It’s a case of art imitating life that just might hit too close to home.
The Associated Press has accused George Zimmerman of copyright infringement, demanding he cease the planned sale of a recent painting of Florida state attorney Angela Corey.
Corey was the attorney who prosecuted Zimmerman in the trial for the shooting death of 17-year-old Treyvon Martin.
"George Zimmerman clearly directly copied an AP photo to create his painting of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey," AP spokesman Paul Colford said in a written statement posted to the AP site.
Zimmerman fired back via his Twitter account on Friday, threatening to sue the AP:
No worries AP, I'll just take whatever U sue me for off your tab when I'm done suing you :-) Or... I could put out how much U offered me 2..
— George Zimmerman (@TherealGeorgeZ) January 24, 2014
Back in December, Zimmerman made headlines when a painting he produced sold for over $100,000 on eBay.
His painting of Corey, titled “Angie,” does appear nearly identical to an AP photo of Corey. In Zimmerman’s painting, the color scheme of the image has been changed to yellow and orange and includes what the AP describes as “an apparently made-up quote” attributed to Corey that reads, “I have this much respect for the judicial system.”
In the painting, as in the original photograph, Corey is holding up her left hand in a pinching gesture.
This isn’t the first time the AP has accused a high-profile public figure of illegally using its photographs for profit. Back in 2009, the AP and famed Obama “Hope” artist Shepard Fairey traded accusations over whether he appropriated a photo without permission for use in his widely distributed imagery.
In 2011, Fairey and the AP settled out of court for $1.6 million. Fairey was also ordered to perform 300 hours of community service and to pay a fine of $25,000 after pleading guilty to criminal contempt of court in the case.
Zimmerman’s “Angie” first came to public attention on Wednesday, when his brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., posted a picture of the painting to his Twitter account:
Very proud to introduce @TherealGeorgeZ 's latest..."Angie". Sale info & details available tomorrow.#ronaldthompson pic.twitter.com/yDkIl4QH0R
— Robert Zimmerman JR (@rzimmermanjr) January 22, 2014
Zimmerman Jr. said that pricing details would be released to the public on Thursday but no such information has been posted yet.
"We've received pvt offers via social media b4 planned release of sale details," Zimmerman Jr. tweeted. "Considering all options, incl. affordable prints."