When George Zimmerman’s lawyer, Orlando-based criminal defense attorney Craig Sonner, defended his client to TIME on Sunday night, he would not say whether he is gathering evidence for a trial. But he hints he is thinking ahead to a criminal case. “I err on the side of preparedness,” he says. “Every time I take a case I prepare as though I am going to trial.”
Sonner continues to remain mum on the specifics of the incident, like why police surveillance cameras showed Zimmerman with no apparent blood and grass stains soon after the shooting, or whether or not he has run tests to confirm that Zimmerman’s voice is calling for help on a neighbor’s recorded 911 call. “That will be litigated,” he responds to each question. Then, the refrain: “George Zimmerman was acting in self-defense on the night in question, and when all the information is released, it will show that.”
Two independent forensic voice identification experts found that Zimmerman’s voice did not match the voice crying for help recorded on the 911 calls, according to an Orlando Sentinel investigative report. Sonner replies that throughout the case, “The facts of the evening…have been spun by the media.”
Sonner, who is representing Zimmerman for the first time, took the increasingly high-profile case after Zimmerman’s father reached out to him on his son’s behalf. He did not say whether his client is employed, but he did say that threats against the volunteer watchman are so great that he and his family (he is married but has no children) may never be able to ever return to their home at the Retreat at Twin Lakes. Sonner too has received threats, and his phone is jammed.
Thus far, Sonner says he has had zero communication with Trayvon Martin’s family attorneys. A criminal trial, he explains, would be between the State of Florida and George Zimmerman and would not involve the family lawyers.
As the case proceeds, and if it does go to trial, Sonner says, he will be likely be more able to give a “more complete” account of who Mr. Zimmerman is.