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Florida prosecutor to release new information in Martin shooting

Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig, the former attorneys for George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, tell TODAY's Ann Curry why they withdrew as counsel for Zimmerman and say they believe their former client is not a flight risk.

Updated at 7:56 a.m. ET: The special prosecutor investigating the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida said Tuesday evening that she was preparing to release new information on the investigation, and would do so in the next 72 hours. On Monday,  prosecutor Angela Corey said she would not convene a grand jury probe. The U.S. Justice Department is also looking into the case.

The announcement comes just a few hours after the attorneys for George Zimmerman, the Florida community watch volunteer who shot Martin, said they had lost touch with their client and are withdrawing from the case.

Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig said at a news conference outside the Seminole County Courthouse in Sanford, Fla., they heard that Zimmerman had contacted the special prosecutor who will decide whether or not to press charges against him, against their advice.


They said they have not talked to Zimmerman, whose location is not known, in at least two days but in the past had spoken with him over the phone. “We can’t represent him unless he comes forward and asks us,” Uhrig said.

"We have a pretty good idea where he (Zimmerman) is," Uhrig said, but added that Zimmerman is not answering the phone. The attorneys said they thought Zimmerman was still in the United States, but not likely in Florida.

In a press conference on Tuesday, the attorneys for George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot black teenager Trayvon Martin, announced they are withdrawing as counsel for Zimmerman. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.

Uhrig said Zimmerman had called Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity, which also worried them. "We believe he spoke directly to Sean," Uhrig said. Fox News representative Dana Klinghoffer declined to elaborate to NBC News on the nature of Zimmerman's relationship with Hannity, saying it would be addressed on the show.

On Tuesday evening, Hannity said he had been pursuing an interview with Zimmerman and eventually spoke with him several days ago. Hannity said Zimmerman talked about the case but asked the talk show host not to divulge details on air. 

The attorneys said they still believe in Zimmerman's story that he was attacked by Martin and fired in self-defense.

The attorneys also expressed concern about Zimmerman's "emotional and physical safety" and said he may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They also have reservations about a web site Zimmerman set up to solicit money for help in his defense.

"Him setting up his own website is fine," Sonner said. "I wish he would have told me.” Sonner, the first attorney Zimmerman contacted, said he had been working on the case for free.

The two attorneys said they had never met their client George Zimmerman, but they had communicated with him over email and on the phone. On Sunday, however, they were no longer able to contact him. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.

Zimmerman, whose father is white and his mother Peruvian, says he shot Martin, who was black, in self-defense Feb. 26 after following him in a gated community in Sanford.

Uhrig said that evidence, including a broken nose sustained by Zimmerman, confirms Zimmerman's account of what transpired the night Martin was shot.

“All the evidence that has come out is consistent with the story that George Zimmerman has told,” Uhrig said. He said Martin supporters have focused on "driving racial divisions" in the community.

Tuesday's press conference with Zimmerman's attorneys could cause prosecutors to worry that George Zimmerman might be a flight risk. NBC's Savannah Guthrie reports.

Natalie Jackson, an attorney for the Martin family, responded to the news conference with a statement obtained by NBC News.

"These attorneys continue to make irresponsible statements to the media," Jackson said. "Not only have they spoken recklessly about racial issues, enflaming passions and reinforcing sterotypes, but now they have throw their own client, George Zimmerman, under the bus by alluding to his possible flight from justice."

"The family is very concerned he's (Zimmerman) unaccounted for, the killer of their son. It all begs the question of whether he will ever be brought to justice," Benjamin Crump, another Martin family attorney, told NBC News.

The lack of an arrest or charges in the case has sparked protests nationwide with many claiming that Zimmerman confronted Martin because of his race. Zimmerman's supporters deny that. 

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