George Zimmerman claims self-defense in the 2012 fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager. The trial is scheduled to begin June 10. Here is a look at the legal teams involved in the high-profile trial:
Angela Corey is the state attorney for the Fourth Judicial Court of Florida. She is currently serving her second term in the elected position. She was named the special prosecutor to investigate the Trayvon Martin killing by Florida Governor Rick Scott. Corey decided not to convene a grand jury and charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.
Corey has a reputation for being tough on crime and aggressive with prosecutions. She has prosecuted more than 50 murder cases and has named what she calls her two top prosecutors -- Bernie de la Rionda and veteran attorney John Guy -- to the high-profile case.
Bernie de la Rionda:
De la Rionda, the assistant state attorney in the Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida, is the lead prosecutor in the Zimmerman trial. Originally from Cuba, de la Rionda was stowed on a cargo plane by his parents to escape the Communist country when he was 4 years old. He was raised in the United States by his grandparents.
De la Rionda has almost 30 years of experience and has more than 250 trials -- including many homicide cases -- under his belt. De la Rionda was honored in 2010 with the “Director’s Community Leadership Award" by the FBI. When presenting the award, the FBI spoke about de la Rionda’s “legendary” reputation as an exceptional prosecutor.
John Guy is an assistant state attorney and he makes up the third part of the prosecution team. Guy joined the State Attorney’s Office in 1993 and has tried more than 100 cases, many of them murder trials.
Mark O’Mara is the lead defense attorney for George Zimmerman. O’Mara was a prosecutor before becoming a defense attorney and is the president of the Seminole County Bar Association. According to his website, O’Mara has 28 years of experience practicing family and criminal law.
O’Mara is also a legal analyst for local station and HLN affiliate WKMG in Florida. He has already shown a willingness to speak in front of the cameras about the trial, holding numerous press conferences and interviews. O’Mara is also behind the unusual tactic of starting a website and social media account for the Zimmerman defense team in order to, as they say, “identify, discredit and eliminate fraudulent websites and social profiles” and to raise funds for Zimmerman’s defense.
Don West is co-counsel on Zimmerman’s defense team. West is considered an expert in murder trials and has represented multiple people facing possible death penalty cases. He has practiced law in Florida for more than 30 years. West has handled some high-profile cases, including that of Lou Perlman, the famed music mogul. Prior to joining Zimmerman’s defense team, West was working as a public defender in Orlando.
According to his website, West was the “senior litigation counsel for the Federal Defender’s Office and supervisor of its Capital Defense Team, representing individuals accused of death penalty eligible offenses in federal court.”
Benjamin Crump is an attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family. He is working specifically for the teen's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton. They filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the homeowner’s association of the gated community where Martin was killed. The homeowners’ association settled for an undisclosed amount. Crump says he will file a separate suit against Zimmerman.
Crump’s firm, started with his friend and former classmate, Daryl Parks, specializes in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases. Crump has represented several high-profile clients and cases and has received multiple awards and honors for his work. According to his website, Crump has endowed scholarships to several Florida universities for minority law students.
Natalie Jackson :
Natalie Jackson is also representing Martin’s family. Jackson is the founder of the Women’s Trial Group, which focuses on representing women and their families. Jackson’s group focuses on criminal defense, personal injury, injury to children and wrongful death.
Jackson was a naval intelligence officer and, according to her site,was “one of the first group of female naval personnel to be deployed aboard an aircraft carrier.” Jackson has been a frequent show guest of HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell.
For complete coverage of the George Zimmerman trial tune into Jane Velez-Mitchell weeknights at 7 p.m. ET on HLN.