Global Grind, the news website owned by hip hop mogul Russell Simmons, posted an article claiming that Fox News host Sean Hannity offered to pay for the legal defense fund of George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting and killing Trayvon Martin earlier this year.
The article is based on transcripts of jailhouse phone calls in which Zimmerman is speaking in coded language to friends and family.
An FNC spokesperson tells TVNewser “Sean Hannity has never offered to pay any legal fees or any fee associated with George Zimmerman.”
In one of the transcripts highlighted by Global Grind, Zimmerman explains that an “SH” has offered money for his defense fund, and later explains to his friend how to reach him. Global Grind says that it confirmed with a “rock solid source” that the email address referenced in the call is one used by Hannity. FNC’s statement refutes that claim.
Global Grind is in an interesting position. Simmons is an acquaintance of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, as we have noted before.
In April, it was revealed that Hannity had spoken to Zimmerman over the phone. Hannity explained that phone call at the time, saying:
Now, before we continue tonight, I want to set the record straight about a couple of things. Now, for a few weeks we have been pursuing an interview with Mr. Zimmerman to give him a chance to tell his side of the story. Now, yesterday, I was contacted by an individual that we in fact believe was George Zimmerman. He reached out to me, we spoke on the phone about his case and I agreed not to report on the contents of that conversation. That’s it.