George Zimmerman suing Trayvon Martin’s family FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. — George Zimmerman, the man acquitted of homicide in the killing of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in 2012, is now suing the boy's family and their attorneys for damages in excess of $100 million. Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, has said he was defending himself when he shot and killed Martin, 17, in a gated community in the Central Florida city of Sanford in February 2012. Martin, who lived in Miami Gardens, was visiting his father at the time. Zimmerman's trial and acquittal sparked protests and a national debate about race relations. The Justice Department later decided not to bring a civil rights case against Zimmerman. » PHOTO GALLERY: Courtroom reaction after Zimmerman not-guilty verdict Zimmerman's attorney, Larry Klayman, a former federal prosecutor, said the lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Polk County. Lawyers representing Zimmerman are alleging that the prosecution's key witness in his 2013 murder trial, Rachel Jeantel, was an "imposter and fake witness." What’s in the complaint The complaint alleges that in March 2012, the Sanford Police Department closed the case as self-defense. But a week later, Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump produced a recorded audio tape of "Diamond Eugene," who was Martin's 16-year-old girlfriend who had been on the phone with Martin just before the altercation with Zimmerman, it says. The complaint alleges that two weeks later, 18-year-old Rachel Jeantel told prosecutors she was Diamond Eugene "and provided false statements to incriminate Zimmerman based on coaching from others." » PREVIOUS COVERAGE: George Zimmerman, unemployed, $2.5M in debt, gets public defender Based on Martin's cellphone records, the lawyers argue Rachel Jeantel was not Martin's girlfriend, was not on the phone with him before the altercation, and that "she lied repeatedly to cause Zimmerman's arrest and to try to send him to prison for life." Klayman said the allegations did not come out at trial but it was "the fraud that was perpetuated on the court." "It was a complete travesty of justice which destroyed my client's life," Klayman said. "People are destroyed and smeared and they have to start fighting back." Suit claims ‘actual malice’ Zimmerman is also suing civil rights attorney Crump and HarperCollins Publishers, accusing them of defaming him in Crump's book published in October, "Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People," "with actual malice knowing the untruth or at a minimum a reckless disregard for the truth," according to the lawsuit. Photo: Mike Simons/The Associated Press Crump could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday. A spokeswoman for New York-based HarperCollins said she could not immediately comment Wednesday. » FROM 2018: George Zimmerman pleads no contest to threatening private investigator Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother, could not be reached for comment Wednesday at her foundation, The Trayvon Martin Foundation. Photo: Marta Lavandier/The Associated Press Fulton is running as a 2020 Democratic candidate for the Miami-Dade County Commission, District 1 seat. During the trial, Rachel Jeantel told the court she signed her name as Diamond Eugene in a letter to Martin's mother about the shooting.