SANFORD, Fla. (CBS Tampa/AP) — George Zimmerman will apparently be stepping into a boxing ring for charity.
Zimmerman, who was acquitted last year of second-degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, told Radar Online that he will compete in a celebrity boxing match to raise money for an unnamed charity.
“Prior to the incident I was actually going to the gym for weight loss and doing boxing-type training for weight loss and a mutual friend put me in contact with Damon (Feldman) and provided me with an opportunity and motivation to get back in shape and continue with my weight loss and also be able to help a charity out,” Zimmerman told Radar Online.
Damon Feldman is running the celebrity boxing event. No opponent has been named yet.
The charity has not been named due to fear of negative reaction from the public.
“I’ll leave it up to them to say if they want it to be publicized or not,” Zimmerman said. “But I will tell you that it’s an animal rescue.”
Last week, The Associated Press demanded Zimmerman halt the sale of one of his paintings because the news agency says it directly copies an AP photo.
Zimmerman’s painting depicts Jacksonville-based prosecutor Angela Corey holding her thumb and fingers together. An apparently made-up quote Zimmerman added to the piece reads, “I have this much respect for the American judicial system.”
Corey’s office prosecuted Zimmerman for the shooting death of Martin.
Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., posted an image of the painting last Wednesday on Twitter and tweeted a day later that they were in negotiations with possible buyers.
— Robert Zimmerman JR (@rzimmermanjr) January 22, 2014
A letter with the AP’s demands said that Zimmerman’s painting was a direct copy of an AP photo taken at the April 2012 news conference where Corey announced Zimmerman would be charged with murder. It was taken for the AP by freelancer Rick Wilson. The news cooperative asked that any sale be blocked — and that, if there has been a sale, that the AP be paid damages.
The AP sent the letter to Jayne Weintraub, one of a handful of attorneys who has recently represented Zimmerman. Weintraub said she no longer represents Zimmerman but said she will forward the letter to him.
“George Zimmerman clearly directly copied an AP photo to create his painting of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey,” AP spokesman Paul Colford said in a written statement.
Zimmerman sold another painting on eBay last month, with a winning bid of $100,099.99.
On Twitter, George Zimmerman wrote last Friday evening: “No worries AP, I’ll just take whatever U sue me for off your tab when I’m done suing you Or… I could put out how much U offered me 2..”
No worries AP, I’ll just take whatever U sue me for off your tab when I’m done suing you Or… I could put out how much U offered me 2..
— George Zimmerman (@TherealGeorgeZ) January 24, 2014
Responding to Zimmerman’s tweet, Colford, the AP spokesman, said: “We don’t know what he’s talking about.”
Martin’s fatal shooting sparked nationwide debates about race and self-defense. Zimmerman was accused of racially profiling Martin, while he said he shot the teen to protect himself.
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