George Zimmerman Could Face Civil Suits, Death Threats, Federal Prosecution


Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara told reporters at a press conference Saturday that his client will now focus on getting his life back.

"This verdict still has nothing to do with civil rights. Civil rights has to be talked about, but not in relation to George Zimmerman," O'Mara said about the trial's effect on race relations. "This is a tragedy but not one that Zimmerman is responsible for."

But O'Mara told ABC News that Zimmerman continues to fear for his safety. He is still wearing a bulletproof vest and he may still have to live in hiding.

If a civil case is brought against Zimmerman, "Nightline" anchor and ABC's Chief Legal Affairs anchor Dan Abrams said that, in Florida, his defense team can make a motion to have a civil case dismissed under the "Stand Your Ground" law. It states that a person whose self defense claim is found lawful "is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such self defense."

In April, Zimmerman's defense team chose to waive the pre-trial Stand Your Ground hearing, and put their case before a jury. The hearing would have given the judge the discretion to free Zimmerman, eliminating the need for a trial. But the validity of a Stand Your Ground defense would be determined solely by a judge.

If Zimmerman were given immunity from a civil suit under the "Stand Your Ground" law, Abrams said, the defense might be able to win "reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff," according to Florida law.

Martin's family might be reluctant to file a civil suit, Abrams added, because they may decide it is not worth the emotional cost or they might fear that they could wind up owing Zimmerman money, if he is deemed to have "stood his ground" under the Florida law.

For defendants in high-profile murder cases, starting over after a not-guilty verdict can be extremely difficult. Casey Anthony, who acquitted of killing her daughter Caylee in 2011, still faces two civil defamation lawsuits.

She has been unemployed for four years and in hiding since her trial ended in 2011. She was the victim of a barrage of threats and was dubbed the most hated woman in America. Aside from a few stray photos, Anthony has succeeded in staying out of sight.

Jose Baez, Anthony's defense attorney, said on "Good Morning America" this morning that like Anthony, Zimmerman "won't be able to live a normal life ever again."

"They are forever etched in history and they will have to go and live quiet lives somewhere and try to do something with their lives," Baez said.

Last week, attorney Allan Watkins told that Anthony was borrowing money from a friend to make a $25,000 payment that will settle $800,000 worth of debts Anthony owes to lawyers and other creditors in legal fees.

O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder in the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1995, but then had to shell out millions in wrongful death civil suits brought forth by the victims' families. Then on Oct. 3, 2008, Simpson was convicted on armed robbery and kidnapping charges in an incident in which he claimed he was trying to get back sports memorabilia that had been taken from him, and was sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison.

Simpson has been serving his sentence at Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada. A parole hearing is scheduled for July 25.

ABC News' Matt Gutman, Seni Tienabeso, Christina Ng and Alyssa Newcomb contributed to this report.

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