A well-respected veteran of Orlando's legal community, Mark O'Mara took over as George Zimmerman's lead counsel in April 2012 and soon began an aggressive campaign to change the public perception of a man who'd become a pariah. Briefly a prosecutor in Seminole County, O'Mara has since had a long career in private practice, handling a wide range of cases, everything from petty crimes and family-law cases to high-profile murders. That includes the 2001 trial of serial killer Frederick Peter Cox, who murdered three prostitutes and tried to kill two other women. He also represented clients in the execution-style killings known as the 1992 Kissimmee carjacking murders. O'Mara has taken a novel media-relations approach to Zimmerman's defense, establishing several blogs and social media accounts to distribute information directly from the defense to the public and solicit donations. He also surprised many by choosing to forego an immunity hearing under Florida's "stand your ground" law, which could have absolved Zimmerman of criminal and civil liability. O'Mara has stressed that he views the case as one of simple self-defense.
Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel
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