OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A Maitland-based criminal defense attorney who made headlines around the country almost 10 years ago for helping represent George Zimmerman is now on the other side of the law.

What You Need To Know

  • ​Attorney Hal Uhrig is accused of trying to convince a victim to lie about a sexual assault

  • He was arrested on Monday by the Osceola County Sheriff's Office

  • He has been charged with soliciting to commit perjury, a third-degree felony, and tampering with or harassing a witness, victim or informant

Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said attorney Hal Uhrig took on a case involving Khrisnauth Persaud, a man accused of raping a girl when she was 9 years old. The victim is now 17-years-old. 

Uhrig is accused of holding a meeting with his client, the victim and her father, trying to keep the suspect from going to jail, according to Lopez.

That is when the sheriff said Uhrig instructed the victim and her father to do three things.

"Basically, a letter to the state attorney saying the rape didn't happen, avoid being served with a subpoena so you don't have to go to court to testify, lie during your deposition saying the rape didn't happen," Lopez said.

“Mr. Persaud committed the sexual battery at the time she was 9-years-old and this is what stemmed Mr. Uhrig to work a deal out with the victim to try and get Mr. Persaud off or on a lesser charge," he added. "So, that sexual assault/battery cases will got to trial and this will be a separate trial against the attorney."

The victim came forward and reported the conduct to the state attorney's office in July 2021. Persaud was arrested in 2019 and his case is working its way through the court system.

Uhrig is accused of soliciting to commit perjury, which is a third-degree felony, and tampering with or harassing a witness victim or informant.

Jonathan Rose, a criminal and professional trial attorney said it’s extraordinarily rare to have an attorney face charges in a case like this.

“This is the first time in 22 years of practicing I’ve seen an attorney charged or arrested or investigated for tampering in a sex crime, certainly a sex crime as serious as this one,” he said.

On Monday, Lopez said in his opinion, this may not be the first time that Uhrig may have acted in such a manner.

"This probably wasn't his first rodeo — he was too comfortable," Lopez said. "He knew what was up once they came to his office, and that's just my opinion. I think this is just one of those where the victim didn't buy into what he was trying to sell, she didn't feel comfortable with it, and she's the hero."

Rose argued that without concrete evidence, that kind of speculation could be harmful in a case like this.

“I have concern about law enforcement officers and agencies engaging in that type of speculation," he said. "It’s not something that we’re unaccustomed to in Central Florida — a lot of sheriffs are fond of having their press conferences, doing their stump speeches about certain arrests.

"But when you’re speculating about other instances of such conduct, that can have a problematic effect on jury’s abilities to maintain their objectivity in the jury selection process.”

However, Lopez reaffirmed his opinion in a one-on-one interview with Spectrum News on Tuesday afternoon.

“That attorney is entitled to his opinion," he said. "Just based on my experience, and the people that we arrest all the time, when someone does this at that age and they’re living in a pretty comfortable, you’re a millionaire about to retire, why? Those are the things that would raise suspicion to me that this is not his first rodeo."

Lopez said he encourages any other victims that may have gone through a similar scenario as what allegedly happened with the girl who brought forward these allegations should come forward.

“I’m not going to say that we directly are looking into that, but I’m sure the State Attorney, since they were the ones that had closure on those cases, are probably going to look into this," he said. "But anybody that comes forward, we’ll help start that process."

Spectrum News 13 reached out to State Attorney Monique Worrell regarding her office's next steps in this case. Officials there said that as a matter of policy the office does “not discuss active and ongoing investigations” and declined to comment.

Uhrig bonded out of jail already but will have more court dates coming up.

He bonded out of jail already but will have more court dates coming up.

Uhrig defended Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.