When NBC reporter and my fellow National Association of Black Journalists board member Mara Schiavocampo reported yesterday that George Zimmerman had started a website and was seeking contributions for his legal defense, I thought it was too good to be true.
But moments later, when Schiavocampo and fellow NBC and MSNBC reporters had confirmed the site’s authenticity with Zimmerman’s legal team, I threw off my skeptic’s hat and went into reporter mode.
Was it possible to further prove if it was Zimmerman behind this relatively new site? Could I track down contact information for him using it?
About 20 minutes later, after a series of online searches and digging, I found myself in the midst of a seven-email exchange with a site administrator claiming to be Zimmerman himself. Our correspondence was brief and it’s important to note that, without further confirmation from his legal team, it’s impossible to confirm 100 percent that it was Zimmerman with whom I was speaking.
Calls to the Zimmerman legal team seeking confirmation that the man behind these emails is George Zimmerman himself were not immediately returned. Multiple members of the legal team representing Trayvon’s family said this morning that they were not aware of Zimmerman speaking to any media outlets thus far.
The below account chronicles what we know to be confirmed, how I tracked down the site administrator claiming to be George Zimmerman and a complete account of our correspondence.