of justice that happened to me from happening to somebody else. I don't think it should ever happen to anyone ever again, not one person."

Zimmerman maintains that he acted in self-defense within the law when he shot Martin.

And he says he was a scapegoat for "the government, the President, the attorney general."

'I'm sorry for their loss'

Among the misconceptions Zimmerman says still linger about the case: that he's never apologized to Martin's family.

He said he still thinks about everybody involved: about Martin's family, and his own. He said he regrets going out that night, but - citing a pending U.S. Department of Justice civil rights investigation - says he can't answer whether he regrets killing Martin.

He said he'd like to reach out to Martin's family and apologize, like he did during his 2012 bond hearing.

"I would say exactly what I said on the stand," he said, "that I'm sorry for their loss."

At the time, attorneys for Martin's family called the courtroom apology a self-serving act by a man facing a life prison sentence.

Now, Zimmerman's no longer facing prison time - but a string of run-ins with the law since his release have repeatedly sent him back into the spotlight.

It started with a speeding ticket. Next, Zimmerman's wife called 911,saying he was threatening her and her father with a gun. There were no charges, but Zimmerman's wife later filed for divorce. Then, Zimmerman's girlfriend accused him of chasing her with a shotgun. This time, Zimmerman called 911, to get his side of the story out.

His girlfriend later said she wanted charges dropped and lifted a restraining order against him.

Boxing match backlash

Just when Zimmerman's name had faded from the headlines, it came up again this month with reports that he'd be participating in a boxing bout with rapper DMX. After backlash surged, the promoter canceled the fight. Zimmerman says the whole thing was a misunderstanding - and that there were never any racial overtones when he signed on to do the event for charity.

"It was going to be an unknown person and be a smaller event," he said.

"If I went out there and got beat up, the charity was still getting paid," he said. "I don't want to get beat up, but I saw it as an opportunity. I never expected it to be, to turn out the way it did."

Even though his name since the trial has repeatedly made the news, don't expect Zimmerman to comment on current events.

Asked by Cuomo to weigh in on the case of Michael Dunn, a Florida man who killed an African-American teen after a dispute over loud music, he said he didn't know enough details.

"I don't watch news anymore," he said. "I watch comedy shows, home improvement shows. So I'm not well enough informed to give you exacts."


A new hobby

During his interview with CNN, Zimmerman's girlfriend and her young daughter wouldn't leave his side.

Neither, it seems, will controversy - thanks, in part, to his new hobby: painting art, and selling it.

Zimmerman admits he's pushed to get publicity for his artwork. And it's worked. His first painting sold for more than $100,000 on eBay.

"To be honest, I was hoping to be able to provide a decent lifestyle for my family," he said.

In an interview that aired on the Spanish-language Univision network Sunday, Zimmerman said he was unemployed, had a personal debt of $2.5 million and wasn't receiving any government benefits.

But aside from the possible financial boost, Zimmerman said one painting - a portrait depicting Special Prosecutor Angela Corey and slamming the U.S. judicial system - had a deeper purpose.

"It was a creative, tangible forum to show my inner thoughts, my inner feelings. ... It provided a tremendous release for me," he said.

'They don't know me'

Zimmerman says he still gets death threats.

"I have a lot of people saying that, you know, they guarantee that they're going to kill me and I'll never be a free man," he said. "I realize that they don't know me. They know who I was portrayed to be."

People who accuse him of being racist, he said, don't understand that he was raised by Peruvian family members and that some members of his family are black.

"Before the trial, during and after, I've learned that the majority of people, when they sit down with me one-on-one or with my family, they get a completely different perspective on me," he said.

But that doesn't change the anger that many people feel about his case, Cuomo told Zimmerman.

"This case became a metaphor, an example. Your face became the face of, 'This is the guy who gets away with killing a black kid,' " Cuomo said. "What do you do with that?"

Zimmerman says he'll keep fighting that accusation, for as long as it takes.

"If it takes one person a day at a time to help them realize that's not what this case was about," he said, "then that's what I'll do."

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soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. JimmyJam048

    Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It

    A book that must be read by every intelligent American.

    "What went wrong behind the scenes in the Trayvon Martin case? Why does America endure so many tragic shootings like this one? These are the questions at the heart of Suspicion Nation.

    Bestselling author, trial attorney, and NBC News analyst Lisa Bloom covered the murder trial and was appalled by what she witnessed. Bloom now exposes the injustice, conducting new in-depth interviews with key trial participants and digging deeper into the evidence. Suspicion Nation outlines the six biggest mistakes made by the state of Florida that guaranteed it would lose this “winnable case,” and the laws and biases that created the conditions for this tragedy.

    The only nonwhite juror tells her story of painful isolation in the jury room. Rachel Jeantel, the state's star witness, reveals how poorly the state prepared her to testify and what went through her mind on the stand. The medical examiner reveals scientific evidence he wasn’t allowed to present. And a new examination of Trayvon's school suspensions raises questions about racial profiling, all in a country divided over issues of race, gun laws, and violence.

    Suspicion Nation is a riveting courtroom drama that shines a bright light on a case we only thought we knew."

    February 23, 2014 at 12:15 am | Reply
  2. Sam

    Huge fail on Cuomo's part. He approached the interview with the presumption that Zimmerman was guilty. He also stumbled really bad when the prosecutor pointed out that several blacks have also benefitted from the law and challenged him to look at it from the perspective of a bad law and stop inserting race into the debate.

    February 22, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  3. really people

    After all the evidence and testimony i dont get how some think GZ is guilty. My god it was laid out right in front of you. Open your eyes and you shall see the truth!!

    February 21, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  4. John Strong

    Stay strong Zim Zam, don't get the racists and lairs get to you, for you will always have Truth and Justice on your side. God Bless.

    February 20, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Reply
  5. steven smith

    unfortunate shot, 1 inch to the left Martin would be alive and GZ would have gone to jail for attempted manslaughter.

    February 19, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  6. jsaljsalj

    I hate when people say stupid things like "I can't be racist. Some of my family members are black." So what? Blacks can be racist against other blacks. Hispanics can be racist against other Hispanics. It happens all the time. This fool just needs to disappear.

    February 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Reply
    • Dmitri

      I agree. To me it's the same as a person who beats his wife saying "How can I have no respect for women, my mother is a woman"

      February 22, 2014 at 5:49 am | Reply
  7. Phil Esteen

    Even a cowardly murderer like Zimmerman is capable of producing a quote.

    February 19, 2014 at 8:33 am | Reply
  8. Faythe

    To anyone who contributes money, in any way, to this man, whether it's his "art"; his boxing etc; you are aiding and abetting him IMO

    February 19, 2014 at 6:18 am | Reply
  9. cassandra

    The hunting of George Zimmerman
    August 14, 2013
    James Myburgh on what the Trayvon Martin case says about the US media and judicial systems

    excerpt, read the entire article for in depth analysis.

    ....In the chapter on "national delusions" in his 1852 work Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles MacKay noted how "In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first. "

    The Trayvon Martin story is a case study in how, even in the modern day, an advanced industrialized democracy can completely lose its senses; and how difficult it is for it to then recover them. In this particular matter a whole society seemingly fixed its mind on the one object of having George Zimmerman arrested, convicted and sent to jail
    for life, in reckless disregard of the evidence and the law. The mainstream media, so-called civil rights organizations, the Democrat President of the US, the US Attorney General, the Republican Governor of Florida and his Attorney General, and State Attorney Angela Corey all combined forces in an effort to destroy a single, isolated individual.

    Yet, as documented above, we now know that the incendiary claims made by the Martin family team – which ignited and then fueled this state of national hysteria – were almost all bogus. Zimmerman's legal team came very close to proving, beyond reasonable doubt, that their client had acted in reasonable fear of his life and great bodily injury in
    shooting Trayvon Martin; an inversion of the usual burden of proof. The Sanford police knew from the beginning that the evidence tended to support Zimmerman's self-defense claim which is why they had been reluctant to make an arrest.

    The failures of the mainstream media in their reporting on this case were manifold. The claims of the Martin family team should have, from the beginning, been treated with some degree of caution. Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and their lawyers, had two motivations in campaigning in the way that they did for the arrest of George Zimmerman. The one was obviously vengeance, the other greed. Following the arrest of Zimmerman Benjamin Crump sent a letter on May 9 to the Retreat at Twin Lakes' Homeowners' Association announcing the intention of Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton to file suit. This had always been the intention of the Martin family and their
    lawyers. Natalie Jackson had sent a letter to the HOA on March 14 2012 demanding that they preserve any evidence relating to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The Martin team reached a settlement agreement with the HOA's insurers in early April 2013, which Zimmerman's lawyers estimated amounted to over a million dollars.

    Such precautionary skepticism should have been redoubled once the Martin family team had been caught out, very early on, lying about Trayvon Martin's school record and the existence of and reasons for his multiple suspensions. Instead, they were repeatedly given a free pass, even by the more critically minded journalists and commentators.

    February 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • steven smith

      Agree! And since the Cal-Tec 9mm, just my Cal-Tec 380/very similar/ is not for target practice since really can not aim, it is for self defense. Don't tell me that GZ ; on his back, in the rain and dark and in pain from broken nose etc,aimed to his heart! It was a very unlucky shot, just wanted TM off of him, if go to the left just 1 inch Martin would be alive.I am sorry for the Martin family, but if GZ would just charged with voluntary manslaughter, he would go to jail, just because the crime commited with gun

      February 19, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Reply
      • cassandra

        Yes, transparently self defense, too bad the shot did not miss TM.
        Cuomo fails to ask the DOJ why they are violating a defendants 6th amendment rights, I am not impressed with Cuomo as an attorney or journalist.

        On the issues of race and the killing of a teens by an adults, there are a few recent NY examples suggesting black men received favored status politically and got away with killing white teens when they could have easily stayed in their homes. Chris Cervini and Daniel Cicciaro.


        February 20, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
  10. Louise

    Zimmerman is a delusional wannabe cop who couldn't pass the psyche test to become a real peace officer. The law in Florida was written to protect racist thugs like him and Michael Dunn

    February 18, 2014 at 6:40 am | Reply
  11. Andrew

    This is one of the least objective interviews I have ever seen. Chris Cuomo obviously thinks George got away with murder, and made that very clear during the interview. I think George showed a lot of class for not stalking off to get away from the obvious bias.

    February 18, 2014 at 1:52 am | Reply
  12. Kim

    Why are you interviewing George Zimmerman he is a child killer liar and his family are liars. He is delusional. Him and his family have no values. He can't possibly be a lawyer he is too stupid even for a lawyer. He was not the victim .and when he kills again he can share a cell with Dunn. As far as god goes he will be going straight to hell. He sickening. And I am ashamed of you for interviewing him.

    February 17, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Reply
    • Nique

      I agree Kim and I have a question for everyone here who says TM was just a thug and GZ. If this was
      God's plan or TM wouldn't amount to anything except someone who would commit a crime, then why did God not punish David? Why didn't he punish Mathew because he was an extortionist? Why didn't he kill Paul who used to kill Christians? I don't care what this guy says but he cannot say that this was God's will, because has proven many times that he take bad and use it for good.

      February 19, 2014 at 7:23 am | Reply

    Regardless of what Zimmerman said during the interview I personally feel that he "profiled" Trayvon Martin that fateful night because of the 8 robberies the neighborhood had previously where African-American men had been caught. He didn't know this young man as he didn't live in the area (he was visiting his father @ the fathers girlfriends home) so he assumed he was there to do wrong,that in itself is profiling because had it been a white youth he'd have went about his business. Maybe he isn't a racist,I don't know him personally nor were letters introduced @ the trial (as in Michael Dunn's case) where he let his inner-most hatred show maybe because he never wrote such things where we could come to that conclusion as I have in the case of Michael Dunn. If only he had offered Trayvon a ride home that night to get out of the rain & talk during the short ride and realize that the boy was visiting & walking home from the store not scoping out the area for a break-in. The cases are different but 1 way in which they are the same is that both Zimmerman and Dunn had it in their mind to approach these young men if for no other reason than for the color of their skin.

    February 17, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  14. jon bot

    As a 17 year old at 5'4" 127lbs I was a greater danger to others than at 50 5'8" over 200lbs. George Zimmerman is a stupid man. He placed himself in a no win position. Trevon Martin was a stupid kid, you don't circle back and jump a man when you can just keep walking. I saw video of a man jumped and beaten by a group of teenagers. What should be done? If a teenager attacks, should they be given amnesty for being young and not knowing any better? Should a older larger man be condemned for protecting himself. All should be held accountable. I am not free to go anywhere in America because I am not welcome everywhere. I am not stupid and I do not provoke others. I am not willing to be a victim and just as I was trained at 17 by our US government to take a life if ordered to do so. I would take the life of any attacker no matter what age or size. Should our service members or police officers be haunted because they have taken a life? Most are and that is between them and God. Zimmerman and Martin both made bad choices. I carry a gun to protect myself and others I care about because others carry guns or are just more able to hurt me if they choose to make the wrong choice to try and harm me. Would I feel badly for taking a life? I hope I never have to answer that. I am not willing to be a victim to avoid it. My grandfather was beaten by a man and told he would beat him every time he saw him. My grandfather was tried for killing that man the next time he tried to beat my grandfather. He was found innocent for reason of self defense. It stayed the great family secret until years after my grand parents passed away.

    February 17, 2014 at 9:33 am | Reply
  15. Lamar Sessoms Jr

    Why were there no blacks on the Trayvon Martin jury?

    February 17, 2014 at 8:40 am | Reply
    • Faythe

      Get over it.

      February 19, 2014 at 6:26 am | Reply
  16. Lamar Sessoms Jr

    Why were there only 2 blacks on the jury for the Jordan Davis murder trial with 8 whites, 1 Asian and 1 Hispanic when there were four black victims and one white racist killer involved?

    February 17, 2014 at 8:40 am | Reply
    • Faythe

      Would you rather 12 whites or 12 blacks ?

      February 19, 2014 at 6:24 am | Reply
    • really people

      Jury selection has nothing at all to do with color.Wouldnt that be racist???

      February 21, 2014 at 11:08 pm | Reply
  17. jjill

    I'm unsure as to which attitude is more disturbing, the blatant narcissism or the pathological lack of empathy, both of which display and fester all too frequently in our society today.

    February 17, 2014 at 7:35 am | Reply
  18. Mike jones

    There is a old saying "Goes Around Comes Around" He is he's own faith! God knows the truth! he will be judge by the almighty!

    February 17, 2014 at 7:07 am | Reply
  19. T. Jackson

    After Chris Cuomo's interview, I am more convinced than ever that George Zimmerman is a racist. He obviously feels he above the law. It may not haunt his now, but just wait until he becomes a father. This guy needs to stay out of the public.

    February 17, 2014 at 6:29 am | Reply

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