George Zimmerman’s parents are picking a court fight with Roseanne Barr.
The entertainer admitted in a court filing this week that she had posted the address of Robert and Gladys Zimmerman on Twitter during the heated controversy over whether their son should have shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin two years ago.
The Zimmermans contend that her tweet forced them to flee because media and protesters descended on their neighborhood. Barr had 110,000 Twitter followers at the time, their lawsuit says.
Barr argued in a legal filing Monday that she was actually trying to tell someone who had originally posted the address to delete it. In any case, the address was publicly available in property records and online databases, Barr’s attorneys wrote. She deleted her tweet within seconds, she said.
Barr later posted on Twitter, according to the lawsuit: “At first I thought it was good to let [people] know that no one can hide anymore” and “if Zimmerman isn’t arrested I’ll [retweet] his address again -- maybe go 2 his house myself.”
George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter by a Seminole County jury last July.
His parents filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Orlando, Fla. They are seeking at least $75,000 in damages for the costs and emotional distress they say they endured by having to hide.
The Zimmermans say they haven’t been able to live in their $186,000 home in Lake Mary, Fla., since Barr’s tweet on March 29, 2012.
The Orlando Sentinel reported in 2012 that Robert Zimmerman told the paper that they were in hiding two weeks before Barr’s controversial Twitter post, which came a month after the fatal shooting.
Barr wants the lawsuit dismissed. She contends that she did nothing wrong by momentarily sharing what someone else had posted, that the Zimmermans were public figures, and that the Zimmermans don’t allege that she disclosed private facts.
The Zimmermans’ attorney, David Heil, told the Los Angeles Times by email that none of those defenses were valid.
“They are just throwing whatever they can up against the wall and hoping that something sticks,” he wrote.
A Florida family filed a similar lawsuit in Florida state court against filmmaker Spike Lee after he mistakenly tweeted their address, thinking it was the Zimmermans’. That suit is pending.