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Zimmerman painting of prosecutor copied agency photo, AP says

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[January 25, 2014]  By Marina Lopes

NEW YORK (Reuters)  A painting by George Zimmerman of the Florida attorney who prosecuted him in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin is a copy of an Associated Press photo, a spokesman for the news agency said on Friday.

A photo of the painting of prosecutor Angela Corey was posted on Twitter by Zimmerman's brother, Robert, saying he would entertain offers for its purchase.

But the AP on Friday sent a cease-and-desist order to an attorney who has represented Zimmerman, calling on him to stop trying to sell a work that was an artistic depiction of a copyrighted photo by the news agency.

"George Zimmerman clearly directly copied an AP photo to create his painting of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey," Paul Colford, a spokesman for the AP, said in a statement.

The AP competes with Reuters in the U.S. and international news business.


In July 2013, a Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman of murdering 17-year-old Martin, a black Miami high school student, in a case that polarized the nation around issues of racial justice, self defense and gun control.

The painting shows Corey with her fingers and thumbs pressed together, along with the quote: "I have this much respect for the American judicial system."

Zimmerman's brother said on Twitter on Friday that they were "considering all options, incl. affordable prints."

Neither of the Zimmerman brothers was immediately available for comment.

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In 2011, the Associated Press settled a lawsuit it brought against artist Shepard Fairey for using an AP photograph to create a red-and-blue poster of Barack Obama that came to symbolize his 2008 presidential campaign.

The news agency said it sent a cease-and-desist letter to Zimmerman's former lawyer, Jayne Weintraub, who plans to forward it to him today.

Weintraub said she has not heard back from Zimmerman, who she represented in November when he was arrested on domestic violence charges that have since been dropped.

In December, bids for an original Zimmerman oil painting depicting a blue American flag sold for over $100,000 on the auction site eBay.

(Reporting by Marina Lopes, editing by Scott Malone and Gunna Dickson)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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