George Zimmerman to seek second bond
POSTED: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 4:00am
UPDATED: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 4:14am
CNN — George Zimmerman and his attorney will be back before a Florida judge Friday to argue Zimmerman should be allowed bond a second time despite misrepresenting his finances.
Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder in the February shooting death of Trayvon Martin, will attend the morning hearing unshackled and in civilian clothing.
Video and photos of Zimmerman wearing jail garb could prejudice prospective jurors, defense attorney Mark O'Mara argued in a motion.
Zimmerman was released on a $150,000 bond after his arrest. But he was ordered back to jail early this month after the judge revoked his bail, citing about $150,000 in donations in an account controlled by Zimmerman that he had not disclosed at the first bond hearing in April.
O'Mara is asking Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. to set a similar bond.
The lawyer contends his client poses no danger to the community, is not a flight risk, and "cooperated fully" with police before his arrest.
O'Mara addressed the finances in a motion seeking bond.
"Mr. Zimmerman's failure to advise the court of the existence of the donated funds at the initial bail hearing was wrong and Mr. Zimmerman accepts responsibility for his part in allowing the court to be misled as to his true financial circumstances," O'Mara wrote. "Counsel, however, points to Mr. Zimmerman's voluntary disclosure of the fund and immediate surrender of any interest in the donated money through transfer of the fund to counsel for deposit in trust."
The money is now "under the control of an independent trustee and is not accessible to Mr. Zimmerman or his family," the motion said. "Any expenditure on behalf of Mr. Zimmerman must be approved by the fund administrator."
Zimmerman's wife, Shellie Zimmerman, was arrested on a perjury charge on June 12, accused of lying at her husband's bond hearing about the couple's finances. She was released later that day after meeting the conditions of a $1,000 bond, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said.
Prosecutors alleged the couple had about $135,000 of donations at their disposal when they both told the court, under oath, they were indigent.
O'Mara said his client ended up netting a total of $204,000 via PayPal accounts -- about $150,000 of which is now in an independently managed trust after $30,000 was used to pay for "life in hiding." Some $20,000 has been kept liquid for "ongoing living expenses."
At her husband's April 20 bond hearing, Shellie Zimmerman testified she didn't know how much had been raised through the website her husband had set up before charges were filed.
When asked whether the couple had money available to assist in his defense, she replied, "Um, not -- not that I'm aware of."
In one jailhouse phone conversation, Zimmerman asks his wife, "In my account, do I have at least $100?" She answers no, and then tells him he has more like "$8, $8.60."
"So total everything, how much are we looking at?" Zimmerman asks his wife.
"Like $155," she responds.
Prosecutors claim the husband and wife were speaking in a type of code about their available funds, an assertion Zimmerman's lawyer said the defense has "never contested."
The couple also discussed how much money can be accessed and what to do with it, including transferring funds that were raised online for his defense to accounts belonging to Zimmerman's sister and wife, prosecutors said in a probable cause affidavit.
Zimmerman, 28, told police he shot Martin in self-defense and has pleaded not guilty. But Martin's family and civil rights activists have said the Sanford neighborhood watch volunteer, who is white and Hispanic, racially profiled Martin and ignored a 911 dispatcher's advice not to follow him.
CNN's Lateef Mungin, Alan Duke and Vivian Kuo contributed to this report.
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