July 14, 2013 6:44 PM
Following his acquittal on all charges in the fatal shooting death of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman will spend no time behind bars. But that is about the only certain thing that can be said about the former neighborhood watch volunteer's immediate future. The Department of Justice could file criminal civil rights charges, and Zimmerman may face civil lawsuits. He might make a lot of money by writing a book or from a lawsuit he brought against a major television network last year. For the moment, however, veteran publicists say Zimmerman really has only one option available: to hide. When the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 goes to court, the potential payouts will probably be vastly different for Americans and passengers from other countries, even if they were seated side by side as the jetliner crash-landed. An international treaty governs compensation to passengers harmed by international air travel ? from damaged luggage to crippling injuries and death. The pact is likely to close U.S. courts to many foreigners, forcing them to pursue claims in Asia and elsewhere, where lawsuits are rarer, harder to win and offer smaller payouts. George Zimmerman's trial in the shooting death of teen Trayvon Martin lasted nearly three weeks and concluded with an acquittal. The case unleashed debate nationwide over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.Zimmerman left the courthouse as a free man. The NAACP has called for the Justice Department to open a civil rights case against Zimmerman. Whether that will happen remains to be seen: Though the department has a long history of using federal civil rights law in an effort to convict defendants who've previously been acquitted in related state cases,it's not always easy.